United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell, Senior United States District Judge
has filed a motion to remand (Doc. 8) and a motion to stay
further proceedings pending remand (Doc. 17). The motion to
remand is fully briefed (Docs. 14, 15) and oral argument has
not been requested. The Court will grant the motion and
remand this action to state court. The motion to stay will be
denied as moot.
Removal and Remand Standards.
civil action over which the federal district courts have
jurisdiction may be removed from state court to the federal
court for the district where the action is pending. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). Courts strictly construe the statute against
removal jurisdiction. See Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.
v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 32 (2002); Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Indeed, there
is a “strong presumption” against removal, and
“[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is
any doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566. This strong
presumption “means that the defendant always has the
burden of establishing that removal is proper.”
Id. “If at any time before final judgment it
appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C.
8, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an action in state court seeking to
declare Defendants vexatious litigants. Doc. 1-1 at 3.
Plaintiffs personally served Defendants the same day. Doc. 8
at 2. Defendants filed their notice of removal on August 13,
2019. Doc. 1. Because Defendants’ notice was filed more
than 30 days after service, it is untimely, and the Court
will accordingly grant Plaintiff’s motion to remand.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b); see also Babasa v.
LensCrafters, Inc., 498 F.3d 972, 974 (9th Cir. 2007)
(where a notice of removal “is filed after [the]
-day window, it is untimely and remand to state court is
the notice of removal had been timely filed, the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction to hear this case. Diversity
jurisdiction has two requirements: (1) complete diversity of
citizenship between the parties, and (2) an amount in
controversy exceeding $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
While there appears to be complete diversity between the
parties (Doc. 8 at 1), it is not evident that the amount in
controversy has been met. Uber is not seeking monetary
relief, but rather an administrative order declaring
Defendants vexatious litigants. Doc. 8 at 4. As Plaintiff
notes, Defendants allege no value to such an order.
Id. It is also not evident how the underlying
dispute between the parties – claims that Defendants
were overcharged $7.70 for an Uber ride – can plausibly
give rise to an amount in controversy over the $75, 000
jurisdictional threshold. Because Defendants have not
established the requisite amount in controversy, diversity
jurisdiction does not exist.
Defendants establish federal question jurisdiction. Federal
question jurisdiction arises from cases in which a
plaintiff’s well-pleaded complaint establishes a cause
of action either arising out of federal law or where
Plaintiff’s state law claim depends on a substantial
question of federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331;
Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. v. An Exclusive
Gas Storage Leasehold and Easement, 524 F.3d 1090, 1102
(9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Grable & Sons Metal Prods.,
Inc. v. Darue Eng’g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 312,
313) (“the state claim must ‘turn on substantial
questions of federal law, ’ and ‘really and
substantially involv[e] a dispute or controversy respecting
the validity, construction or effect of [federal]
law.’”). Plaintiff contends that this case must
be remanded because the underlying action is a stand-alone
application filed pursuant to a Maricopa County Superior
Court Administrative Order, with no federal law issues. Doc.
8 at 5. In response, Defendants vaguely contend that
Plaintiff “violated federal and state privacy laws, the
electronic funds transfer Act, the financial modernization
Act of 1999, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Financial Privacy Act . .
. Section 5, or the FTC Act, FCPA[.]” Doc. 14 at 8. But
Plaintiff’s state court petition, which is the
controlling document for purposes of federal question
jurisdiction, asserts none of these federal issues, and
Defendants’ counterclaim cannot form the basis for
removal. See Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air
Circulation Sys., Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 831 (2002). The
Court accordingly finds no basis for federal question
Plaintiff’s motion to remand (Doc. 8) is
Plaintiff’s motion to stay further proceedings pending
remand (Doc. 17) is denied as moot.
Plaintiff’s request for attorneys’ fees is
Clerk is directed to remand ...