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Gonzales v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 28, 2014

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendant.


JEFFREY S. WHITE, District Judge.

Now before the Court is the motion for remand filed by plaintiff Veronica A. Gonzales ("Plaintiff") and the motion to dismiss filed by defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"). The Court finds these matters are suitable for disposition without oral argument and VACATES the hearing set for October 31, 2014. See N.D. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having carefully reviewed the parties' papers, considered their arguments and the relevant legal authority, the Court hereby denies Plaintiff's motion for remand and grants Wells Fargo's motion to dismiss.[1]


Plaintiff filed a complaint in state court alleging violations of California statutory provisions regarding Wells Fargo's attempts to foreclose on Plaintiff's residence located at 36 Rustic Way, San Rafael, CA 94901 (the "Property"). Wells Fargo removed the action to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff moves to remand this action back to state court. Wells Fargo moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on the grounds that Plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to state any claim. The Court shall address additional facts as necessary in the remainder of this Order.


A. Applicable Legal Standards.

"[A]ny civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant... to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending." Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1983) (citation omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. ยง 1441. However, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).

The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction for purposes of removal is on the party seeking removal, and the removal statute is construed strictly against removal jurisdiction. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). "Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus , 980 F.2d at 566. In order to determine whether the removing party has met its burden, a court may consider the contents of the removal petition and "summary-judgment-type evidence." Valdez, 372 F.3d at 1117. It is well established that a court must evaluate whether it has jurisdiction based on the circumstances that exist at the time the notice of removal is filed. See, e.g., Sparta Surgical Corp. v. National Ass'n of Securities Dealers, Inc., 159 F.3d 1209, 1211 (9th Cir. 1998).

A motion to dismiss is proper under Rule 12(b)(6) where the pleadings fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. On a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court construes the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and takes as true all material allegations in the complaint. Sanders v. Kennedy, 794 F.2d 478, 481 (9th Cir. 1986). Even under the liberal pleading standard of Rule 8(a)(2), "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). Rather, a plaintiff must instead allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.... When a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) (internal quotation marks omitted).

B. Plaintiff's Motion for Remand.

Plaintiff contends that this Court lacks diversity jurisdiction over this matter. First, Plaintiff argues that complete diversity is lacking because Wells Fargo, a national bank, is a citizen of California as well as South Dakota. Wells Fargo counters that it is a citizen only over South Dakota, where it's main office is located. The Ninth Circuit recently clarified that national banks are only a citizen of the sate in which its main office is located. Rouse v. Wachovia Mortgage, 747 F.3d 707, 708 (9th Cir. 2014). Therefore, the Ninth Circuit found that Wells Fargo is only a citizen of South Dakota, where its main office is located. Id.

Accordingly, the Court finds that there is complete diversity between the parties.

Next, Plaintiff argues that its not clear that the amount in controversy is over the jurisdictional amount of $75, 000. However, where, as here, a plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, the value of the object of the litigation determines the amount in controversy. Cohn v. Petsmart, Inc., 281 F.3d 837, 840 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff seeks an injunction prohibiting the sale of the Property. (Compl., p. 14.) Therefore, the Property, Plaintiff's home, is an object of the litigation in this action. See Graham v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 2013 WL 2285184, * 3 (N.D. Cal. May 23, 2013) (finding that the object of the litigation was the plaintiff's home where the plaintiff sought injunctive relief preventing foreclosure); Lowry v. EMC, 2012 WL 3257652, * 4 (D. Ariz. Aug. 8, 2012) (same); Henderson v. Nationstart Mortg. Co., LLC, 2008 WL 302374, *1 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 31, 2008 (same). Plaintiff's mortgage used to purchase the home was $600, 000. (RJN in Opp. to Motion to Remand, Ex. 4.) The most recent ...

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