Munholland et al v. Wells Fargo Bank National Association as Trustee et al
ORDER denying 12 Motion to Remand to State Court. By Judge R. Brooke Jackson on 02/25/13. (alvsl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge R. Brooke Jackson
Civil Action No. 11–cv–03393–RBJ–KMT
TRISHA J. MUNHOLLAND,
WELLS FARGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, as Trustee for the certificateholders of
Structured Asset Mortgage Investments II Inc. Bear Stearns Mortgage Funding Trust 2007-AR5
Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-AR5,
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, NA.,
EMC MORTGAGE CORPORATION, and
MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS,
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand to State Court
[Document #12]. Plaintiff argues that (1) this litigation primarily concerns a parcel of real
property located in Douglas County and should be heard in the Douglas County District Court;
(2) there is no federal question on the face of the Complaint; and (3) the abstention doctrine
requires that the action be remanded to the Douglas County District Court. I disagree. Plaintiff
asserts claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692. As such, this
Court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Because it might come up again, the Court addresses defendants’ alternative argument
that there is also diversity of citizenship jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. After the case was
removed, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend her complaint to add George J. Kennedy, the Public
Trustee for Douglas County, Colorado. [#17]. This Court, exercising its discretion to permit
joinder of the Public Trustee, see Mayes v. Rapoport, 198 F.3d 457, 462 (4th Cir. 1999), granted
Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend. [#18]. Plaintiff’s amendment destroyed diversity. “If after
removal the plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants whose joinder would destroy subject
matter jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder and remand the action to the
State court.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e). Therefore, absent a federal question, the case would have to
be remanded to state court.1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e).
Accordingly, the motion to remand [#12] is DENIED.
DATED this 25th day of February, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
R. Brooke Jackson
United States District Judge
Defendants cite a 1947 Tenth Circuit case in support of their argument that complete diversity
is not destroyed when a nominal party is joined as a defendant. (See Resp. at 6 [citing Becker v.
Angle, 165 F.2d 140 (10th Cir. 1947)].) However, in Becker, the issue was whether
“unanswering and unknown” defendants whose residence or citizenship could not be determined
destroyed diversity. Becker, 165 F.2d at 142. The court determined that the defendants, who
were parties at the outset of the case and not added at a later time, were real and necessary parties
to the suit, and because the plaintiffs could not affirmatively show diversity, the court did have
subject matter jurisdiction. Id. Because the defendants in Becker were defendants at the outset,
however, § 1447(e) is not applicable. Defendants also cite Alpine Bank v. Carney Bros.
Construction, Case No. 05-cv-00026-EWN-KLM, 2008 WL 4080003 (D. Colo. Sept. 2, 2008).
Section 1447(e) does not apply to Alpine Bank because, although the case was removed from
state court, the defendants impleaded the trustee and did not claim that the trustee had any real
interest in this case. Alpine Bank, 2008 WL 4080003, at *3. Here, