Graham Wilson et al v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
MINUTE Order: (1) GRANTING Plaintiffs Motion to Remand and REMANDING the matter to Riverside Superior Court (Dkt. No. 11 ); (2) DENYING Plaintiffs Request for Attorneys Fees (id.); and (3) VACATING the September 11, 2017 Hearing (IN CHAMBERS) by Judge Jesus G. Bernal. After considering all papers timely filed in support of, and in opposition to the matters, the Court: (1) GRANTS Plaintiffs Motion to Remand, and (2) DENIES Plaintiffs Request for Attorneys Fees. (Dkt. No. 11.) The matter is hereby REMANDED to Riverside Superior Court, and the September 11, 2017 hearing is VACATED. (SEE ORDER FOR FURTHER DETAILS) MD JS-6. Case Terminated. (iva)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
EDCV 17-1123 JGB (DTBx)
Date September 6, 2017
Title Graham and Tammie A. Wilson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al.
Present: The Honorable
JESUS G. BERNAL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Attorney(s) Present for Plaintiff(s):
Attorney(s) Present for Defendant(s):
Order: (1) GRANTING Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand and
REMANDING the matter to Riverside Superior Court (Dkt. No. 11); (2)
DENYING Plaintiffs’ Request for Attorney’s Fees (id.); and (3)
VACATING the September 11, 2017 Hearing (IN CHAMBERS)
Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand the action to Riverside Superior Court and
Plaintiffs’ request for attorney’s fees. (Dkt. No. 11.) These matters are appropriate for
resolution without a hearing. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. After considering all papers
timely filed in support of, and in opposition to the matters, the Court: (1) GRANTS Plaintiffs’
Motion to Remand, and (2) DENIES Plaintiffs’ Request for Attorney’s Fees. (Dkt. No. 11.) The
matter is hereby REMANDED to Riverside Superior Court, and the September 11, 2017 hearing
A. Procedural History
On March 27, 2017, Graham and Tammie A. Wilson (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint in
Riverside Superior Court against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“Chase”), MTC Financial, Inc.
dba Trustee Corps. (“MTC”), Preeminent Investment Corporation (“Preeminent”), and Does
1 through 20 (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging thirteen causes of action pertaining to
Defendants’ alleged failure to properly follow the pre-foreclosure procedures established in the
California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights. (“Complaint,” Dkt. No. 1-1.)
On June 7, 2017, Defendants filed a Notice of Removal based on diversity jurisdiction, 28
U.S.C. § 1332. (Notice of Removal, Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 11.) On July 7, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion
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to Remand the matter to Riverside Superior Court, arguing that Defendants have not met their
burden to show complete diversity exists between the parties and that the amount in controversy
has been met. (“Motion,” Dkt. No. 11.) On August 23, 2017, Defendants filed an Opposition to
Plaintiffs’ Motion. (“Opposition,” Dkt. No. 17.) Plaintiffs filed their Reply on August 24, 2017,
which attached an accompanying exhibit. (“Reply,” Dkt. No. 18; Ex. A, Dkt. No. 18-1.)
B. Factual Allegations and Claims
Plaintiffs allege that they obtained a loan in the amount of $435,350 on April 27, 2007 secured
by a Deed of Trust on 35929 Lexi Lane, Wildomar, California 92595 (“subject property”).
(Compl. at ¶ 9.) The Deed of Trust identifies Chase as the lender and beneficiary, Chicago Title
Company as the trustee, and the Wilsons as the borrowers. (Id.) Plaintiffs allegedly experienced
financial difficulties and defaulted on their loan sometime in 2008. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege that on
April 29, 2009, a Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust was recorded with
the Riverside County Recorder’s Office. (Id.) On June 4, 2009, a Substitution of Trustee was
recorded, naming NDEx West LLC (“NDEx”) the new trustee. (Id. at ¶ 10.) On August 3,
2009, a Notice of Trustee’s sale was allegedly recorded. (Id. at ¶ 11.) Thereafter, a series of
Notices of Trustees Sales and Substitutions of Trustees were recorded with the Riverside
County Recorder’s Office spanning November 2010 to July 2012. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-14.) Plaintiffs
allege that on August 31, 2012, a Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale conveyed title to the subject
property to Preeminent for a sale price of $253,200. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Plaintiffs allege, however, that
on April 25, 2013, a Notice of Rescission of Trustee’s sale was recorded conveying the property
back to NDEx. (Id. at ¶ 16.) A Notice of Rescission of Notice of Default was allegedly recorded
by NDEx on February 21, 2014, and then by MTC on March 29, 2016. (Id. at ¶¶ 17, 18.)
