United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
RALPH B. NEAL, Plaintiff,
SELECT PORTFOLIO SERVICING, INC., et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND;
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S “MOTION TO PROVE
AUTHORITY”, Re: Dkt. 14, 15
J. DAVILA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ralph Neal (“Plaintiff”) is the trustor of a 2007
Deed of Trust executed in favor of Washington Mutual in
connection with the refinance of a home loan. He initiated
this action in Santa Clara County Superior Court in July,
2016, against Defendants U.S. Bank NA, who is
“successor trustee to Bank of America, NA, successor in
interest to La Salle Bank NA, as trustee on behalf of the
holders of the Wamu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates,
Series 2007-OA6, ” and Select Portfolio Servicing Inc.
(collectively, “Defendants”), and asserts several
causes of action based in California law. Select Portfolio
Servicing removed the action to this court on August 26,
2016, citing federal jurisdiction on the basis of diversity
of citizenship. Dkt. No. 1.
before the court is Plaintiff's motion to remand and a
“motion to prove authority, ” both of which
Defendants oppose. Dkt. Nos. 14, 15. Having carefully
reviewed the parties' pleadings, the court finds these
matters suitable for decision without oral argument. Civ.
L.R. 7-1(b). Thus, the hearing scheduled for March 9, 2017,
will be vacated. Because Defendants have successfully
satisfied their burden to demonstrate federal jurisdiction,
and because there is no basis to require proof of
“authority, ” the motions will be denied for the
reasons explained below.
jurisdiction is a creation of statute. See Libhart v.
Santa Monica Dairy Co., 592 F.2d 1062, 1064 (9th
Cir.1979) (“The removal jurisdiction of the federal
courts is derived entirely from the statutory authorization
of Congress.”). In general, only those state court
actions that could have been originally filed in federal
court may be removed. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) (“Except
as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any 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.”); see also Caterpillar,
Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987) (“Only
state-court actions that originally could have been filed in
federal court may be removed to federal court by
defendant.”). Accordingly, the removal statute provides
two basic ways in which a state court action may be removed
to federal court: (1) the case presents a federal question,
or (2) the case is between citizens of different states and
the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1441(a), (b).
motion to remand, it is the removing defendant's burden
to establish federal jurisdiction, and the court must
strictly construe removal statutes against removal
jurisdiction. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566
(9th Cir. 1992) (“The ‘strong presumption'
against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always
has the burden of establishing that removal is
proper.”); Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate
of Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010).
“Where doubt regarding the right to removal exists, a
case should be remanded to state court.” Matheson
v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090
(9th Cir. 2003); see 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c)
(“If at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the
case shall be remanded.”).
presents several arguments in favor of remand, none of which
support the relief sought.
Federal Question Jurisdiction is Irrelevant
Plaintiff argues the action must be returned to state court
because his causes of action are neither created by federal
law nor raise a substantial federal question. Although the
observation is an accurate one insofar as it correctly
describes the nature of the claims asserted in the Complaint,
it is nonetheless irrelevant. Since Defendants' Notice of
Removal does not rely on the existence of a federal question
as the basis for this court's jurisdiction, the rule
requiring the court to scrutinize “the face of a
well-pleaded complaint to determine whether a cause of action
is created by federal law or whether the plaintiff's
right to relief necessarily depends on the resolution of a
substantial question of federal law” is inapplicable.
Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486
U.S. 800, 808 (1988) (citing Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v.
Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 27-28
There is Complete Diversity of the Parties
Plaintiff challenges the existence of diversity jurisdiction
by stating that one defendant, U.S. Bank, is “mainly
doing business in California, and thus a citizen of
California for diversity purposes.” Similarly,
Plaintiff concludes in his reply brief that California became
“a nerve center” for U.S. Bank because it does
“substantial business in California.”
relies on an incorrect legal standard when it comes to U.S.
Bank. Unlike a corporation, which is subject to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c) and considered a citizen of the state under
whose laws it is organized or incorporated and the state of
its principal place of business (Davis v. HSBC Bank Nev.,
N.A., 557 F.3d 1026, 1028 (9th Cir. 2008)), a national
bank is subject to another statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1348.
The Ninth Circuit has interpreted the pertinent language of
§ 1348 - providing that “[a]ll national banking
associations shall, for the purposes of all other actions by
or against them, be deemed citizens of the States in which
they are respectively located” - to mean that “a