United States District Court, N.D. California
ROY M. BARTLETT, Plaintiff,
CITIBANK N.A., et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO REMAND
Docket No. 9
M. CHEN United States District Judge
Roy M. Bartlett has filed suit against Defendants Citibank,
N.A. and Citimortgage, Inc. (collectively,
“Citi”); Northwest Trustee Services, Inc.
(“NTS”); and Marcia Patera. The suit is a
foreclosure-related action. All Defendants have made an
appearance except for NTS. The case is somewhat unusual in
that it was removed by Ms. Patera (proceeding pro se), but
now it is another defendant, Citi, who is moving for a
remand, i.e., instead of the plaintiff Mr. Bartlett.
considered the parties' briefs and accompanying
submissions,  as well as all other evidence of record,
Court hereby finds the matter suitable for disposition
without oral argument. The hearing on the remand motion is
VACATED, and Citi's motion is
FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
on the evidence of record, it appears as follows.
December 2013, Mr. Bartlett initiated the instant action in
state court (Contra Costa Superior Court, No. C 13-02611).
See Docket No. 1 (Ex. A) (complaint). He asserted
various state law claims against Citi and NTS only (not Ms.
Patera). In his complaint, he alleged that he and Ms. Patera
were joint owners of certain real property in Alamo, and that
the two took out three different mortgage loans from Citi.
See Docket No. 1 (Ex. A) (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 14,
18, 19). According to Mr. Bartlett, Citi wrongfully sought to
foreclose on the real property.
it appears that Mr. Bartlett amended the complaint several
times. The second amended complaint (“SAC”) was
filed in August 2016. See Docket No. 1 (Ex. B)
(SAC). In this pleading, Mr. Bartlett continued to assert
state claims only. However, Mr. Bartlett now added Ms. Patera
as a defendant to the lawsuit. Mr. Bartlett stated as follows
with respect to Ms. Patera's being named in the suit:
Patera is being added as a party defendant pursuant to court
order and court determination that she is a necessary and/or
indispensable party. Patera jointly held title to the
Property with Bartlett and was a co-borrower for the three
subject loans. Bartlett is informed and believes that
Patera's interests in the claims being asserted by
Bartlett are similar to those of Bartlett. Bartlett invited
Patera to voluntarily joint this action as a plaintiff with
Bartlett, but Patera declined to do so. Instead, Patera has
attempted to pursue separate litigation against Citibank and
CitiMortgage. Citibank and CitiMortgage asserted that Patera
is an indispensable party to this case and asked the Court to
order that Bartlett add Patera as a party. Bartlett
understands that California law requires Patera to be named
as a nominal defendant rather than an involuntary plaintiff.
Docket No. 1 (Ex. B) (SAC ¶ 4).
lawsuit filed by Ms. Patera, to which Mr. Bartlett referred
in the above paragraph, appears to be either No. C-14-4533
JSC or No. C-16-2937 VC. In the first case (initiated in
October 2014), Judge Corley granted Citi's motion to
dismiss based on failure to state a claim and for failure to
join a necessary and indispensable party (Mr. Bartlett) but
gave Ms. Patera leave to amend. Ms. Patera filed an amended
complaint, but Citi again moved to dismiss. Judge Corley
granted the motion to dismiss without prejudice for failure
to join a necessary and indispensable party. Judge Corley
added that she would not give leave to amend this time
because “at oral argument [Ms. Patera] did not
represent that [Mr.] Bartlett would join this lawsuit;
instead, it appears that [Ms. Patera] and [Mr.] Bartlett are
in a dispute. It is a dispute they will have to resolve if
they wish to pursue claims against Defendants arising from
their jointly-obtained loan and jointly-owned house.”
Patera v. Citibank, N.A., No. C-14-4533 JSC (N.D.
Cal.) (Docket No. 59) (Order at 4). The case thus terminated
in May 2015.
2016, Ms. Patera filed the second lawsuit against Citi (No.
C-16-2937 VC). This case was initially assigned to Judge Kim
but then Judge Corley related the case to her earlier case
(No. C-14-4533). Subsequently, Ms. Patera declined to consent
to a magistrate judge, and Judge Corley issued a report and
recommendation in which she recommended that Citi's
motion to dismiss the new lawsuit be granted, and without
leave to amend. Judge Chhabria was then assigned to the case.
He adopted Judge Corley's R&R and entered a judgment
against Ms. Patera in September 2016. Ms. Patera has appealed
that judgment to the Ninth Circuit. That appeal (No.
16-16583) is still pending.
February 2017, Ms. Patera removed the instant case from
Contra Costa Superior Court to this Court. See
Docket No. 1 (notice of removal). Citi subsequently filed the
currently pending motion to remand.
Request for a Stay
the Court addresses Citi's motion to remand, it addresses
what appears to be a request for stay filed by Ms. Patera.
See generally Docket Nos. 6-8 (memorandum and
declarations). More specifically, Ms. Patera seems to be
asking this Court to stay proceedings pending a ruling by the
Ninth Circuit in her appeal (No. 16-16583) of Judge
Chhabria's case. See Docket No. 6 (Patera Decl.
¶ 14) (“I have and am requesting stay in this case
pending review and remand from the Ninth Circuit . . .
asking this Court to stay proceedings pending an appeal in a
different case, Ms. Patera is seeking what is commonly
referred to as a Landis stay. See ASIS Internet
Servs. v. Member Source Media, LLC, No. C-08-1321 EMC,
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109241, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sep. 8, 2008)
(stating that, where there is a request to stay proceedings
pending an appeal in a different case, a party is making a
request for a Landis stay). “A district court
has discretionary power to stay proceedings in its own court
under Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248,
254 (1936).” Lockyer v. State of Cal., 398
F.3d 1098, 1109 (9th Cir. 2005).
assessing the propriety of a stay under Landis, a
court must balance the length of the delay against the
justifications for the stay. See Yong v. INS, 208
F.3d 1116, 1119 (9th Cir. 2000). More particularly, the court
the competing interests which will be affected by the
granting or refusal to grant a stay . . . . Among those
competing interests are the possible damage which may result
from the granting of a stay, the hardship or inequity which a
party may suffer in being required to go forward, and the
orderly course of justice measured in terms of the
simplifying or complicating of issues, proof, and questions
of law which could be expected to result from a stay.
Lockyer, 398 F.3d at 1110 (internal quotation marks
Ms. Patera has failed to brief any of the above factors, the
Court would well be within its authority to deny her request
for a stay. Moreover, based on its own independent analysis,
the Court sees no reason for a stay. The pending motion to
remand does not address the merits of this case in any way;
it simply resolves which forum the case should be in. There
is no need to put that ...