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Wells Fargo Bank, National Association v. White

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 31, 2018

WELLS FARGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION Plaintiff,
v.
CRYSTAL WHITE AND LANSDOWNE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO REMAND

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Originally filed in Connecticut Superior Court by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo” or “Plaintiff”), against Crystal White (“Ms. White” or “Defendant”) and Landsdowne Condominium Association, Inc. (“Landsdowne” or “Defendant”), Ms. White removed this case to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, and claimed that this Court has both federal-question and diversity jurisdiction over the case. Notice of Removal at 2, ECF No. 1.

         Wells Fargo now moves to remand the case back to Connecticut Superior Court, arguing that this Court lacks jurisdiction over the case. Mot. for Remand, ECF No. 10.

         For the reasons that follow, Wells Fargo's motion to remand is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         Ms. White owns property located at 229 Landsdowne in Westport, Connecticut. Notice of Removal Ex. A, Underlying Complaint (“Underlying Compl.”) ¶ 2, ECF No. 1. On September 13, 2005, she executed a note for a loan of $400, 000 from World Savings Bank, FSB, in exchange for a mortgage on the property. Id. ¶¶ 3-4. The mortgage was recorded on September 23, 2005. Id. ¶ 4.

         On December 31, 2007, World Savings Bank, FSB, became Wachovia Mortgage, F.S.B. Id. On November 1, 2009, Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia Mortgage, F.S.B., was acquired by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Id. Wells Fargo now claims that it holds the Note and Mortgage. Id.

         On June 23, 2013, Wells Fargo sued Ms. White in Connecticut Superior Court, seeking to accelerate the balance due on the Note, declaring it due in full, and to foreclose on the Mortgage securing the Note. Id. ¶ 5. The state court case proceeded through motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions, and trial was scheduled for May 25, 2017. Mot. for Remand at 2, ECF No. 10.

         B. Procedural History

         On May 23, 2017, Ms. White, at this point proceeding pro se, removed the matter to federal court, and on May 24, 2017, her Notice of Removal was docketed. Id.; Notice of Removal at 12. Ms. White removed this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, claiming both diversity and federal question jurisdiction. Notice of Removal at 10-11. She claims her removal is timely under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(3)(B). Id. at 3.

         On June 6, 2017, Wells Fargo moved to remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447, arguing that removal is improper because the parties are not diverse, the pleading does not involve a federal question, and the pleading violates the “unanimity rule” with respect to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). Mot. to Remand.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A district court will remand a case, “[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). “[T]he party asserting jurisdiction bear the burden of proving that the case is properly in federal court[.]” United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 919, AFL-CIO v. CenterMark Properties Meriden Square, Inc., 30 F.3d 298, 301 (2d Cir. 1994). The party asserting jurisdiction “must support its asserted jurisdictional facts with ‘competent proof' and ‘justify its allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.'” Southern Air, Inc. v. Chartis Aerospace Adjustment Servs., Inc., 2012 WL 162369, at *1 (D. Conn. 2012) (quoting United Food & Commercial Workers Union, 30 F.3d at 305)). “In light of the congressional intent to restrict federal court jurisdiction, as well as the ...


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