As a result of the foregoing, Plaintiffs allege that the conveyance to Preeminent, which
triggered a reassessment of the subject property, “more than doubled their mortgage payment, to
an amount the Wilson’s could not afford to pay.” (Id. at ¶ 19.) Plaintiffs allege that during this
time, they continued making monthly mortgage and escrow payments until their lender started
rejecting payments. (Id. at ¶ 20.) Plaintiffs allege that when their lender started rejecting
payments, they were $32,000 in arrears. (Id.)
In December 2015, Plaintiffs allegedly entered into an agreement with Chase to pay all arrears
in exchange for reinstating the loan at $1,300 per month (“Reinstatement Agreement”). (Id. at
¶21.) Still, two months later, Chase allegedly increased Plaintiffs’ monthly payment to $2,800
per month, adding an additional $7,500 in arrears. (Id. at ¶ 22.) Plaintiffs allege that Chase
never responded to their efforts to work out more affordable terms, and Chase was aware of the
negative balance in the Escrow account when it calculated the reinstatement amount. (Id. at ¶
24, 26.) Plaintiffs, therefore, maintain that Chase failed to conduct proper due diligence and
“[b]ut for Chase’s wrongful foreclosure of the property the county never would have had cause
to reassess the property.” (Id. at ¶ ¶ 27, 31.) On January 26, 2017, a Notice of Trustee Sale was
recorded. (Id. at ¶ 33.)
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The Notice of Default allegedly contained a false declaration of compliance under California
Civil Code section 2923.55 because it stated that Plaintiffs were contacted and assessed for
foreclosure prevention and 30 days had passed even though Plaintiffs allege they were never
contacted. (Id. at ¶ 32.) Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants: (a) failed to properly record a
substitution of trustee under California Civil Code 2934, (b) failed to, at any point, assign a single
point of contact despite Plaintiffs’ requests, (c) initiated unlawful non-judicial foreclosure
proceedings, yet failed to consider Plaintiffs for foreclosure prevention alternatives, and then, (d)
denied Plaintiffs any foreclosure alternatives without any explanation. (Id. at ¶ 32.) Plaintiffs
further allege that they had to pay penalties, interest, and back dues that they would not have
owed but for Defendants’ breach of California Civil Code section 2924. (Id. at ¶ 40.) On those
bases, Plaintiffs bring six claims under the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, Cal. Civ. Code
§ 2924, et seq., and claims for unfair business practices, Cal. Bus. & Profs. Code § 17200, breach
of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, injunctive relief, negligence, quiet title,
negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract loan modification agreement.1
A. Legal Standard
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only that power authorized by
Constitution and statute. Gunn v. Minton, 133 S. Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013). As such, federal courts
only have original jurisdiction over civil actions in which a federal question exists or in which
there is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy
Specifically, Plaintiffs allege the following claims: (1) violation of California Civil Code
section 2923.55, which requires homeowners be contacted to pursue non-foreclosure options
prior to recording a notice of default, Cal. Civ. Code § 2923.5, (2) violations of the procedures
and due diligence requirements when offering homeowners a loan modification, Cal. Civ. Code §
2923.6, (3) failing to establish a single point of contact, communicating the process, coordinating
receipt of all documents, and otherwise ensuring that a borrower is considered for all foreclosure
prevention alternatives upon a borrower’s request for a foreclosure prevention alternative, Cal.
