United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER (1) GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND AND (2) REMANDING
ACTION TO STATE CIRCUIT COURT
Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.
November 7, 2019, William Barker, a non-lawyer and unnamed
defendant, removed this action purportedly on behalf of
Defendants Osceola Cruises LLC and Western Marine Inc.
(collectively, “Defendants”) from the First
Circuit Court for the State of Hawai‘i. Dkt. No. 1. A
month later, Plaintiff Marine Petroleum Corp.
(“Plaintiff” or “Marine”) filed a
motion to remand this action to the State court. Dkt. No. 6.
Therein, Plaintiff raises various arguments for why this case
should be remanded, including on the ground that this Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the parties'
dispute. Because the Court finds that Defendants have not
carried their burden of establishing this Court's subject
matter jurisdiction, the motion to remand is GRANTED, with
this action being remanded to the First Circuit Court.
December 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant motion to
remand. Dkt. No. 6. The Court scheduled the motion to remand
for hearing on January 16, 2020, Dkt. No. 8, which meant,
according to Local Rule 7.2, a response was due by December
26, 2019. No. response was filed by December 26, 2019 or on
any other date. In fact, Defendant-corporate entities have
not filed an appearance of counsel. Moreover, other than the
notice of removal and documents associated therewith, neither
the Defendants nor Mr. Barker have made any appearance in
this case. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 14 (Amended Order to
Show Cause). Due to the lack of a response to the motion to
remand, the Court opted to vacate the scheduled hearing. Dkt.
to Section 1441(a) of Title 28, any civil action brought in a
State court may be removed to federal court by a defendant
provided that the federal court would have original
jurisdiction over the action. Pursuant to Sections 1331 and
1332(a)(1) of Title 28, this Court has original jurisdiction
of all civil actions involving, respectively, (i) federal law
and (ii) an amount in controversy in excess of $75, 000 and
citizens of different States.
to Section 1447(c) of Title 28, “[i]f 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. § 1447(c). The burden of
establishing this Court's subject matter jurisdiction
“rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction[, ]”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994), which, here, means the Defendants,
Corral v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 878 F.3d
770, 773 (9th Cir. 2017). “[A]ny doubt about the right
of removal requires resolution in favor of remand.”
Moore-Thomas v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d
1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009).
notice of removal, Dkt. No. 1, appears to rely on both
Sections 1331 (federal question) and 1332 (diversity) for
purposes of this Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
More specifically, the notice of removal states that the
“complaint presents federal questions” and
“diversity [j]urisdiction applies.” Id.
notice of removal is incorrect on both counts. First, the
complaint does not present a federal question, as it is
entirely premised upon Defendants' alleged breach of
contract, a state law claim, see Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 394-399 (1987) (explaining that
state-law contract claims did not arise under federal law and
were not by pre-empted by any federal law). Further,
Defendants point the Court to no federal law that may be
applicable to the claims.
Defendants have failed to show that this case involves
diverse parties. In the notice of removal, it states that
diversity jurisdiction applies because “at least one
Plaintiff is diverse from at least one defendant in accord
with 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).” Dkt. No. 1 at 3.
However, Section 1332(d) concerns diversity for purposes of
class actions involving an amount in controversy of
more than $5 million. Nothing in the complaint, or even the
notice of removal, indicates that this case involves either
of those elements. As such, the notice of removal presents no
basis for removal of this action. In addition, even if the
Court were willing to assume that Mr. Barker, on apparent
behalf of Defendants, meant to rely upon Section 1332(a)-the
general diversity jurisdiction provision-the notice of
removal fares no better. Notably, the notice of removal makes
no mention that complete diversity exists-a
necessary showing to establish jurisdiction under Section
1332(a). Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039,
1043 (9th Cir. 2009).
because Defendants have failed to carry their burden of
establishing subject matter jurisdiction over this case, the
motion to remand is GRANTED.
motion to remand, Dkt. No. 6, is GRANTED. This case is hereby
REMANDED to the First Circuit Court for the State of
Hawai‘i, pursuant to Section 1447(c) of Title 28. The
Clerk is instructed to mail a certified copy of this Order ...