U.S. Bank National Association v. Madamba et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2014-cv-02942

ORDER REMANDING CASE to San Mateo Superior Court. Signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on 9/15/14.

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 8 US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Case No.: 14-CV-2942 YGR 9 Plaintiff, ORDER REMANDING ACTION 10 v. 11 ROWEN AND LILIA MADAMBA, Northern District of California 12 Defendant(s). United States District Court 13 14 Now before the Court are Defendants Rowen and Lilia Madamba's Notice of Removal and 15 Responses to Order to Show Cause why removal of this action was proper. Having carefully 16 considered Defendants' Notice of Removal, Response to Order to Show Cause, and Amended 17 Response to Order to Show Cause, the Court finds that Defendants have not stated a valid basis for 18 federal jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court hereby REMANDS this case to the San Mateo County 19 Superior Court.1 20 Plaintiff brought this state law unlawful detainer action against Defendants Rowen 21 Madamba and Lilia Madamba in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Mateo. 22 Defendants, proceeding pro se, removed this action from Contra Costa County Superior Court. 23 (Dkt. No. 1.) The case was first assigned to Magistrate Judge Corley, who on June 30, 2014, issued 24 an Order to Show Cause why this action should not be remanded to state court. (Dkt. No. 3.) The 25 Order set forth the legal standard for federal jurisdiction, and further explained that the defendant 26 seeking removal "bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper" and the "removal statute 27 1 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b) and Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds 28 this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. 1 is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction." Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer 2 Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009). A case removed to federal court must be 3 remanded back to state court "if at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court 4 lacks subject matter jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). 5 Judge Corley noted that the basis for Defendants' removal of this action was unclear. The 6 amount in controversy fell short of the statutorily required $75,000 and as California residents, 7 Defendants are precluded from removing the case on diversity jurisdiction grounds. Furthermore, 8 no federal statutory or constitutional question was raised in the complaint. 9 Defendants filed a response to the order to show cause on July 14, 2014 (Dkt. No. 6), and an 10 amended response on July 29, 2014. (Dkt. Nos. 6, 10.) In neither response did Defendants 11 squarely address the issues raised by Judge Corley, which concerned whether the original 12 complaint filed against Defendants could properly be brought in federal court. Instead, Defendants Northern District of California United States District Court 13 provided a "third party complaint" that contains counterclaims against Plaintiffs and names an 14 additional defendant. (Dkt. Nos. 6, 10.) Defendants appear to contend that their counterclaims 15 meet the requirements for diversity and federal question jurisdiction and that this renders their 16 removal of the original action proper. They are incorrect on all counts. 17 The federal removal statute permits the removal from state court to federal court of cases 18 that might have been filed in federal court originally. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Defendants allege 19 that their counterclaims meet or exceed the $75,000 amount in controversy requirement, but 20 nowhere do they assert that the original complaint meets or exceeds the statutory minimum. 21 Moreover, nowhere do Defendants assert that there is complete diversity between the parties – but 22 even were there complete diversity, as California residents, Defendants are precluded from 23 removing this action based on diversity grounds. In the alternative, Defendants assert that certain 24 of their counterclaims raise questions of federal law. However, it is well-settled that a complaint 25 that is based entirely on state law is not removable by virtue of anticipated federal defenses or 26 counterclaims. See Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co., v. Motley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908) (holding 27 that an anticipated defense may not be used to establish subject matter jurisdiction); Takeda v. 28 Northwestern Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 765 F.2d 815, 821 (9th Cir.1985) ("[R]emovability cannot be 2 1 created by defendant pleading a counterclaim presenting a federal question.") (citations 2 omitted); accord Schwarzer, Tashima, & Wagstaffe, Federal Civ. P. Before Trial, § 1.121 at 2B–50 3 (TRG 2008). 4 Accordingly, because Plaintiff's complaint sounds only in state law and there is no basis for 5 diversity jurisdiction, the Court finds that the action is not removable. Accordingly, 6 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), the instant action is 7 REMANDED to the San Mateo County Superior Court. The Clerk shall close the file and 8 terminate all pending matters. 9 This terminates Docket No. 1. 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 Date: September 15, 2014 _______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS 12 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3