In Ghalehtak v. Fay Servicing, LLC, 2018 WL 2553570, at *2 (N.D.Cal., 2018), Judge Hamilton remanded a Rosenthal Act claim back to state court.
Defendants argue that federal jurisdiction exists under § 1331 because plaintiffs’ RFDCPA claim specifically references parts of the FDCPA. Under the “well-pleaded complaint rule…federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987) (internal quotation marks omitted). Here, the face of plaintiffs’ complaint states an RFDCPA cause of action. The complaint references certain FDCPA provisions only in connection with stating a claim under § 1788.17 of the RFDCPA. Compl. at 1. That section specifically incorporates certain FDCPA provisions into California law: “[E]very debt collector collecting or attempting to collect a consumer debt shall comply with the provisions of Sections 1692b to 1692j, inclusive, of, and shall be subject to the remedies in Section 1692k” of the FDCPA. Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17; see Reyes Lopez v. Kenosian & Miele, LLP, 525 F. Supp. 2d 1158, 1164-65 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (outlining the California legislature’s incorporation of many provisions of the FDCPA into the Rosenthal Act); Britz v. Cowan, 192 F.3d 1101, 1103 (7th Cir.1999) (Posner, J.) (“[A] state cannot expand federal jurisdiction by deciding to copy a federal law.”). The complaint’s reference to the FDCPA does not go any further and certainly does not state an FDCPA cause of action. Compl. at 2 (stating claim arises out of § 1788.17 and listing FDCPA provisions incorporated by § 1788.17); Olson v. Wells Fargo Bank, 961 F. Supp. 2d 1149, 1164 n.2 (C.D. Cal. 2013) (holding that plaintiff’s reference to the FDCPA was insufficient to vest the District Court with federal question jurisdiction because “such references are inevitable as the California legislature incorporated portions of the FDCPA into its law”). Courts in this circuit agree. Facing a similar situation, the Ninth Circuit held that though plaintiff predicated its Nevada state law claim on the FDCPA, federal jurisdiction did not attach because the relevant Nevada statute made it a separate state law violation to violate certain federal laws. Nevada v. Bank of Am. Corp., 672 F.3d 661, 675-76 (9th Cir. 2012) (reversing district court with instructions to remand). Courts frequently hold the same regarding § 1788.17: “Since the provisions are incorporated in and made part of state law, referencing the federal statute does not automatically transform [plaintiff’s] RFDCPA claim into a federal claim.” Ortega v. HomEq Serv., No. CV 09-02130 MMM (DTBx), 2010 WL 383368, at *5 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 25, 2010); Arzaga v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 16-CV-2505 AJB (WVG), 2016 WL 6698954, at *1–3 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 14, 2016) (collecting cases).