from plain necessity, is unavailing to extinguish the
jurisdiction of the states.").
The real issue in this case, then, is whether United Mutual can meet
the statutory requirements for maintaining a summary holdover proceeding
(as opposed to a regular eviction suit) against Andujar. See Gonzalez v.
Peterson, 678 N.Y.S.2d 855, 856 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. App. Term. 1998) ("A
summary proceeding is a special proceeding governed entirely by statute
and it is well established that there must be strict compliance with the
statutory requirements to give the court jurisdiction") (quoting MSG Pomp
Corp. v. Doe, 586 N.Y.S.2d 965, 966 (1st Dept. 1992)), aff'd,
685 N.Y.S.2d 197 (1st Dept. 1999). However, absent express authorization
by statute, federal courts cannot entertain summary proceedings. See Glen
6 Assocs., Inc. v. Dedaj, 770 F. Supp. 225, 228 (S.D.N.Y. 1991). The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide no authorization for summary
adjudication of landlord-tenant disputes, nor do any other statutes
governing procedure in this district. "[T]he summary process filed by
plaintiff could not have been brought here originally and as such, this
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. We find, therefore, that removal
was improper. . . ." Id.
Furthermore, even if the instant case were not a summary proceeding,
"it is well settled that the landlord-tenant relationship is
fundamentally a matter of state law." Hearn v. Lin, No. 01-CV-8208, 2002
WL 720829, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 14, 2002). Time and again, district
courts have disclaimed jurisdiction over landlord-tenant disputes and
returned them to Housing Court. See id.; see also Soms v. Aranda, No. 00
Civ. 9626, 2001 WL 716945, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 26, 2001); Arrey, 101 F.
Supp.2d at 227; McAllan v. Malatzky, No. 97 Civ. 8291, 1998 WL 24369, at
*2-3 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 22, 1998), aff'd, 173 F.3d 845 (2d Cir. 1999);
DiNapoli v. DiNapoli, No. 95 Civ. 7822, 1995 WL 555740, at *1 (S.D.N.Y.
Sept. 19, 1995); Glen 6 Assocs., 770 F. Supp. at 228. "It is appropriate
for a federal court to abstain in landlord-tenant actions, as they
involve complex questions of state law that bear on important state
policy issues." Soms, 2001 WL 716945, at *1 (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). Accordingly, I find no basis to exercise jurisdiction
over this case.*fn8
B. Motion for Costs
United Mutual also seeks to recover attorneys' fees and costs under
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), which provides in pertinent part: "An order
remanding the case may require payment of just costs and actual
expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as the result of the
removal." As the language itself indicates, the statute leaves the
decision to award such costs to the Court's discretion, and courts
frequently decline to do so. See Prop. Clerk v. Fyfe, 197 F. Supp.2d 39,
42 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) ("district courts consider whether grounds for removal
were `substantial' or `colorable,' even if ultimately unpersuasive");
Bellido-Sullivan v. Amer. Int'l Group, Inc.,
123 F. Supp.2d 161, 169
(S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("The court appreciates that removal. . . is a
complicated and somewhat murky issue"); Frontier, 111 F. Supp.2d at 381
(noting that although bad faith is not a requirement for awarding costs
and fees, the absence of bad faith weighs against such an award).
"We must apply a test of overall fairness given the nature of the
case, the circumstances of the remand, and the effect on the parties."
Frontier, 111 F. Supp.2d at 381 (quoting Morgan Guar. Trust Co. of New
York v. Republic of Palau, 971 F.2d 917, 924 (2d Cir. 1992)). Taking into
account the nature of the litigation between the parties and the
surrounding circumstances, United Mutual's motion to recover costs and
fees is denied.
For the foregoing reasons, United Mutual's motion to remand is granted
and its motion for attorneys' fees and costs is denied. The Clerk of
Court is directed to send a certified copy of this order to the Clerk of
the New York County Civil Court, and to close the case in this Court.