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Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v. Porzio

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 8, 2019

DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL PORZIO, et al., Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR REMAND

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On August 29, 2018, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (“Plaintiff” or “Deutsche Bank”) moved the Court to remand this case to Connecticut Superior Court. First Mot. to Remand, ECF No. 7.

         For the reasons that follow, Deutsche Bank's motion to remand is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 20, 2011, Deutsche Bank instituted a foreclosure action against Michael Porzio and potential secured creditor Wells Fargo in Connecticut state court. Conn. Super. Ct. Compl., ECF No. 1, at 8-13; see also Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas v. Porzio, No. FST-CV11-6011134-S (Conn. Super. Ct.).

         On April 29, 2014, Deutsche Bank prevailed in state court. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, No. FST-CV11-6011134-S, Dkt. 154, at 8 (“The Court having found the plaintiff has standing, the court finds that the plaintiff has proven the elements of foreclosure. The court having rejected each of the twelve enumerated Special Defenses, and the other outlined defenses, finds the issues in this foreclosure lawsuit for the plaintiff.”). Following the 2014 foreclosure decision, years of litigation ensued.

         From 2014 to 2018, Mr. Porzio twice moved to vacate the judgment, id., Dkt. 205, 243, moved to have the judgment dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, id., Dkt. 196, and twice appealed the decision to the Connecticut Appellate Court, Id., Dkt. 162, 199.

         On June 26, 2018, the Connecticut Appellate Court removed the stay that had prevented the foreclosure of Mr. Porzio's property. Id., Dkt. 259. Mr. Porzio's property was then appraised, as it had been several times before. See Id., Dkt. 138, 180, 189, 228, 265. A few days after the appraisal was submitted to the Connecticut Superior Court, id., Dkt. 265, Mr. Porzio removed the case to this Court. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1.

         II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         Removal is permitted of civil actions “of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “Only state-court actions that originally could have been filed in federal court may be removed to federal court by the defendant.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987).

         “[F]ederal courts construe the removal statute narrowly, resolving any doubts against removability.” Purdue Pharma L.P. v. Kentucky, 704 F.3d 208, 213 (2d Cir. 2013). The party opposing a motion to remand bears the burden of showing that the requirements for removal are satisfied. See United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 919, AFLCIO v. CenterMark Props. Meriden Square, Inc., 30 F.3d 298, 301 (2d Cir. 1994) (“[T]he party asserting jurisdiction bears the burden of proving that the case is properly in federal court”); see also Cal. Pub. Emps. Ret. Sys. v. WorldCom, Inc., 368 F.3d 86, 100 (2d Cir. 2004) (“‘[T]he defendant bears the burden of demonstrating the propriety of removal'”) (quoting Grimo v. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont, 34 F.3d 148, 151 (2d Cir. 1994)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         This case must be remanded to Connecticut Superior Court for several reasons.

         First, removal is improper because Mr. Porzio cannot assert diversity jurisdiction. Under 28 U.S.C. §1441(b)(2), removal is improper “if any of the parties in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought.” 28 U.S.C. §1441(b)(2); see also, Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 84 (2005) (“Defendants may remove an action on the basis of diversity of citizenship if there is complete diversity between all named plaintiffs and all named defendants, and no defendant is a citizen of the forum State.”). Defendant is a citizen of the state in which the action was brought-Connecticut. See ...


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