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J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, NA v. Caires

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 6, 2017

J.P. MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., Defendant, Counterclaim Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD CAIRES, Plaintiff, Counterclaim Defendant.

          ORDER RE: REMAND TO STATE COURT

          Janet C. Hall United States District Judge

          I. INTRODUCTION

         On August 3, 2017, the court ordered plaintiff/counterclaim defendant Richard Caires (“Caires”) to show cause why this action should not be remanded to state court for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. See Order to Show Cause (Doc. No. 8). Caires moved for an extension of time to respond to the Order to Show Cause until August 26, 2017 and then again moved for a continuance to respond, which Magistrate Judge Merriam granted until September 27, 2017. See Motion for Extension of Time (Doc. No. 11); Motion to Continue (Doc. No. 14); Order Granting Motion to Continue (Doc. No. 16). The defendant, counterclaim plaintiff J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPM”) filed its own response to the court's Order to Show Cause, arguing that this case should (again) be remanded to state court. See Statement in Resp. to Order to Show Cause (“JPM Stmt.”) (Doc. No. 10) at 1-2.

         For the reasons set forth below, the court DISMISSES the Complaint sua sponte for lack of jurisdiction and ORDERS that this case be remanded to state court.[1]

          II. BACKGROUND

         The procedural history of this case is extensive and complex. As such, the court will summarize only those aspects of the prior action in this case necessary to address the propriety of removal and/or remand.

         Caires filed a Complaint against JPM in Connecticut Superior Court on December 3, 2009, in which he alleged various causes of action related to a note and mortgage on real property in Greenwich, Connecticut. See Statement in Resp. to Order to Show Cause, Ex. B (“Ex. B”) (Doc. No. 10-2) at 2-3.[2] Shortly thereafter, on December 30, 2009, JPM removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, see id. at 3, and filed a foreclosure counterclaim on October 21, 2010, see Caires v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 3:09-cv-2142 (VLB) (D. Conn.) (“D. Conn. Case #1”), Counterclaim (Doc. No. 27) at 8-12.

         On July 23, 2012, Judge Bryant dismissed all of Caires's claims. See D. Conn. Case #1, Mem. of Decision Granting Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 92) at 1. The court issued an Order to Show Cause directed at JPM, requiring JPM to show cause why the case should not be remanded to state court, given that the only remaining claim in the case was JPM's foreclosure counterclaim. See D. Conn. Case #1, Order to Show Cause (Doc. No. 94). JPM responded that it had no objection to the remand, see generally D. Conn. Case #1, Resp. to Order to Show Cause (Doc. No. 95), and Caires did not object. Accordingly, the case was remanded to state court on September 11, 2012. See D. Conn. Case #1, Order (Doc. No. 96).

         For nearly four years, the parties litigated the case in state court. See generally Ex. B at 5-11. Then, on the day trial was scheduled to commence, see id. at 11 (reflecting, in an entry at state court docket number 294.00, a trial date of April 12, 2016), Caires filed a notice of removal, purporting to remove the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, see generally Caires v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 1:16-cv-2694-GBD-RLE (S.D.N.Y.) (“S.D.N.Y. Case”), Notice of Removal (Doc. No. 1). After the magistrate judge's recommendation that the case be remanded to Connecticut state court, see generally S.D.N.Y. Case, Report & Recommendation (Doc. No. 26), the district court adopted the report and recommendation over Caires's objection, see generally S.D.N.Y. Case, Memorandum Decision & Order (Doc. No. 37). The case was again remanded to state court on January 27, 2017. Id.

         After further motion practice on remand, the Superior Court set a trial date of August 3, 2017. See Ex. B at 13. However, on August 2, 2017, Caires again removed the case, this time to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. See id.; Notice of Removal (“NOR”) (Doc. No. 1) at 1. One day earlier, Caires had filed a separate action in this District, seeking a declaratory judgment regarding the real property on which JPM seeks to foreclose. See generally Caires v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 3:17-cv-1288 (JAM), Pl.'s Complaint (Doc. No. 1).

         JPM represents that the trial in state court has now commenced. See JPM Stmt. at 2 n.1.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         The court addresses the legal standards governing each basis on which remand to state court is appropriate in more depth below. It bears noting, however, that the court remains mindful of its obligation to construe pro se filings liberally to raise the strongest arguments they might suggest. See McLeod v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, __F.3d __, 2017 WL 3044626, No. 15-2898-cv, at *2 (2d Cir. July 19, 2017).

         IV. ...


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