United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR ADDITIONAL
TIME TO RESPOND AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Defendants' Second Motion for Additional
Time to Respond to the Motion to Remand, ECF No. 16, and
Plaintiff's Motion to Remand, ECF No. 9. The Court has
reviewed Defendants' motion for additional time, ECF No.
16; Plaintiff's response, ECF No. 17; Plaintiff's
motion to remand, ECF No. 9; the remaining record; the
relevant law; and is fully informed.
matter originally was filed in Grant County, Washington,
Superior Court as an action to quiet title to real property
that Plaintiff purchased at a public tax sale on November 18,
2016. See ECF No. 9 at 1-2. Plaintiff E3 Land, LLC
purchased four parcels of real property situated in Grant
County for $2, 802, 200 and received a Treasurer's Tax
Deed after the sale. ECF No. 9 at 2. Defendants Peter Eriksen
and his mother Mary Eriksen continue to reside on the
property at issue and, in Plaintiff's words, are
“refusing to leave.” ECF No. 9 at 2. Plaintiff
moved for partial summary judgment, and the Superior Court
set a hearing for May 4, 2017. ECF Nos. 6-1; 9 at 3. On April
7, 2017, Defendants filed a Notice of Removal to this Court,
stating as a basis for removal to federal court that there
was diversity of citizenship among the parties. ECF Nos. 6
and 2. In lieu of providing a copy of Plaintiff's
complaint from state court, Defendants provided
Plaintiff's summary judgment motion and the attachments
supporting the motion. After the matter was removed to
federal court, the state court action was stayed and the
hearing on Plaintiff's summary judgment motion was
stricken. ECF No. 9 at 3.
time that Plaintiff filed its motion to remand this matter to
state court, Plaintiff concurrently filed a motion to
expedite hearing of the motion, and the Court granted a
moderately expedited hearing schedule upon a finding that
Plaintiff had presented good cause. ECF No. 11. However,
subsequently, the Court granted Defendants' first motion
for additional time to respond, over Plaintiff's
opposition to an extension, and set a deadline of May 26,
2017, for Defendants to file any response, and a deadline of
June 2, 2017, for Plaintiff to file any reply. ECF No. 15.
The Court directed the Clerk's Office to telephone
Defendants at the phone number they had provided to inform
them of the Court's ruling and the deadline for their
response, in addition to mailing the order to Defendants.
Defendants' second motion for additional time to respond
to the motion to remand, Mr. Eriksen and Ms. Eriksen assert
that they removed the matter to federal court “because
of the national concerns regarding the congressional land
grant/presidential land patent update, and not for some other
improper purpose.” ECF No. 16 at 1. Defendants assert
“conflict preemption by national law over state
law.” ECF No. 16 at 2. Plaintiff again opposes
Defendants' request for enlargement of time to file a
response. ECF No. 17.
argues that there was not jurisdiction to support removal to
federal court. ECF No. 9 at 5. Plaintiff contends that there
is neither diversity of citizenship between the parties nor
any federal question. Id.
for Additional Time
preliminary matter, the Court does not find good cause to
extend any further time to Defendants to respond to
Plaintiff's motion. Defendants waited until the end of
their extended response period to request 21 more days to
respond. The Court agrees with Plaintiff that Defendants may
be engaging in a delay tactic. As a result, Defendants'
period for responding to Plaintiff's motion expired
without any response filed. Nevertheless, the Court considers
the relevant arguments Defendants made in their other filings
as the Court determines Plaintiff's motion to remand.
action filed in state court may be removed to the federal
district court embracing the place where the action is
pending when the federal court would have original
jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A
plaintiff may challenge removal by moving for remand.
Moore-Thomas v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d
1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009). When remand from federal to state
court is sought based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction,
the party opposing remand bears the burden of demonstrating
that the matter is properly before the federal court.
Sullivan v. First Affiliated Securities, Inc., 813
F.2d 1368, 1371 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S.
850 (1987). Removal statutes are strictly construed; any
doubt as to the propriety of removal should be resolved in
favor of remand. Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480,
1485 (9th Cir. 1996).
generally may remove to federal court “any civil action
brought in a State court of which the district courts of the
United States have original jurisdiction.” City of
Chicago v. International College of Surgeons, 522 U.S.
156, 163 (1997) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)).
Therefore, the issue of whether removal was proper depends
upon whether the case originally could have been filed in
federal court. See Id. Removal can be based on
diversity jurisdiction or on federal question jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). The federal question
statute provides that “district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising
under the . . . laws . . . of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1331 (emphasis added).
district court determining whether a case originally could
have been filed in federal court, thus rendering removal
proper, applies the “well-pleaded complaint
rule.” See Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v.
Mottley, 211 U.S. 149 (1908). Under that rule, federal
jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented
on the face of a plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392-93
(1987); Calif. ex rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy, Inc., 375
F.3d 831, 838 (9th Cir. 2004). The rule rests on the premise
that a plaintiff is the master of his or her case and may
choose whether to rely on state or federal law. Redwood
Theatres, Inc. v. Festival Enterprises, Inc., 908 F.2d
477, 479 (9th Cir. 1990). If a plaintiff “can maintain
his claim on both state and federal grounds, he may ignore
the federal question and assert only a state law claim and
defeat removal.” Sullivan, 813 F.2d at
“‘whether a case is one arising under . . . a law
. . . of the United States, in the sense of the
jurisdictional statute, . . . must be determined from what
necessarily appears in the plaintiff's . . . [complaint],
unaided by anything alleged in anticipation of avoidance of
defenses which it is thought the defendant may
interpose.' . . . For better or worse, . . . a defendant
may not remove a case to federal court unless the
plaintiff's complaint establishes that the case
‘arises under' federal law.” Franchise
Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463
U.S. 1, 10 n. 9 (1983) (emphasis in original) (quoting
Taylor v. Anderson, 234 U.S. 74, 75-76 (1914)).
Well-settled law bars the removal of a case based on a