Jpmorgan Chase Bank, National Association v. Martinez

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02806

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS to Remand; Order Granting Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Reassigning Case by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte. Objections due by 7/14/2015.

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, NATIONAL 7 ASSOCIATION, Case No. 15-cv-02806-EDL 8 Plaintiff, REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 9 v. TO REMAND; ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN 10 MICHELLE M. MARTINEZ, FORMA PAUPERIS AND REASSIGNING CASE 11 Defendant. Re: Dkt. Nos. 15-cv-02806-EDL 12 Northern District of California On June 22, 2015, Defendant Michelle M. Martinez filed a Notice of Removal of the United States District Court 13 unlawful detainer case filed by Plaintiff JP Morgan Chase Bank against Defendant in Contra Costa 14 County Superior Court as well as an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. As the parties 15 have not yet consented to this Court's jurisdiction, the Court issues this Report and 16 Recommendation and reassigns this case to a district judge. For the reasons set forth below, the 17 Court grants Defendant's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and recommends remanding 18 this matter to state court. 19 Defendant's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis adequately alleges her poverty. 20 Defendant is not employed, her monthly expenses appear to exceed her monthly income, and she 21 has one dependent. She does not own a home, and does not have a bank account. She owns 22 $50.00 in cash. Therefore, Defendant qualifies for In Forma Pauperis status, and her Application 23 is granted. 24 However, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction in this case and the case should be 25 remanded. "Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought 26 in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be 27 removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the 28 1 district and division embracing the place where such action is pending." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). 2 The Ninth Circuit "strictly construe[s] the removal statute against removal jurisdiction." Gaus v. 3 Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). Thus, "[f]ederal jurisdiction 4 must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Id. (citation 5 omitted). "The 'strong presumption' against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always 6 has the burden of establishing that removal is proper." Id.; see also Abrego v. Dow Chemical Co., 7 443 F.3d 676, 685 (9th Cir. 2006). Removal jurisdiction may be based on diversity of citizenship 8 or on the existence of a federal question. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Whether removal jurisdiction exists 9 must be determined by reference to the well-pleaded complaint. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 10 Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986). "If at any time before final judgment, it appears that 11 the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded." 28 U.S.C. § 12 1447(c). Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Defendant bases her removal on federal question jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal ¶ 14 10. A case may be removed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 only where a federal question appears 15 on the face of the properly pleaded complaint. See Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 16 (1987); Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Sys., Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 830 (2002) ("The 17 well-pleaded-complaint rule has long governed whether a case "arises under" federal law for 18 purposes of § 1331."); see also Wayne v. DHL Worldwide Express, 294 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 19 2002) ("The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the 'well-pleaded 20 complaint rule,' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is 21 presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint."). Here, the face of the 22 complaint, which asserts only one state law claim for unlawful detainer, does not provide any 23 ground for removal. Therefore, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 24 because the complaint, on its face, does not arise under federal law. 25 To the extent that removal is based on diversity jurisdiction, none exists. Pursuant to 28 26 U.S.C. section 1332, this Court has diversity jurisdiction where the parties are diverse and "the 27 matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interests and costs." The 28 complaint filed by Plaintiff alleges that Plaintiff is an "entity lawfully doing business in 2 1 California," and the Defendant "at all times. . . resided in the State of California;" thus, there is no 2 diversity. Compl. ¶¶ 2-3. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the amount demanded is under 3 $10,000; thus there is an insufficient amount in controversy to establish diversity jurisdiction. 4 Because the case is not removable as a diversity action, remand is also appropriate on this ground. 5 Accordingly, the Court recommends remanding the case to the Contra Costa County 6 Superior Court. Any party may serve and file specific written objections to this recommendation 7 within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R. 8 Civ. P. 72(b); Civil Local Rule 72-3. Failure to file objections within the specified time may 9 waive the right to appeal the District Court's order. 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 Dated: June 30, 2015 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 ________________________ ELIZABETH D. LAPORTE 14 United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, NATIONAL 7 ASSOCIATION, Case No. 15-cv-02806-EDL 8 Plaintiff, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE 9 v. 10 MICHELLE M. MARTINEZ, 11 Defendant. 12 Northern District of California I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. United States District Court 13 District Court, Northern District of California. 14 15 That on June 30, 2015, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached report & 16 recommendation; order, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the 17 person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said 18 copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 19 20 Michelle M. Martinez 1308 Miner Avenue 21 San Pablo, CA 94806 22 23 Dated: June 30, 2015 24 Richard W. Wieking Clerk, United States District Court 25 26 27 By:________________________ Stephen Ybarra, Deputy Clerk to the 28 Honorable ELIZABETH D. LAPORTE 4