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Hyland v. Office of Housing & Community Development

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 8, 2016



Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge

Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Lanric Hyland’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion to Remand to Hawai`i 3rd Circuit Court (“Motion to Remand”), filed on February 1, 2016. [Dkt. no. 37.] Defendants Office of Housing & Community Development and the County of Hawaii (“the County Defendants”) filed their memorandum in opposition on February 26, 2016. [Dkt. no. 41.] On February 29, 2016, Defendant Ainakea Senior Residences LLLP (“Ainakea”) and Defendant Hawaii Affordable Properties, Inc. (“HAPI”) each filed a joinder in the memorandum in opposition. [Dkt. nos. 42, 43.] Plaintiff filed his reply on March 7, 2016. [Dkt. no. 45.]

The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i (“Local Rules”). The hearing on the Motion to Remand, currently scheduled for March 21, 2016, at 9:45 a.m., is therefore VACATED. After careful consideration of the motion, supporting and opposing memoranda, and the relevant legal authority, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand is HEREBY DENIED for the reasons set forth below.


On August 11, 2015, Plaintiff filed his “Verified Complaint of Lanric Hyland; Complaint for Complaint for [sic] Declaratory & Injunctive Relief; Appeal from Declaratory Petition” (“Complaint”) in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit, State of Hawai`i (“Third Circuit Court”).[1] [Notice of Removal, filed 12/9/15 (dkt. no. 1), Decl. of Melody Parker, Exh. A.] The County Defendants removed the case to this district court based on federal question jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441. [Notice of Removal at ¶ 4.] According to the County Defendants, at the time of removal, HAPI and Ainakea had not been properly served. [Id. at ¶ 9.]

In the Motion to Remand, Plaintiff first argues that removal was improper because the County Defendants, Ainakea, and HAPI (collectively “Defendants”) were all served on December 5, 2015, and the County Defendants failed to obtain Ainakea’s and HAPI’s consent to the removal. Plaintiff also argues that he filed a First Amended Complaint in the Third Circuit Court on January 5, 2016, and it does not assert claims based on the United States Constitution. He therefore asserts that this Court no longer has federal question jurisdiction over the case. Finally, he argues that this Court should remand the case because he cannot afford to make appearances in Honolulu, and he cannot participate in court proceedings by telephone because of a hearing disability that he incurred during his military service.


The County Defendants removed this case pursuant to § 1441(a), which states:

Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.

28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) states, in pertinent part:

A motion to remand the case on the basis of any defect other than lack of subject matter jurisdiction must be made within 30 days after the filing of the notice of removal under section 1446(a). If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. . . .

This district court has stated:

“Removal and subject matter jurisdiction statutes are ‘strictly construed, ’ and a ‘defendant seeking removal has the burden to establish that removal is proper and any doubt is resolved against removability.’” Hawaii ex rel. Louie v. HSBC Bank Nev., N.A., 761 F.3d 1027, 1034 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Luther v. Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, 533 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2008)). Thus, “‘[i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies outside [the] limited jurisdiction [of the federal courts] and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction.’” Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Abrego Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 684 (9th Cir. 2006)) (alterations in original). This “‘strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper, ’ and that the court resolves all ambiguity in favor of remand to state court.” Id. (quoting Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam)).

U.S. Bank, Nat’l Ass’n v. Mizukami, CIVIL NO. 15-00523 JMS-BMK, 2016 WL 632195, at *2 (D. Hawai`i Feb. 17, ...

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