Christiana Trust v. Pankey et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02217

ORDER REASSIGNING CASE TO DISTRICT JUDGE; AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT IFP APPLICATION AND REMAND TO SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA. Objections due by 7/7/2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu on 06/23/15. (dmrlc2, COURT STAFF) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/24/2015: # {{1}} Certificate/Proof of Service)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 CHRISTIANA TRUST, 7 Case No. 15-cv-02217-DMR Plaintiff, 8 v. ORDER REASSIGNING CASE TO 9 DISTRICT JUDGE; AND REPORT AND ROSALIE V. PANKEY, et al., RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT IFP 10 APPLICATION AND REMAND TO Defendants. SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, 11 COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Defendants removed this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 from Superior Court of 14 California, County of Contra Costa, where it was pending as a complaint for unlawful detainer 15 against Defendants. The Notice of Removal states one basis for removal: that diversity exists 16 between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Notice of Removal [Docket 17 No. 1] at 2. Defendants have also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). 18 When a notice of removal is filed, the court must examine it "promptly," and, "[i]f it 19 clearly appears on the face of the notice and any exhibits annexed thereto that removal should not 20 be permitted, the court shall make an order for summary remand." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(4). Not 21 all of the parties have filed a declination or consent to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge 22 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Therefore, the court issues herein a Report and Recommendation 23 and reassigns this case to a District Judge for final disposition, with the recommendation that the 24 IFP application be granted and that summary remand be ordered. 25 I. IFP APPLICATION 26 Having evaluated Defendants' financial affidavit, the court finds that they have satisfied 27 the economic eligibility requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and therefore recommends that the 28 IFP application be granted. The court next turns to the issue of subject matter jurisdiction. II. DIVERSITY JURISDICTION 1 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and a "federal court is presumed to lack 2 jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears." Stock W., Inc. v. 3 Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989) (citations omitted). A district court has 4 diversity jurisdiction where the parties are diverse and "the matter in controversy exceeds the sum 5 or value of $75,000, exclusive of interests and costs." 28 U.S.C. § 1332. "[I]n determining 6 whether a challenged jurisdictional amount has been met, district courts are permitted only to 7 assess the allegations in a complaint and not the validity of any asserted defenses. . . ." Ochoa v. 8 Interbrew Am., Inc., 999 F.2d 626, 629 (2d Cir. 1993). Potential defenses to all or part of a 9 plaintiff's claim do not affect the amount in controversy, because the defense may be shown to be 10 invalid. See Riggins v. Riggins, 415 F.2d 1259, 1261-62 (9th Cir. 1969) (noting that statute of 11 limitations defense might bar portion of relief sought did not affect amount in controversy). 12 Northern District of California Similarly, the amount in controversy is determined without regard to any counterclaim to which a United States District Court 13 defendant may be entitled. See Snow v. Ford Motor Co., 561 F.2d 787, 789 (9th Cir. 1977). 14 In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that it is the owner of real property in Concord, 15 California; that Plaintiff became the owner of the property by purchasing it at a foreclosure sale in 16 October 2014; that Defendants have occupied the property since the foreclosure sale without the 17 consent of Plaintiff; that Plaintiff served a Notice to Quit on Defendants on December 12, 2014; 18 and that more than 90 days have elapsed since service of the Notice to Quit without Defendants 19 quitting and delivering possession of the property to Plaintiff. Notice of Removal at Ex. A 20 (Complaint) at ¶¶ 1-7. Plaintiff seeks immediate possession of the property as well as damages in 21 the amount of $60 for each day Defendants occupy the property from the expiration of the Notice 22 to Quit through the entry of judgment. 23 Defendants aver that this case fulfills the diversity jurisdiction requirements simply 24 because the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Notice of Removal at 2. However, 25 Defendants have failed to indicate their citizenship or the citizenship of Plaintiff. The Complaint 26 does not allege the citizenship of any of the parties. Furthermore, the face of the Complaint 27 unequivocally states that the amount in controversy is under $10,000. Compl. at 1. Plaintiff seeks 28 2 1 dam mages of $60 0 per day fro om approxim mately Marchh 12, 2015 uuntil the entrry of judgmeent, or about 2 $4,,500 at preseent, which iss far less than n the $75,0000 minimum required to establish divversity 3 jurisdiction. Accordingly, A there is no basis b for exeercising diveersity jurisdicction over thhe unlawful 4 dettainer action n. 5 IIII. CONC CLUSION 6 For the reasons abo P application be granted ove, the courrt recommennds that Defeendants' IFP 7 and d that this acction be remaanded to the Contra Cossta County Superior Couurt. The Clerrk is directed d 8 to reassign r thiss case to a District Judgee. 9 Any paarty may file objections to t this reportt and recomm mendation w with the distrrict judge 10 witthin 14 days after being served with a copy. Seee 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civv. P. 72(a); 11 D. Cal. Civ. L.R. 72-2. N.D 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 IT IS SO S ORDER RED. 14 Daated: June 23 3, 2015 __________________________________________ 15 Donna M. Ryu 16 Unnited States M Magistrate JJudge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3