United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Ashley
Washington's (“Ms. Washington”)
“Complaint Preliminary and Permanent Injunction,
Temporary Restraining Order against Writ of Possession field
in the Magistrate Court of Fulton County” [1.1]
in early 2018, Plaintiff Strategic Properties
(“Plaintiff”) initiated a dispossessory
proceeding against its tenant, Ms. Washington, in the
Magistrate Court of Fulton County, Georgia (the “Fulton
County Action”). On May 18, 2018, Ms. Washington,
proceeding pro se, removed the Fulton County action
to this Court by filing her Complaint. (See [1.1],
). Ms. Washington provides no explanation, argument, or
facts to support the jurisdictional basis for her removal.
courts “have an independent obligation to determine
whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in the
absence of a challenge from any party.” Arbaugh v.
Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 501 (2006). The Eleventh
Circuit consistently has held that “a court should
inquire into whether it has subject matter jurisdiction at
the earliest possible stage in the proceedings. Indeed, it is
well settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire
into subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may
be lacking.” Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco
Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999).
presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is
governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule, '
which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a
federal question is presented on the face of the
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint. . . . The rule
makes the plaintiff the master of the claim; he or she may
avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state
law.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S.
386, 392 (1987) (citations omitted); see Novastar Mortg.
Inc. v. Bennett, 173 F.Supp.2d 1358, 1361 (N.D.Ga. 2001)
(“[T]he court must look only to the plaintiff's
claim as a basis for federal jurisdiction.”).
“[I]n removal cases, the burden is on the party who
sought removal to demonstrate that federal jurisdiction
exists.” Kirkland v. Midland Mortg. Co., 243
F.3d 1277, 1281 n.5 (11th Cir. 2001). “[U]ncertainties
are resolved in favor of remand.” Burns v. Windsor
Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1092, 1095 (11th Cir. 1994).
Court finds that Plaintiff's Complaint does not present a
federal question. Plaintiff's Complaint is a
dispossessory action which is based solely on state law. No
federal question is presented on the face of Plaintiff's
Complaint. That Defendant asserts defenses or counterclaims
based on federal law cannot confer federal subject matter
jurisdiction over this action. See Beneficial Nat'l
Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 6 (2003); Holmes
Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Sys., Inc., 535
U.S. 826, 830-32 (2002).
Court also lacks diversity jurisdiction over this action.
Diversity jurisdiction exists over suits between citizens of
different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Here, the record does not show
the citizenship of the parties, and, even if there is
complete diversity between the parties, the
amount-in-controversy requirement cannot be satisfied because
this is a dispossessory action. “[A] claim seeking only
ejectment in a dispossessory action cannot be reduced to a
monetary sum for the purposes of determining the amount in
controversy.” Citimortgage, Inc. v. Dhinoja,
705 F.Supp.2d 1378, 1382 (N.D.Ga. 2010); Novastar Mortg.,
Inc. v. Bennett, 173 F.Supp.2d 1358, 1361 (N.D.Ga.
2001), aff'd, 35 Fed.Appx. 858 (11th Cir. 2002);
cf. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Williams, Nos.
1:07-cv-2864-RWS, 1:07-cv-2865-RWS, 2008 WL 115096, at *2
(N.D.Ga. Jan 29, 2008) (“[A] dispossessory proceeding
under Georgia law is not an ownership dispute, but rather
only a dispute over the limited right to possession, title to
property is not at issue and, accordingly, the removing
Defendant may not rely on the value of the property as a
whole to satisfy the amount in controversy
requirement.”). The amount-in-controversy requirement
is not satisfied and removal is not proper based on diversity
the Court lacks both federal question and diversity
jurisdiction, this action is required to be remanded to state
court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (“If at
any time before final judgment it appears that the district
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
this action is REMANDED to the Magistrate
Court of Fulton County, Georgia.