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Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Duran

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 23, 2015

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, as trustee Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY DURAN; RICHARD THOMAS; and DOES 1-100, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND AND REQUEST FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS AND DENYING REQUEST TO BAR FUTURE REMOVALS AND PROCEED EX PARTE IN THE EVENT OF FUTURE REMOVALS [6]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee, moves to remand this action to the Superior Court of the State of California, Los Angeles County, Santa Monica Judicial District for lack of federal subject-matter jurisdiction. (ECF No. 6). Further, Plaintiff seeks attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $962.50 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); a bar on any future removals of the action; and permission to proceed ex parte if there are any future removals of the action. ( Id. ) Plaintiff argues that Defendant Jerry Duran failed to establish a sufficient basis for removal and is merely attempting to impede Plaintiff's ability to recover possession of the real property. For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that Defendant had no objectively reasonable basis for removal. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and AWARDS attorneys' fees against Defendant in the amount of $437.50. ( Id. ) Plaintiff's request for an Order barring future removals of this action and for permission to proceed ex parte in the event there are future removals of this action is DENIED.[1] ( Id. )

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's claim arose out of a non-judicial foreclosure sale. (ECF No. 6, Mot. to Remand ["MTR"] 1.) In March 2006, Defendant Jerry Duran executed a deed of trust encumbering the real property in dispute. ( Id. ) In March 2014, Plaintiff purchased this property at a trustee's sale and perfected title. ( Id. ) Plaintiff alleges Defendant remained in possession of the property and on April 16, 2014, Plaintiff filed an unlawful detainer action against Defendant in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. ( Id. at 2; MTR Ex. 1.)[2]

The hearing on Plaintiff's state-court motion for summary judgment was originally set for August 12, 2014. (MTR 2.) On August 8, 2014, two court days before that hearing, Defendant removed the action to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 on the basis of purported federal question jurisdiction. Specifically, Defendant alleged that Plaintiff's claim "is based upon a notice which expressly references and incorporates the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, ' 12 U.S.C § 5201." (MTR Ex. 4, at 2.) Consequently, the hearing on Plaintiff's MSJ was continued. (MTR 2.)

Upon removal this case was assigned to Judge Dale S. Fischer who then remanded the case holding that Plaintiff's Complaint does not state a federal cause of action. ( Id. ); see Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co. v. Duran, No. CV 14-6253 DSF Case 2:14-cv-08439-ODW-PLA Document 11 Filed 01/23/15 Page 3 of 7 Page ID #:126 (FFMx) (C.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2014) (order remanding case to Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles).

Once remanded, Plaintiff scheduled another hearing on its MSJ. On September 22, 2014, one day before the hearing, Defendant filed a bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District. (MTR 3.) As a result, the hearing on Plaintiff's MSJ was once again continued. ( Id. ) On November 4, 2014, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District granted Plaintiff's request to lift the automatic bankruptcy stay. ( Id. ; MTR Ex. 9.)

On October 13, 2014, Defendant filed a second Notice of Removal again asserting that Plaintiff's claim implicates the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, 12 U.S.C. § 5201. (MTR Ex. 10, at 2.) Plaintiff alleges that it did not receive notice of this motion until it was informed by this Court on November 5, 2014. (MTR 3.) Plaintiff's MSJ hearing was once more continued. ( Id. ) On December 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed this Motion seeking (1) an order from this Court remanding this case to state court, (2) attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $962.50, and (3) permission to proceed ex parte if there are any future removals of this action. ( Id. at 4.) Defendant did not file an opposition.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject-matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1; see, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts have original jurisdiction where an action presents a federal question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. To exercise diversity jurisdiction, a federal court must find complete diversity of citizenship among the adverse parties, and the amount in controversy must exceed Case 2:14-cv-08439-ODW-PLA Document 11 Filed 01/23/15 Page 4 of 7 Page ID #:127 $75, 000, usually exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

Courts strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction, and "[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566).

IV. DISCUSSION

A. The Motion to ...


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