United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. Navarro, Chief Judge
before the Court is the Second Motion to Remand, (EFC No.
22), filed by Counter Claimant Collegium Fund, LLC Series #24
(“Collegium Fund”). Defendants Federal National
Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Bank of
America, N.A., (collectively “Defendants”) filed
a Response, (ECF No. 23), and Plaintiff filed a Reply, (ECF
No. 24). For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's
Motion to Remand is GRANTED.
case comes before the Court through the Petition for Removal,
(ECF No. 1), filed by Fannie Mae. Plaintiff Alessi &
Koenig, LLC, first filed this action in state court on March
28, 2014, seeking to quiet title to the real property located
at 5755 Ancient Agora Street, North Las Vegas, NV 89031. (Ex.
A to Pet. for Removal (“Compl.”), ECF No. 1-2).
Fannie Mae removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331, citing to the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals' decision in Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage
Corp., 769 F.3d 681, 683 (9th Cir. 2014). (Pet. for
Removal ¶ 11).
January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth
Circuit, holding that Fannie Mae's authority to
“sue and to be sued, and to complain and to defend in
any court of competent jurisdiction, State or Federal,
” does not confer federal jurisdiction over all cases
involving Fannie Mae. Lightfoot, 137 S.Ct. at 558.
Rather, the Court found that Fannie Mae's charter
“permits suit in any [state or] federal court
already endowed with subject-matter jurisdiction
over the suit.” Id. at 561 (emphasis added).
Thus, where removal is based solely on the “sue or be
sued” clause in its charter, Fannie Mae fails to
establish that a federal district court has jurisdiction over
the suit. Id. at 564-65. In the instant Motion,
Collegium Fund seeks to remand this case back to state court
based on Lightfoot. (See generally Mot. to
Remand, ECF No. 22).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only
those powers granted by the Constitution and by statute.
See United States v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th
Cir. 2008). “If at any time before final judgment it
appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c). Removal statutes are strictly construed
against removal jurisdiction. Gaus v. Miles, Inc.,
980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). “Federal
jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the
right of removal in the first instance.” Id.
(citing Libhart v. Santa Monica Dairy Co., 592 F.2d
1062, 1064 (9th Cir. 1979)). In evaluating diversity
jurisdiction, the defendant has the burden of overcoming the
“strong presumption” against removal.
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566.
28 U.S.C. § 1332, a federal district court has original
jurisdiction over all civil actions between citizens of
different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Section 1332
requires complete diversity among the parties; each of the
plaintiffs must be a citizen of a different state than each
of the defendants. Morris v. Princess Cruises, Inc.,
236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir. 2001).
28 U.S.C. § 1331, a federal district court has original
jurisdiction over all civil actions arising under the laws of
the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
“The presence or absence of federal-question
jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint
rule, ' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists
only when a federal question is presented on the face of the
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.”
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). “[A] case may not be removed to federal court
on the basis of a federal defense.” Id. at
argue that even after Lightfoot, the Court retains
jurisdiction because it had independently valid
justifications for jurisdiction at the time of removal.
(Resp. 4:19-24, ECF No. 23). Specifically, Defendants assert
that federal question jurisdiction exists under the coercive
action doctrine and 12 U.S.C. § 4617(j)(3) (the
“Federal Foreclosure Bar”).
federal question jurisdiction turns on the face of the
plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint. See Franchise Tax
Bd. of State of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for
S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 9-10 (1983). A narrow exception to
this rule exists, however, in the context of certain
“coercive” actions for declaratory judgment.
Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC,
134 S.Ct. 843, 848 (2014). In such instances, courts look to
both the plaintiff's complaint and the “character
of the threatened action” in considering federal
question jurisdiction. Id. “That is to say,
they ask whether ‘a coercive action' brought by
‘the declaratory judgment defendant . . . would
necessarily present a federal question.'”
Id. (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. of State of
Cal., 463 U.S. at 19).
common application of this doctrine occurs in suits between
patent holders and alleged patent infringers. See,
e.g., Medtronic Inc., 134 S.Ct. at 843. In such
suits, an alleged infringer may file an action seeking a
declaratory judgment that he is not violating any patents, or
that the patents at issue are invalid. Because this
declaratory judgment is meant to defend against an eventual
claim against the plaintiff for patent infringement, federal
courts have consistently recognized jurisdiction on the
theory that an infringement suit by the defendant would
clearly raise a federal question. See Franchise Tax Bd.
of State of Cal., 463 U.S. at 27 n.19.
case, Fannie Mae argues that it-like the defendant in
Medtronic-is a defendant in a declaratory judgment
suit who had a viable and related federal claim against
Plaintiff. (Resp. 6:19-25). Specifically, Fannie Mae argues
that it “could have asserted a declaratory judgment
claim against Collegium, seeking recognition that the HOA
Sale did not extinguish the Deed of Trust.”
(Id. 6:12-13). According ...