Bridge 1 LLC v. Sunstate Acquisitions LLC et al

Filing 10

ORDER: Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc. 7 ) is granted and this case is remanded back to Maricopa County Superior Court. The Clerk shall terminate this case. Signed by Judge Susan M Brnovich on 11/17/2022. (Attachments: # 1 Remand letter)(CLM)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Bridge 1 LLC, No. CV-22-01839-PHX-SMB Plaintiff, 10 11 v. 12 Sunstate Acquisitions LLC, et al., 13 ORDER Defendants. 14 15 Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand. (Doc. 7.) Defendant 16 Sunstate Acquisitions LLC (“Defendant”) filed its Notice of Removal (Doc. 1) in 17 October 2022. 18 authorities, addressing whether the Court should remand this case to Maricopa County 19 Superior Court. (See Doc. 5.) Both parties submitted the requested memoranda. (See 20 Docs. 6; 7.) The Court will grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand for the reasons discussed 21 below. 22 I. The Court ordered the parties to submit memoranda of points and BACKGROUND 23 Nina Luna owned real property in Avondale, Arizona that was under judicial 24 foreclosure. (Doc. 1-3 at 6.) Plaintiff alleges it bought Luna’s property on March 10, 25 2022, “subject to existing recorded liens.” (Id.) Plaintiff recorded a quit claim deed to 26 reflect its purchase that same day. (See id. at 12–13.) Defendant is the beneficiary of a 27 deed of trust over Luna’s property, which Luna signed on March 2, 2022—before 28 Plaintiff allegedly bought the property—but Defendant did not record its deed of trust 1 until June 3, 2022. (Id. at 6.) On July 11, 2022, Defendant initiated a trustee’s sale of the 2 property, prompting Plaintiff to file a quiet title action in Maricopa County Superior 3 Court. (Id. at 6–7.) On October 11, 2022, Luna filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and 4 claimed ownership of the Avondale property in her bankruptcy case. (Doc. 6 at 1–2.) 5 Defendant sought removal to this Court under federal question jurisdiction, arguing 6 Plaintiff’s quiet title action is a core proceeding to Luna’s bankruptcy. (See Docs. 1 at 1; 7 6 at 1.) 8 II. LEGAL STANDARD 9 Removal of claims with some relation to a bankruptcy case is permissible if the 10 district court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(a). 28 U.S.C. § 1452(a). More 11 specifically, district courts have jurisdiction over cases “arising in or related to” 12 bankruptcy cases. See 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b), (c). The “related to” test requires courts to 13 consider “whether the outcome of the proceeding could conceivably have any effect on 14 the estate being administered in bankruptcy.” In re Fietz, 852 F.2d 455, 457 (9th Cir. 15 1988) (cleaned up). Despite seemingly broad jurisdiction over cases “related to” active 16 bankruptcy cases, § 1452 also permits district courts to “remand such claim or cause of 17 action on any equitable ground.” 28 U.S.C. § 1452(b). This “standard is an unusually 18 broad grant of authority [that] subsumes and reaches beyond all of the reasons for remand 19 under nonbankruptcy removal statutes.” In re McCarthy, 230 B.R. 414, 417 (B.A.P. 9th 20 Cir. 1999). The factors courts should consider include: 21 (1) the effect of the action on the administration of the bankruptcy estate; 22 (2) the extent to which the issues of state law predominate; (3) the difficulty 23 of applicable state law; (4) comity; (5) the relatedness or remoteness of the 24 action to the bankruptcy case; (6) the existence of a right to jury trial; and 25 (7) prejudice to the party involuntarily removed from state court. 26 In re Baptist Found. of Ariz., No. CIV 00-557-PHX-ROS, 2000 WL 35575676, at *7 (D. 27 Ariz. June 30, 2000) (quoting Williams v. Shell Oil Co., 169 B.R. 684 692–93 (S.D. Cal. 28 1994)). -2- 1 III. DISCUSSION 2 Equity favors remand. The Court finds that factors one, two, and five all favor 3 remand, and factors three, four, six, and seven are neutral. Resolution of Plaintiff’s quiet 4 title action could affect Defendant’s status as one of Luna’s secured creditors. But Luna 5 is not a party to this action, and any effect on her bankruptcy’s administration will be 6 minimal. The Court finds that factor two particularly favors remand because Plaintiff’s 7 state law quiet title claim is the only claim alleged in the Complaint. Most persuasively, 8 Plaintiff’s claim bears little relation to Luna’s bankruptcy. 9 Defendant as a secured creditor in her filing, the determination of the Avondale 10 property’s owner will not significantly impact her Chapter 13 plan. Factor three is 11 neutral because both the bankruptcy court and the state court are capable of interpreting 12 and applying the relevant law. Factor four is neutral because this case is in its early 13 stages and nothing in the party’s briefing indicates the state court made considerable 14 progress before Defendant’s removal. Factor six is neutral because none of the pleadings 15 or briefing indicates whether either party prefers a jury trial. And factor seven is neutral 16 because the parties, counsel, and evidence are in Arizona, and thus any prejudice to 17 Plaintiff would be minimal—although it would rob Plaintiff of its chosen forum. In the 18 presence of factors in favor of remand, and in the absence of factors to the contrary, 19 Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand will be granted on equitable grounds. 20 IV. While Luna included CONCLUSION 21 Accordingly, 22 IT IS ORDERED granting Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand and therefore remanding 23 this case back to Maricopa County Superior Court. (Doc. 7.) 24 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED directing the Clerk of Court to terminate this case. 25 Dated this 17th day of November, 2022. 26 27 28 -3-

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