United States District Court, E.D. Washington
MICHAEL BEVERICK AND CINDY BEVERICK, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
CHELAN COUNTY, ANGEL HALLMAN AND JOHN DOE HALLMAN, husband and wife, DOE DEFENDANTS 1-10, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO
O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (ECF No. 4).
This matter was submitted for consideration without oral
argument. The Court has reviewed the record and files herein,
and is fully informed. Briefing is completed and there is no
reason to delay a ruling. For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (ECF No. 4) is
case arises out of Defendants' alleged unlawful actions
taken in the course of enforcing alleged code violations on
Plaintiffs' property. On July 19, 2019, Plaintiffs filed
a Complaint in Douglas County Superior Court, bringing claims
for tortious interference, violation of due process and equal
protection under both the Washington State Constitution and
the United States Constitution, trespass and conversion. ECF
No. 1-2. On August 12, 2019, Defendants filed a Notice of
Removal in this Court, asserting federal question
jurisdiction. ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs moved to remand the
matter to state court. ECF No. 4. Defendants filed a response
opposing the motion, ECF No. 5, and Plaintiffs timely
responded, ECF No. 6.
argue that remand is appropriate because removal of this case
is discretionary. ECF No. 4 at 4.
28 United States Code Section 1441 governs removal of cases
from state court to federal court. Generally, a defendant may
remove a case to federal court if the federal court would
have subject-matter jurisdiction over one or more of the
plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1331 (federal question) or 1332 (diversity of citizenship).
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), (b). Once a case has
been properly removed, a federal court must generally
entertain all claims over which it has original
subject-matter jurisdiction. See Quackenbush v. Allstate
Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 716 (1996) (noting that
“federal courts have a strict duty to exercise the
jurisdiction that is conferred upon them by Congress”
in removal proceedings).
Defendants' Notice of Removal alleges this Court has
federal question jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' federal
equal protection and due process claims. ECF No. 1 at 2.
“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand concedes that the Complaint
raises equal protection and due process claims under the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. ECF
No. 4 at 3-4. Accordingly, the Court has federal question
jurisdiction over this claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This
case was therefore properly removed to federal court. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a).
Request for Remand
proper removal, Plaintiffs argue this Court should remand
this case because the state court is the “better
choice” of venue to resolve the state law claims. ECF
No. 4 at 4-7. Plaintiffs' motion is unclear as to whether
Plaintiffs request that this Court abstain from exercising
its federal question jurisdiction over the federal
constitutional claim, or whether Plaintiffs request this
Court not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the related
state law claims. Neither request is persuasive.
courts may decline to exercise their jurisdiction, in
otherwise ‘“exceptional circumstances,
”' where denying a federal forum would clearly
serve an important countervailing interest.”
Quackenbush, 517 U.S. at 716 (citing Colorado
River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424
U.S. 800, 813 (1976)). Abstention “is the exception,
not the rule.” Knudsen Corp. v. Nevada State Dairy
Comm'n, 676 F.2d 374, 376 (9th Cir. 1982) (citation
omitted). However, abstention principles do not permit a
district court to dismiss or remand an action for damages.
Quackenbush, 517 U.S. at 721. Because
Plaintiffs' Complaint seeks money damages and not
injunctive relief, abstention does not apply. ECF No. 1-2 at
abstention could be applied in this case, the relevant
factors would not weigh in favor of abstention. Abstention
may be appropriate where “(1) […] the state has
concentrated suits involving the local issue in a particular
court; (2) the federal issues are not easily separable from
complicated state law issues with which the state courts may
have special competence; and (3) […] federal review
might disrupt state efforts to establish a coherent
policy.” Tucker v. First Maryland Sav. & Loan,
Inc., 942 F.2d 1401, 1405 (9th Cir. 1991). Here,
Plaintiffs argue generally that the state court is in the
better position to analyze local rules and laws applicable to
Plaintiffs' land use dispute. ECF No. 4 at 4-6. That the
state court may resolve land use cases more frequently than