United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division
HOLLY M . ALDRIDGE, Plaintiff,
U.S. BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, ET AL., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
J. CARNEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
December 8, 2018, Plaintiff Holly Aldridge filed a Complaint
in the Orange County Superior Court against Defendants U.S.
Bank, Quality Loan Service Corporation (“QLSC”),
Mortgage Electronic Systems, Inc. (“MES”),
“all person [sic] known, unknown, claiming any legal or
equitable right, title, lien or interest in the property,
” and Does 1 through 25. (Dkt. 1-2 [Complaint,
hereinafter “Compl.”].) Plaintiff asserts causes
of action for wrongful foreclosure, cancellation of
instrument, quiet title, violations of the California Unfair
Competition Law, and breach of fiduciary duty, arising out of
a dispute concerning the Deed of Trust and Note related to
the real property located at 8621 Truxton Drive, Huntington
Beach, California 92656 (“the Property”).
(Id.) On March 26, 2018, Defendants removed the
action to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.
(Dkt. 1 [Notice of Removal, hereinafter “NOR”].)
On April 18, 2018, the Plaintiff filed the instant motion to
remand the case, arguing the Court lacks federal question
jurisdiction over the action. (Dkt. 7 [hereinafter
“Mot.”].) For the following reasons, the motion
civil action may be removed to federal district court so long
as original jurisdiction would lie in the court to which the
case is removed. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A district court
has original “diversity” subject matter
jurisdiction over all “civil actions where the matter
in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interests and cost, ” and the action is
“between citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a)(1). The district court has jurisdiction only
if there is “complete diversity” between the
parties, meaning that each plaintiff is a citizen of a
different state than each defendant. See id.;
Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996).
In measuring the amount in controversy, the Court assumes the
allegations in the complaint are true and the jury will
return a verdict in favor of the plaintiff on all claims
therein. See Kenneth Rothschild Trust v. Morgan Stanley
Dean Witter, 199 F.Supp.2d 993, 1001 (C.D. Cal. 2002).
If it appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction at any time prior to the entry of final
judgment, the Court must remand the action to state court. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c). In addition, for “any defect
other than the lack of subject matter jurisdiction, ” a
plaintiff may file a motion to remand the case to state court
within 30 days after the filing of the notice of removal. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also Kelton Arms Condo Owners
Ass'n, Inc. v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190,
1193 (9th Cir. 2003).
argues that the Court lacks jurisdiction over this action
because her Complaint does not present a federal
question. (Mot. at 6-8.) Plaintiff does not contest
that the Court has diversity jurisdiction in her motion, and
did not file a reply. (See generally docket
entries.) Defendants argue that the Court has diversity
jurisdiction over this action. The Court agrees.
is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties in
this action. Plaintiff is a citizen of California, as she
states that the Property is her “principal
residence.” (Compl. ¶¶ 11, 13-14.)
“[N]umerous courts treat a person's residence as
prima facie evidence of the person's
domicile.” Mondragon v. Capital One Auto Fin.,
736 F.3d 880, 886 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing Anderson v.
Watts, 138 U.S. 694, 706 (1891)). None of the named
Defendants are citizens of California. Defendant U.S. Bank is
headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, (NOR at 4), and is treated
as a citizen of Ohio for diversity purposes. See Wachovia
Bank v. Schmidt, 546 U.S. 303, 308 (2006) (holding
“that a national bank, for § 1348 purposes, is a
citizen of the State in which its main office, as set forth
in its articles of association, is located”). Defendant
MES is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of
the state of Delaware, with its principal place of business
in Reston, Virginia, (NOR at 4), and is a citizen of Delaware
and Virginia for diversity purposes, 28 U.S.C. §
1332(c)(1). Defendant QLSC is allegedly a California
corporation, but Plaintiff filed a notice of dismissal as to
QLSC on February 22, 2018. (Mot. at 4; Dkt. 1-3 [ROA Dkt.
18].) No. Doe defendants have been named or served. Because
no Defendant presently in this action is a citizen of
California, there is complete diversity of citizenship.
amount in controversy requirement is also satisfied. As
relevant to this motion, Plaintiff seeks, inter
alia, sole and exclusive title to the Property,
cancellation of the Deed of Trust and the Trustee's Deed
of Sale encumbering the property, as well as general and
special damages totaling $2, 000, 000. (Compl. Prayer for
Relief 31-34, 37.) Plaintiff attached a Deed of Trust to the
Complaint which indicates that the Property secured a loan in
the amount of $650, 000. (Id. Ex. A.) The Notice of
Default and Notice of Trustee's Sale indicate that the
arrears on the Property were more than $200, 000 in 2014, and
the unpaid balance was over $900, 000 in 2016. (Id.
Exs. J, K.)
request for damages alone exceeds the jurisdictional amount.
Additionally, the value of cancelling either the Deed of
Trust or Trustee's Deed of Sale also exceeds the
jurisdictional amount. See Hunt v. Washington State Apple
Advert. Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 347 (1977) (“In
actions seeking declaratory or injunctive relief, it is well
established that the amount in controversy is measured by the
value of the object of the litigation.”). “In an
action to enjoin a foreclosure or quiet title, the object of
the litigation is the real estate itself.” Champan
v. Deustche Bank Nat'l Trust Co., 651 F.3d 1039,
1045 n.2 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Here, the
Property is the object of the litigation, and thus the amount
in controversy clearly exceeds $75, 000. See Rodriguez v.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-cv-05172 RMW, 2011 WL
6304152, *3 (N.D. Cal. Dec.16, 2011) (finding that balance of
loan secured by property showed the amount in controversy
exceeded $75, 000 where complaint sought to enjoin
also argues that removal was not timely, because Defendants
removed this action over three months after she filed her
Complaint. (Mot. at 4-6.) However, Section 1146(b)(3)
if the case stated by the initial pleading is not removable,
a notice of removal may be filed within 30 days after receipt
by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of
an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which
it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or
has become removable.
28 U.S.C. § 146(b)(3). This action was not removable
under diversity jurisdiction while QLSC was a party, and the
Complaint does not present a federal question. Thus, when
Plaintiff dismissed QLSC on February 22, 2018, the action
became removable. However, Defendants were not served or
notified regarding the dismissal of QLSC, (NOR at 7; Mot. at
4), and only discovered this dismissal on February 27, 2018,
while checking the state court website, (NOR at 7).
Defendants timely filed a Notice of Removal on March 26,
2018, less than thirty days after both February 22 and 27,