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Chiu v. Lincoln

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 29, 2018

YU-WEN CHIU, ET. AL.
v.
CHARLES EDWARD LINCOLN, III, ET. AL.

         SECTION “B” (1)

          ORDER AND REASONS

         Considering Plaintiffs' Yu-Wen Chiu and Chih-Yang Hu (hereinafter, the “Hu Plaintiffs”) “Motion to Remand for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction” (Rec. Doc. 9), IT IS ORDERED that the Hu Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Rec. Doc. 9) is GRANTED. This case is remanded to the First City Court of New Orleans for eviction proceedings, where it originated as civil action no. 17-08413.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Hu Plaintiffs and Defendant Charles Edward Lincoln, III (“Defendant Charles III”) executed a lease agreement on April 6, 2017, where Charles III would reside at the Hu Plaintiff's 228 Walnut Street property in New Orleans, Louisiana (the “Property”). Rec. Docs. 1 and 9. According to the parties, Third-Party Defendant Jill Jones-Soderman (“Soderman”) represented that she would pay the rent pursuant to Defendant Charles III's employment with her organization. Id. Soderman, however, is not a party to the lease agreement. Id. Defendant Charles III moved into the Property on or about April 8, 2017. Rec. Doc. 9-1 at 3. A few months later, in August 2017, Soderman informed the Hu Plaintiffs and Defendant Charles III that she would no longer pay rent as she was terminating her employment relationship with Defendant Charles III. Rec. Docs. 9-1 and 9-2. Upon said information, the Hu Plaintiffs offered Charles III early termination of his lease. Rec. Doc. 9-2. Charles III declined the Hu Plaintiff's offer. Rec. Doc. 9-2. After about three months of non-payment, the Hu Plaintiffs initiated eviction proceedings in state court against Charles III for his failure to pay rent pursuant to the lease agreement. Rec. Docs. 1 and 9. This case was removed by Defendant Charles Edward Lincoln, III (“Charles III”) from state court on November 13, 2017. Charles III removed the instant case, citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334, 1452 as grounds for federal jurisdiction. Rec. Doc. 1.

         Specifically, Defendant Charles III asserts that this Court has jurisdiction because the subject lease between him and the Hu Plaintiffs was part of a “grand bankruptcy and general financial rehabilitation program” to which Soderman agreed “to underwrite” pursuant to a “plan of long-term collaboration and partnership.” Rec. Doc. 1 at 1-3. Charles III also vaguely asserts federal jurisdiction based on alleged “related cases” already in federal court, referencing civil action nos. 16-12650 in Bankruptcy Court and 17-11111 in this Court.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         “A party may remove an action from state court to federal court if the action is one over which the federal court possesses subject matter jurisdiction.” Manguno v. Prudential Prop. and Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir. 2002)(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)).

The removing party bears the burden of showing that federal jurisdiction exists and that removal was proper. De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47 F.3d 1404, 1408 (5th Cir. 1995); Jernigan v. Ashland Oil Inc., 989 F.2d 812, 815 (5th Cir. 1993) (per curiam); Willy v. Coastal Corp., 855 F.2d 1160, 1164 (5th Cir. 1988). To determine whether jurisdiction is present for removal, we consider the claims in the state court petition as they existed at the time of removal. Cavallini v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 44 F.3d 256, 264 (5th Cir. 1995). Any ambiguities are construed against removal because the removal statute should be strictly construed in favor of remand. Acuna v. Brown & Root, Inc., 200 F.3d 335, 339 (5th Cir. 2000).

Id. In addition to the above, federal courts may raise the issue of subject matter jurisdiction even if the parties have not raised the issue themselves. Gaar v. Quirk, 86 F.3d 451, 453 (5th Cir. 1996).

         Defendant Charles III cites 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334, 1452 as grounds for removal. Section 1334 provides that:

(b) . . . the district courts shall have original but not exclusive jurisdiction of all civil proceedings arising under title 11, or arising in or related to cases under title 11.

28 U.S.C. § 1334 (2005). Section 1452 provides that:

(a) [a] party may remove any claim or cause of action in a civil action . . . to the district court for the district where such civil action is pending, if such district court has jurisdiction of such claim or cause of action under section 1334 of this title.

28 U.S.C. ยง 1452 (1990). However, contrary to Defendant Charles III's contentions, neither of these statutes support removal of the Hu Plaintiffs' ...


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