ORDER GRANTING APPLICATIONS TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION RE: REMAND
HOWARD R. LLOYD, Magistrate Judge.
Defendants Christopher Alberti and Elizabeth Alberti ("Defendants") removed this unlawful detainer action from the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Defendants also seek leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). For the reasons stated below, the undersigned grants the IFP applications, but nonetheless recommends that this matter be remanded to the state court for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction.
A court may authorize the commencement of a civil action in forma pauperis ("IFP") if the court is satisfied that the applicant cannot pay the requisite filing fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In evaluating such an application, the court should "gran[t] or den[y] IFP status based on the applicant's financial resources alone and then independently determin[e] whether to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it is frivolous."
Removal to federal court is proper where the federal court would have original subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. The removal statutes are strictly construed against removal and place the burden on the defendants to demonstrate that removal is proper.
Defendants fail to show that removal is proper based on any federal law. Federal courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions "arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A claim "arises under" federal law if, based on the "well-pleaded complaint rule," the plaintiff alleges a federal claim for relief.
Nor does this court find any basis for diversity jurisdiction. Federal district courts have jurisdiction over civil actions in which the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 (exclusive of interest and costs) and is between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Defendants fail to identify the citizenship of each party. But this is of no import, since the complaint indicates that the amount in controversy does not exceed $10,000. Moreover, unlawful detainer actions involve the right to possession alone, not title to the property. So, the fact that the subject property may be worth more than $75,000 is irrelevant.
There being no basis for federal jurisdiction over plaintiff's unlawful detainer action, the removal of this case was improper. Defendants are advised that future attempts to remove this matter may result in sanctions.
Because the defendants have declined the undersigned's jurisdiction, the clerk has reassigned this case to a district judge. Dkt. Nos. 6, 7, 8. The undersigned RECOMMENDS that the newly assigned judge remand the case to the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Any party may serve and file objections to this Report and Recommendation within fourteen days after being served. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72.