Drian v. Littlefield

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-03665

ORDER REMANDING ACTION. Signed by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong on 8/25/2015.

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 OAKLAND DIVISION 6 7 BRIAN DRIAN, Case No: C 15-3665 SBA 8 Plaintiff, ORDER REMANDING ACTION 9 vs. 10 JEFFREY LITTLEFIELD, AND DOES 1 TO 10, 11 Defendants. 12 13 14 On July 1, 2015, Plaintiff Brian Drian filed an unlawful detainer action against 15 Defendant Jeffrey Littlefield in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of 16 Contra Costa. On August 11, 2015, Defendant, acting pro se, filed a Notice of Removal 17 along with a request to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). Following removal, the action 18 was initially assigned to Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu ("Magistrate"). On August 25, 2015, 19 the Magistrate referred the matter for reassignment to a district judge and recommended 20 remanding the action to state court. Dkt. 6, 7.1 21 A district court has "a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the removed 22 action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not." United Investors Life Ins. 23 Co. v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004). The federal removal 24 statute permits the removal of cases that might have been filed in federal court originally. 25 1 Typically, a party has fourteen days to object to a magistrate judge's report and 26 recommendation. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In this case, however, the Court, upon its independent review of the pleadings, finds that the lack subject matter jurisdiction is plain 27 from the face of the complaint. Thus, to avoid further delay in this action and to facilitate the resumption of this case in its proper forum, the Court finds that an immediate remand is 28 appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). 1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, district courts "have original 2 jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United 3 States." "[F]ederal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face 4 of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 5 392 (1987). A district court must remand a case to state court "if at any time before the 6 final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. 7 § 1447(c); Kelton Arms Condominium Owners Ass'n v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 8 1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 2003) ("[W]e have held that the district court must remand if it lacks 9 jurisdiction"). 10 In the instant case, no federal claims are presented on the face of Plaintiff's 11 complaint, which is solely for unlawful detainer. See Wells Fargo Bank v. Lapeen, No. C 12 11-01932 LB, 2011 WL 2194117, at *3 (N.D. Cal. June 6, 2011) ("an unlawful detainer 13 action, on its face, does not arise under federal law but is purely a creature of California 14 law"). Defendant's Notice of Removal alleges that "[f]ederal question [jurisdiction] exists 15 because Defendant's Answer, a pleading[,] depends on the determination of Defendant's 16 rights and Plaintiff's duties under federal law." Notice of Removal ¶ 10, Dkt. 1. However, 17 it is well settled that defenses and counterclaims based on federal law cannot provide a 18 sufficient basis to remove an action to federal court. See Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 19 U.S. 49, 60 (2009). Accordingly, 20 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), the instant 21 action is REMANDED to Contra Costa County Superior Court. Plaintiff's request to 22 proceed IFP is DENIED. The Clerk shall terminate all pending matters and close the file. 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. 24 Dated: 8/25/15 ______________________________ SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG 25 United States District Judge 26 27 28 -2-