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LLC v. Scott

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 21, 2017

SFR INVESTMENTS POOL 1, LLC, Plaintiff(s),
v.
SHANE K. SCOTT, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION PENSION PLAN, et al., Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is plaintiff/counterdefendant SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC's (“SFR”) motion to remand to state court. (ECF No. 13). Intervenor defendant Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and defendant/counterclaimant/crossclaimant Residential Credit Solutions, Inc. (“RCS” and collectively, with Fannie May, as “defendants”) filed a response (ECF No. 17), to which SFR replied (ECF No. 19).

         I. Facts

         SFR filed its original complaint in state court on November 27, 2013. (ECF No. 1-2). The complaint alleges two claims for relief against defendants Shane K. Scott, a professional corporation pension plan (“SKS”), RCS, and James Harding (“Harding”): (1) declaratory relief/quiet title; and (2) preliminary and permanent injunction. (ECF No. 1-2).

         On July 21, 2016, RCS filed, in state court, an answer, counterclaim, and crossclaim against SFR and SKS, alleging four claims for relief: (1) quiet title/declaratory relief; (2) preliminary and permanent injunction; (3) unjust enrichment; and (4) declaratory relief. (ECF No. 1-2 at 35-61).

         On November 23, 2016, the state court granted Fannie Mae's motion to intervene. (ECF No. 1-2 at 139-41). On December 15, 2016, Fannie Mae filed, in state court, an answer, counterclaim, and crossclaim against SFR and SKS alleging four claims for relief: (1) quiet title/declaratory relief; (2) preliminary and permanent injunction; (3) unjust enrichment; and (4) declaratory relief. (ECF No. 1-2 at 142-68).

         Thereafter, on December 22, 2016, Fannie Mae removed the state action to federal court based on federal question jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1).

         In the instant motion, SFR moves to remand the action to state court. (ECF No. 13).

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), “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 or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).

         Procedurally, a defendant has thirty (30) days upon notice of removability to remove a case to federal court. Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1250 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)). Defendants are not charged with notice of removability “until they've received a paper that gives them enough information to remove.” Id. at 1251.

         Specifically, “the ‘thirty day time period [for removal] . . . starts to run from defendant's receipt of the initial pleading only when that pleading affirmatively reveals on its face' the facts necessary for federal court jurisdiction.” Id. at 1250 (quoting Harris v. Bankers Life & Casualty Co., 425 F.3d 689, 690-91 (9th Cir. 2005) (alterations in original)). “Otherwise, the thirty-day clock doesn't begin ticking until a defendant receives ‘a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper' from which it can determine that the case is removable. Id. (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3)).

         A plaintiff may challenge removal by timely filing a motion to remand. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Remand to state court is proper if the district court lacks jurisdiction. Id. “A federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears.” Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989). Thus, federal subject matter jurisdiction must exist at the time an action is commenced. Mallard Auto. Grp., Ltd. v. United States, 343 F.Supp.2d 949, 952 (D. Nev. 2004) (citing Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. Cal. State Bd. of Equalization, 858 F.2d 1376, 1380 (9th Cir.1988)).

         On a motion to remand, the removing defendant faces a strong presumption against removal, and bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper. Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 403-04 (9th Cir. 1996); Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566-67 (9th Cir. 1992).

         III. ...


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