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Castro v. Jpmorgan Chase Bank

United States District Court, S.D. California

October 21, 2014

FERNANDO CASTRO and MARIA DEL CARMEN CASTRO, as individuals, Plaintiffs,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK; f/k/a (Washington Mutual Bank); NORTHWEST TRUSTEE SERVICES, INC.; DOES 1 to 10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER

WILLIAM Q. HAYES, District Judge

The matters before the Court are the Motion to Remand, filed by Plaintiffs, and the Motion to Dismiss, filed by Defendant JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("JP Morgan". (ECF Nos. 4, 7).

I. BACKGROUND

On June 30, 2014, Plaintiffs Fernando Castro and Maria Del Carmen Castro commenced this action by filing a Complaint in the San Diego County Superior Court against Defendants JP Morgan and Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. ("Northwest"). (ECF No. 1-2). The Complaint alleges the following claims for relief: (1) violation of California Civil Code Section 2923.5 against all Defendants; (2) violation of California Civil Code Section 2923.7 against all Defendants; (3) violation of California Civil Code Section 2924 against all Defendants; (4) violation of California Civil Code Section 2924.11 against all Defendants; (5) declaratory relief against Defendants All Select Portfolio Servicing, JP Morgan Chase ("JP Morgan"), Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. ("Northwest"), and Does 1 through 10; and (6) injunctive relief pursuant to California Civil Code section 2924.12 against all Defendants. The Complaint alleges that Plaintiffs have at all relevant times been residents of San Diego County. (ECF No. 1-2 at 2).

On July 31, 2014, JP Morgan Chase removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 28 U.S.C. § 1332 on the basis of diversity of citizenship. (ECF No. 1). The notice of removal asserts that JP Morgan is a national banking association with its main office in Columbus, Ohio, and Northwest is incorporated under the laws of Washington with its principal place of business in Seattle, Washington. Id. at 4. The notice of removal asserts that Defendants Does 1 through 10 are "[f]ictitious defendants whose citizenship is disregarded for purposes of removal." Id. at 5.

On August 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed the Motion to Remand to state court. (ECF No. 4). On August 7, 2014, Defendant JP Morgan filed an opposition to Plaintiff's motion to remand. (ECF No. 6). On August 7, 2014, Defendant JP Morgan filed the Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 7). Plaintiffs have not filed a response to Defendant JP Morgan's motion to dismiss.

II. MOTION TO REMAND (ECF No. 4)

Plaintiffs contend that Defendants do not establish complete diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because Northwest is a citizen of California. Plaintiffs contend that Defendants failed to meet the procedural requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1446 because Northwest did not consent to removal from state court. Plaintiffs further contend that abstention is appropriate because the case presents "difficult questions of state law bearing on policy problems of substantial public import whose importance transcends the result in the case then at bar and the exercise of federal review would be disruptive of state efforts to establish a coherent policy with respect to a matter of substantial public concern." (ECF No. 4) (citing State v. Mushroom King, Inc., 77 B.R. 813, 818-19 (D. Or. 1987)).

Defendant JP Morgan contends that complete diversity exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1332 because Northwest is a citizen of Washington. Defendant JP Morgan contends that Northwest consented to the removal from state court and the consent was timely because Plaintiffs failed to effectuate proper service, triggering the removal period. Defendant JP Morgan further contends that the Complaint raises California Homowners' Bill of Rights and Non-Judicial Foreclosure issues that courts throughout California have routinely adjudicated at both the state and federal levels. (ECF No. 6).

A. FEDERAL DIVERSITY JURISDICTION

Plaintiffs contend that Northwest is a California corporation and thus a citizen of California for diversity purposes. (ECF No 4 at 8). Plaintiffs contend that since Northwest is a citizen of California the Defendants have not met the burden of establishing complete diversity of citizenship which is required under 28 U.S.C. section 1332. Id. at 8-9. Defendant JP Morgan contends that Northwest was incorporated in the State of Washington, with its main headquarters in Bellevue, WA, and therefore, is a citizen of the State of Washington. (ECF No. 6 at 11). There is no dispute as to the citizenship of the remaining Defendants or the amount in controversy.

28 U.S.C. section 1332 authorizes district courts to exercise original jurisdiction in cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000.00 and the parties are citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity, meaning every plaintiff must be diverse from every defendant. Id. "[A] corporation is a citizen only of (1) the state where its principal place of business is located, and (2) the state in which it is incorporated. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 80 (2010); Johnson v. Columbia Properties Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006). "[T]he phrase principal place of business' refers to the place where the corporation's high level officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities... the corporation's nerve center.'" Hertz Corp., 559 U.S. at 80-81; Davis v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 557 F.3d 1026, 1040 (9th Cir. 2009).

The record shows that Northwest was incorporated in the State of Washington on March 16, 2004. (ECF No. 6-1 at 2) and that Northwest's principal place of business is Bellevue, WA, where Northwest's President, Treasurer, Chairman, Vice President, and Secretary are located. (ECF No 6-1 at 2-3); see Hertz Corp., 559 U.S. at 80-81; see Davis, 557 F.3d at 1040. The Court concludes Northwest is a citizen of the State of ...


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