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Krishan Inc. v. TXS United Housing Program Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

June 5, 2017

KRISHAN, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
TXS UNITED HOUSING PROGRAM, INC. and DEBRA KROUPA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JANE J. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Krishan, Inc.'s Motion to Remand. Doc. 6. For the reasons explained below, Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         This case involves a basic eviction suit brought in Hunt County, Texas Justice of the Peace Court by Plaintiff Krishan, Inc. against Defendant Debra Kroupa. Doc. 6, Pl.'s Mot. to Remand 1.[1]Plaintiff apparently purchased property at 1216 Interstate Highway 30 West in Greenville, Texas at a trustee's sale and then obtained a Judgment of eviction against Debra Kroupa in the Justice of the Peace Court on December 6, 2016. Id.; Doc. 6-3, State Court Judgment. Kroupa appealed the Justice of the Peace Court Judgment of eviction to the Hunt County Court at Law No. 2 on January 10, 2017, and the appeal was set for hearing on January 23, 2017. Doc. 1-3, Notice of Appeal; Doc. 1-5, Notice of Court Setting. The day before the hearing, however, Kroupa filed a notice of removal to this Court. Doc. 1, Notice of Removal.[2] Although Plaintiff cited 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) in her Notice of Removal (Doc. 1, Notice of Removal 1), it appears she actually intended to remove the case based on federal question jurisdiction.[3]

         Plaintiff filed its Motion to Remand on February 8, 2017. Doc. 6, Pl.'s Mot. to Remand. Kroupa responded on March 1, 2017. Doc. 9, Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Remand [hereinafter Def.'s Resp.]. Plaintiff did not file a reply brief, and the time for doing so has passed. See N.D. Tex. Local Civ. R. 7.1(f). Therefore, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is ripe for review.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Howery v. Allstate Ins. Co., 243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001). They possess only the power authorized by the Constitution and statute, which is not to be expanded by judicial decree. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted). Therefore, district courts “must presume that a suit lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction rests on the party seeking the federal forum.” Howery, 243 F.3d at 916.

         A defendant may remove an action filed in state court to federal court if the case could have originally been filed in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The removing party bears the burden of establishing that federal jurisdiction exists. De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47 F.3d 1404, 1408 (5th Cir. 1995). Federal subject matter jurisdiction is limited to only those cases involving a question of federal law or those where parties are of diverse citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1332.

         In diversity cases, the citizenship of each plaintiff must be diverse from the citizenship of each defendant, and the amount in controversy must exceed $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Even then, a case may be removed on the basis of diversity jurisdiction only if none of the parties in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). Federal question jurisdiction “exists when a well-pleaded complaint establishes either that federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial federal law.” Borden v. Allstate Ins. Co., 589 F.3d 168, 172 (5th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         III.

         ANALYSIS

         As noted above, it is not totally clear on what basis Kroupa alleges removal was proper. In both her Notice of Removal and her response to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand, Kroupa indicates that the case was removed based on federal question jurisdiction. Doc. 1, Notice of Removal 2 (“The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, has jurisdiction over this action based on federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331.”); Doc. 9, Def.'s Resp. 1 (“A Federal Question has been invoked as a result of the Civil Rights Violations that have occurred as a result of the conduct of the Plaintiff.”); Id. (“Defendants, will asserted [sic] claims under the Federal Housing Act. Under 28 USC 1441. By asserting those claims, this Court has jurisdiction over federal question matters.”). However, Kroupa also cites 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)-the federal diversity statute-in the Notice of Removal. Doc. 1, Notice of Removal 1 (“This Notice of Removal is filed pursuant to ...


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