Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bakken Resources, Inc. v. Holms

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 18, 2017

BAKKEN RESOURCES, INC., a Nevada corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLAN G. HOLMS, an individual, MANUEL GRAIWER, an individual, DOES 1-10 and ROE ENTITIEES I-X, Defendants.

          ORDER (PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND - ECF NO. 34)

          MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case comes before this Court through Defendant Allan Holms' (“Allan”) Notice of Removal.[1] (ECF No. 1.) Defendant Manuel Graiwer filed a Joinder and Consent to the Notice of Removal. (ECF No. 24.) Plaintiff Bakken Resources, Inc. (“Bakken”) filed this action in the Second Judicial District Court in Washoe County, Nevada, alleging a variety of fraudulent misconduct by Defendants. (ECF No. 1-2.) Bakken now seeks to remand and to obtain an award of costs and fees, contending that Allan lacked an objectively reasonable basis for removal. For the reasons discussed below, Bakken's Motion is granted in part and denied in part. Bakken's request for remand is granted and its request for fees and costs is denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Bakken originally filed suit in the Second Judicial District Court, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against Allan, damages from Graiwer, [2] and attorney fees and costs from both defendants. (ECF No. 1-2.) The Court need not recount the long and winding history between the parties for the purposes of this Order, suffice to say that, generally, Bakken alleges Allan is attempting a hostile takeover of the company through fraud. More specifically, Bakken alleges that Allan is attempting to obtain his deceased brother Val's shares of the company through, among other inconsistencies, producing documents containing forged signatures. (Id. at 8-15.) Additionally, Bakken alleges that Allan filed a form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) containing false information - namely representing himself as president and a director of the company. (Id. ¶¶ 61-63.) Bakken seeks to enjoin Allan from transferring a number of shares to himself and from filing any additional documents with the SEC indicating that he is “an officer, director, or ten percent (10%) shareholder” of the company. (Id. at 23-24.)

         In his Notice of Removal, Allan identifies diversity between the parties as the basis for removal and claims that the amount in controversy requirement is met because the combination of monetary damages, attorney fees, and the cost of complying with Bakken's requested injunction would exceed $75, 000. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) In support of his assertion, Allan cites In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank (S. Dakota), N.A., 264 F.3d 952, 958 (9th Cir. 2001), where the Ninth Circuit reiterated and applied the rule that the cost of complying with injunctive relief can satisfy the amount in controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction. (Id.)

         Bakken moves to remand based on its contention that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (ECF No. 34.) The central dispute between the parties, and the question for the Court, is whether Bakken's request for injunctive relief will “cost” Allan the alleged $3, 148, 200 value of the stock at issue, or whether, since Allan does not currently have any ownership interest in the stock, complying with an injunction will only cost him some negligible amount. Because Bakken only seeks injunctive and declaratory relief against Allan, the question of subject matter jurisdiction turns on whether the Court considers the alleged value of the stock as part of the amount in controversy.

         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; 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). However, 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) (emphasis added). The party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006).

         To establish subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to diversity of citizenship under § 1332(a), the party asserting jurisdiction must show: (1) complete diversity of citizenship among opposing parties and (2) an amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Where it is not facially evident from the complaint that $75, 000 was in controversy at the time of removal, a defendant seeking removal must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy requirement is met. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2004).

         Under a preponderance of the evidence standard, a removing defendant must “provide evidence establishing that it is ‘more likely than not' that the amount in controversy exceeds” the jurisdictional minimum. Id. at 1117 (citations omitted). As to the kind of evidence that may be considered, the Ninth Circuit has adopted the “practice of considering facts presented in the removal petition as well as any ‘summary-judgment- type evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of removal.'” Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Singer v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th Cir. 1997)). Conclusory allegations are insufficient. Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090 (citation omitted).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Remand

         Bakken argues that it is only seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against Allan, and is not asserting any ownership interest in the stock, therefore the value of the stock is not relevant to the amount in controversy analysis. (ECF No. 44 at 6-7.) In particular, Bakken seeks to enjoin Allan from transferring shares of stock or filing “additional documents with the SEC that purport, indicate or in any way claim that Allan is either an officer, director, or ten percent (10%) shareholder of [Bakken].” (ECF No. 1-2 ¶ 86.) Bakken characterizes the object of the litigation as a request for “Plaintiff to conduct its business affairs as a publicly traded corporation free from the interference and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.