Civ. Code § 2923.7, (4) providing written notification within five days after recording a notice of
default that borrower may be eligible for a loan prevention alternative, Cal. Civ. Code § 2924.9,
(5) failing to provide written acknowledgement of the receipt of a loan modification application,
Cal. Civ. Code § 2924.10, (6) submitting a false declaration of compliance prior to recording a
notice of default, notice of sale, assignment of a deed of trust, or substitution of trustee, Cal. Civ.
Code § 2924.17, (7) unfair business practices under California Business and Professions Code
section 17200, (8) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (9) injunctive relief
for material violations of Sections 2923.55, 2923.6, 2923.7, 2924.9, 2924.10, 2924.17, Cal. Civ.
Code § 2924.12, (10) negligence and negligence per se, (11) quiet title, (12) negligent
misrepresentation, and (13) breach of contract.
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exceeds $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332.2 “Complete diversity” means that “each
defendant must be a citizen of a different state from each plaintiff.” In re Digimarc Corp.
Derivative Litigation, 549 F.3d 1223, 1234 (9th Cir. 2008). As noted above, Defendants removed
on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Not. of Removal.) To remove a case from state court to
federal court, the removing defendant files a notice of removal in the federal district court in the
district and division within which the state court action was pending. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). The
notice must contain “a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal”—in a case relying
on diversity jurisdiction, that the parties are citizens of different states and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75,000, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)—“together with a copy of all process,
pleadings, and orders” served previously on the removing defendant. Id.
If a plaintiff challenges removal on the basis that the amount in controversy is below the
jurisdictional minimum, and thus, the federal court is without subject-matter jurisdiction, “both
sides submit proof and the court decides, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the
amount-in-controversy requirement has been satisfied.” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v.
Owens, 135 S. Ct. 547, 554 (2014); 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(B). If a defendant fails to meet its
burden to show that the damages exceed $75,000 by a preponderance of the evidence, the Court
must remand the matter to state court. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); Emrich v Touche Ross & Co., 846
F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988).
The Ninth Circuit “strictly construe[s] the removal statute against removal jurisdiction,”
and “[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the
first instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992); see also Jackson v.
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, No. CV 14-05981 MMM PLAX, 2014 WL 5514142, at *6 (C.D.
Cal. Oct. 31, 2014) (quoting Gaus). Indeed, doubts as to removability must be resolved in favor
of remanding the case to state court. Jackson, 2014 WL 5514142, at *6.
(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is
between-(1) citizens of different States;
(2) citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state, except that the district
courts shall not have original jurisdiction under this subsection of an action between
citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state who are lawfully admitted for
permanent residence in the United States and are domiciled in the same State;
(3) citizens of different States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are
additional parties; and
(4) a foreign state, defined in section 1603(a) of this title, as plaintiff and citizens of a
State or of different States.
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
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B. Plaintiffs’ Motion
Plaintiffs argue that the case must be remanded because MTC is a California corporation so
complete diversity does not exist, and Defendants cannot show that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75,0000. (Motion at 1.) Specifically, Plaintiffs assert that the value of the loan is not
the proper measure of the amount in controversy “[w]here a Plaintiff merely seeks to temporarily
enjoin foreclosure pending a defendant’s compliance with the law.” (Id. at 3.) In support,
Plaintiffs maintain that their complaint “does not pray for the Court to relieve [them] of this
debt,” they do not seek to “strip Defendants from their interest in the subject property and right
to collect on the debt[.]” (Id. at 4.) Instead, Plaintiffs contend they only seek an opportunity to
be considered for foreclosure prevention opportunities prior to Defendants foreclosing and to
hold “Defendants accountable for their failure to adhere to requirements necessary to conduct
nonjudicial foreclosure.” (Id.) Since in Plaintiffs’ view, Defendants fail to provide any evidence
of the “pecuniary results of halting foreclosure proceedings while complying with their statutory
obligations,” Plaintiffs contend that Defendants cannot meet their burden to establish the
jurisdictional minimum has been met by a preponderance of the evidence. (Id.)
Defendants, on the other hand, argue that Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief “places their
Loan in the original principal amount of $435,500.00 in controversy.” (Opp’n at 6.) Defendants
further contend that the cases Plaintiffs cite are distinguishable because in those cases, the
plaintiffs only sought to temporarily stop foreclosure activity, whereas here, Plaintiffs seek to
avoid the entire lien through the quiet title action. (Id. at 7.)
The parties also dispute MTC’s status for purposes of establishing complete diversity.
Defendants argue that MTC, as a trustee, is only a nominal defendant under California law, while
Plaintiffs argue that since they allege that MTC acted improperly and seek damages from both
Chase and MTC, and both Plaintiffs and MTC are California citizens, complete diversity
jurisdiction is absent. (See Opp’n at 8-9; Motion at 5-6.)
1. Amount in Controversy
To determine whether the amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional requirement, a
court may first consider whether it is facially apparent from the complaint. Abrego Abrego v.
Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 690 (9th Cir. 2006). Plaintiffs’ Complaint does not demand a
specific dollar amount, thus Defendants must prove by a preponderance of evidence that the
amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Kroske v. U.S. Bank Corp., 432 F.3d 976, 980 (9th Cir.
Plaintiffs’ first through sixth causes of action seek damages for Defendants’ past violations of
the Homeowner Bill of Rights. (See, e.g., Compl. at ¶ 49)(referring to harms suffered as “back
dues and interest that has accrued to date, lost opportunity to pursue other foreclosure
prevention options, the reinstatement amount they paid which included late fees and interest, the
down payment, and other actual and consequential damages. . .”). Nothing in the Complaint
indicates the amount of actual damages Plaintiffs suffered. The Court cannot estimate the excess
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interest or late fees or the harm to Plaintiffs’ credit to conclude that such violations caused
damages exceeding $75,000.
Still, Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief for Defendants’ alleged violations of California Civil
Code sections 2923, et seq. and 2924, et seq. in their First through Sixth and Ninth causes of
action. (See, e.g., Compl. ¶¶ 50, 105.) Indeed, Plaintiffs seek “to enjoin  material violations”
of the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights. As to foreclosure, Plaintiffs seek “an order
enjoining Defendants from foreclosing on the subject property, pursuant to Civil Code §
2924.12.” (Id. at ¶ 50.) In actions seeking equitable relief, the amount in controversy is
established by measuring the value of the object of the litigation. Cohn v. Petsmart, Inc., 281
F.3d 837, 840 (9th Cir. 2002).
Since violations of the Homeowner Bill of Rights do not authorize permanent injunctive
relief, but permit an injunction only until the defendant “show[s] that the material violation has
been corrected and remedied,” Cal. Civ. Code §§ 2924.12, 2924.19, the injunctions referred to in
the First through Sixth and Ninth causes of action appear to only be temporary. See Mabry v.
Superior Court, 185 Cal. App. 4th 208, 223 (2010)(“The available, existing remedy is found in
the ability of a court in section 2924g, subdivision (c)(1)(A), to postpone the sale until there has
been compliance with section 2923.5.”). That said, Plaintiffs also bring an action to quiet title.
Defendants are correct that value of the loan can be used to establish the amount in
controversy where a plaintiff seeks to quiet title or requests an injunction that will forever bar a
defendant from foreclosing. See Chapman v. Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co., 651 F.3d 1039, 1041
(9th Cir. 2011) (holding that in a quiet title action, the amount in controversy is calculated by the
value of the property at issue); Larkin v. Bank of Am., N.A., No. EDCV16852PSGSKX, 2016
WL 4180942, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2016); Hendricks v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2015 WL
1644028 (C.D. Cal. Apr.14, 2015) (holding that in an action seeking to enjoin an impending
foreclosure, following the recording of a Notice of Trustee’s Sale, the amount in controversy
includes the value of the property as “at least one object of the litigation”); Reyes v. Wells Fargo
Bank, N.A., 2010 WL 2629785, at *6 (N.D. Cal. June 29, 2010) (holding that in a case
challenging an alleged unlawful foreclosure, the amount in controversy was satisfied because both
the amount of the plaintiff’s indebtedness on the loan and the fair market value of the property
exceeded $75,000); Gomez v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. CV 15-03331-AB MRWX,
2015 WL 3745027, at *3 (C.D. Cal. June 12, 2015). Thus, to determine whether the value of the
subject property or the amount of the loan is the proper measure of damages, the Court must
assess the object of Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim.
The Court is not convinced that Plaintiffs seek to obtain title to the property free of any
encumbrances or liens since the majority of Plaintiffs’ allegations refer to the harm they suffered
when they were deprived of the opportunity to modify their loan. While their Eleventh Cause of
Action states that Defendants’ claims are without “any right,” including, “title, stake, lien, or
interest in the subject property,” it does not indicate which “note” is allegedly fraudulent.
(Compl. at ¶ 134.) Plaintiffs allege that when they defaulted on their original loan, they
negotiated with Chase and entered into a Reinstatement Agreement, but because Chase failed to
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disclose the assessment conducted on the property as a result of the alleged wrongful foreclosure
that was later rescinded, their mortgage payments doubled. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Still, Plaintiffs allege
that they kept making monthly payments and escrow payments pursuant to an agreed loan
modification until their payments were rejected. (Id. at ¶ 20.) Although Plaintiffs allege that
“Defendants claim an interest adverse to Plaintiffs’ title in the subject properly,” and “[t]hese
claims are without any right and Defendants have no right, title, stake, lien, or interest in the
subject property,” it appears that Plaintiffs primarily seek a modification of their loan so they can
stay in their home. (Id. at ¶ 134.)
Significantly, throughout the Complaint, Plaintiffs indicate that they intend to become
current on their loan payments, but have been prevented from doing so due to Defendants’
allegedly wrongful acts and omissions. In fact, all of Plaintiff’s factual allegations recount many
attempts to try to work with Defendants to get their loan current. (See, e.g., Compl. at ¶
85)(“To date, the Wilsons have been diligent in contacting Defendants in attempts to resolve the
situation, including applying and timely sending in their loan modification application
documents. . .”); (id. at ¶ 99)(“Defendants. . . breached their promise to Plaintiffs not to conduct
the non-judicial foreclosure pending Plaintiffs’ continued adherence to perform under the terms
of the Reinstatement Agreement”); (id. at ¶ 128)(“Had Defendants complied with [the
Homeowner Bill of Rights]. . .[Plaintiffs] would not have suffered the very injuries that give rise
to this Complaint because they would have been able to successfully pursue and obtain a nonforeclosure alternative and become current on their loan.”)(emphasis added). If Plaintiffs wanted
to rescind their loan, they would have brought a cancellation of written instruments cause of
action. Thus, the Complaint read in context indicates that rather than seeking to rescind the
loan, Plaintiffs merely want an opportunity to carry out their obligations under a mortgage that
complies with the Homeowners Bill of Rights.
The significance of the Eleventh Cause of Action for purposes of determining the amount in
controversy depends on whether Plaintiffs currently hold title. If Plaintiffs currently hold title to
the property, then the object of the quiet title action “to finally settle and determine, as between
the parties, all conflicting claims to the property in controversy, and to decree to each such
interest or estate therein as he [or she] may be entitled to” would not be the full value of the
property. Peterson v. Gibbs, 147 Cal. 1, 5 (1905). However, if Plaintiffs do not currently hold
title to the property, then an action to “determin[e] their title in the subject property. . . as sole
owners” would place the value of the property in controversy. Regardless, a quiet title action
would not destroy the rights of parties whose interests were properly recorded. See Deutsche
Bank Nat’l Tr. Co. v. Pyle, 13 Cal. App. 5th 513, 524–25 (2017)(observing that a quiet title
judgment would not impair interests of parties “whose interest was actually known to the
plaintiff at the time”). From the factual allegations, it is unclear whether Plaintiffs defaulted on
their loan, are only in arrears, or whether a foreclosure sale has actually occurred. The
Complaint states that a Notice of Trustee Sale was recorded on January 26, 2017. Still, Plaintiffs
appear to still be in possession of their home. Without any indication of whether a foreclosure
sale has occurred, the Court cannot determine whether title to the subject property has been
transferred. Thus, practically speaking, Plaintiffs’ quiet title action would not necessarily operate
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to rescind the loan or extinguish any valid interests to the amounts due thereunder where the
Complaint is ambiguous as to whether title has actually passed.
Since under these circumstances, a quiet title action would not necessarily strip Defendants
of their interests in the loan, the Court cannot conclude that Plaintiffs’ mere inclusion of this
claim warrants applying the standard articulated in Chapman v. Deutsch Bank Nat. Trust Co.,
651 F.3d 1039, 1041 (9th Cir. 2011)(holding that in a quiet title action, the amount in controversy
is calculated by the value of the property at issue).
Plaintiffs argue that they only seek to temporarily enjoin foreclosure proceedings. Given that
the Complaint is ambiguous on this point, ambiguities in the complaint must be resolved in favor
of remand, and a judgment for Plaintiffs in this case would not preclude a foreclosure sale, the
Court does not find the value of the property to be a proper measure of damages. Hunter v.
Phillip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009); Pyle, 13 Cal. App. 5th at 523 (“[A] void
judgment in the chain of title does not pass title free of the lien purportedly cancelled by the void
judgment.”). “Courts have roundly rejected the argument that the amount in controversy is the
entire amount of the loan” in cases where the plaintiff seeks only to enjoin a foreclosure sale
pending a loan modification application. See, e.g., Vergara v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 15–
58, 2015 WL 1240421, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Mar.17, 2015) (citing cases); Gomez v. J.P. Morgan Chase
Bank, N.A., No. CV 15-03331-AB MRWX, 2015 WL 3745027, at *3 (C.D. Cal. June 12,
2015)(granting a motion to remand despite plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief, stating “[t]he
crux of Plaintiffs’ complaint, however, is that they are entitled to a loan modification, and
Plaintiffs’ passing references to the possibility of losing their home and being forced into
foreclosure does not put the value of the Subject Property and/or the balance of Plaintiffs’ loan in
controversy.”); Perez v. CitiMortgage, Inc., No. SACV1601239CJCDFMX, 2016 WL 4599891,
at *2 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 2, 2016)(rejecting the defendant’s argument that since the plaintiff sought
to quiet title, the amount in controversy should be measured by the value of the property because
plaintiff did not seek to permanently enjoin foreclosure).
The appropriate test for determining the amount-in-controversy therefore is “the pecuniary
result to either party which the judgment would directly produce.” Essley v. Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A., No. EDCV161672JGBDPX, 2016 WL 5746336, at *5 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2016).
Defendants fail to provide any evidence of what it would cost to offer Plaintiffs a loan
modification or the amount of pecuniary harm occasioned by delaying foreclosure proceedings.
Construing any ambiguities in favor of remand, the Court cannot conclude that Defendants have
met their burden to establish the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 by a preponderance of
the evidence. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand.
2. Attorney’s Fees
Plaintiffs also request an award of attorneys’ fees. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), a district
court has the discretion to award attorneys’ fees and costs upon remand if the defendant lacked
an “objectively reasonable” basis for removal. Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp., 546 U.S. 132,
141 (2005). The preceding discussion refutes the notion that Defendants lacked an objectively
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reasonable basis to believe that removal was proper. Plaintiffs’ Complaint was not a model of
clarity as to the type of injunction sought or whether a foreclosure sale has actually occurred. On
that basis, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’ request for attorney’s fees.
Based on the foregoing, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand, DENIES
Plaintiffs’ Request for Attorney’s Fees, and REMANDS the matter to Riverside Superior Court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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