United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO STATE COURT
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
state court foreclosure proceedings, defendant Fabiola Is Ra
El Bey (a.k.a. Fabiola Derisme) has filed a notice of removal
seeking to litigate this action in federal court. Because it
is obvious to me that there is no proper basis for federal
jurisdiction and that this action has been filed in order to
improperly delay ongoing state court foreclosure proceedings,
I will remand the action forthwith to Connecticut state
present action is a garden variety mortgage foreclosure that
has been the subject of an extensive and torturous litigation
process.” Bank of Am., N.A. v. Derisme, No.
CV096003691, 2014 WL 4413438, at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct. 2014).
The Bank of America filed a state court foreclosure action
against defendant in 2009. Ibid. In 2014, the
Connecticut Superior Court granted the Bank's motion for
summary judgment on liability, allowing for the litigation of
a single one of defendant's counterclaims. See
Id. at *11. A review of the state court complaint, the
state court docket, and a recent state court ruling (all
attached to defendant's notice of removal) reveals that a
judgment of strict foreclosure was entered in 2018 and that
defendant's pleas for subsequent relief have been denied
in state court. Doc. #1 at 11-46.
unhappy with the outcome of proceedings in state court,
defendant filed a notice of removal to this Court on January
4, 2019. Doc. #1. According to defendant, the Court has
federal jurisdiction because she has been subject to racial
and religious discrimination and because she has been denied
her rights to put on evidence through witness testimony,
precluded from obtaining appellate stays, and subjected to
various forms of intimidating activity by state court judges
who have presided over the action. Doc. #1 at 2-6.
not defendant's first effort to remove this foreclosure
action to federal court. In May 2010, defendant filed a
notice of removal, and this Court remanded the action to
state court on the basis of its conclusion that there was no
basis for federal jurisdiction. See Bank of Am. Nat.
Ass'n v. Derisme, 743 F.Supp.2d 93 (D. Conn. 2010);
see also Derisme v. Hunt Leibert Jacobson P.C., 880
F.Supp.2d 311 (D. Conn. 2012) (dismissing defendant's
claims against law firm that instituted mortgage foreclosure
by law allows for a defendant who has been sued in a state
court to “remove” the case to federal court if a
federal court would otherwise have jurisdiction over the
complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Two of the
most common grounds for a federal court's jurisdiction
are “federal question” jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331 and “federal diversity
jurisdiction” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
of the grounds asserted for federal jurisdiction, a defendant
who seeks to remove a complaint has a limited time to do so.
Ordinarily, a defendant must file a notice of removal to
federal court within 30 days of its receipt of the initial
summons or complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1).
Alternatively, if a defendant cannot ascertain from the face
of a state court complaint whether a federal court would have
jurisdiction over the case, then a defendant may remove the
case at a later time so long as the defendant does so within
30 days of receiving any “amended pleading, motion,
order, or other paper from which it may first be ascertained
that the case is one which is or has become removable.”
28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3); see also Cutrone v. Mortgage
Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 749 F.3d 137, 142 (2d
Cir. 2014) (explaining time limits for removal).
filed the notice of removal in January 2019, more than nine
years after the Bank first filed its foreclosure action in
state court in August 2009. This was far in excess of the 30
days that is ordinarily permitted for a defendant to remove a
state court action to federal court. Nor has defendant
identified any amended pleading, motion, or other paper from
which she was first alerted within 30 days of the filing of
the notice of removal that there was a basis for federal
jurisdiction in this case. Indeed, to the extent that she
claims discrimination or other violations of her federal law
rights throughout the course of foreclosure proceedings,
defendant was on notice of these violations months or years
before she chose to file the notice of removal.
that the notice of removal was not timely, I need not rely on
untimeliness as grounds for remand, because it is evident
that there is no federal jurisdiction to begin with. As for
federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1331, the state court complaint alleges a foreclosure claim
arising solely under state law. Doc. #1 at 9-14. “A
suit arises under the Constitution and laws of the United
States only when the plaintiff's statement of his own
cause of action shows that it is based upon those laws or
that Constitution.” Beneficial Nat. Bank v.
Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 6 (2003) (internal quotations
omitted). Under the well-pleaded complaint rule, the fact
that a defendant may interpose federal law as a defense to a
state law cause of action does not give rise to
federal-question jurisdiction. See, e.g., Caterpillar
Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392-93 (1987).
this was explained to defendant when Judge Kravitz remanded
her prior notice of removal in this action. See
Derisme, 742 F.Supp.3d at 102. Judge Kravitz likewise
explained why there is no alternative basis for the
Court's exercise of diversity jurisdiction. See
Id. at 101- 03. Because defendant's notice of
removal does not even claim diversity jurisdiction, there is
no reason for me to repeat this explanation here. I will
remand the case for lack of federal jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (“If at any time
before final judgment it appears that the district court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
the Court plainly lacks federal jurisdiction over this case
and because it is apparent that the notice of removal has
been filed in an effort to improperly delay state court
proceedings, the Court forthwith REMANDS this action back to
the Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial ...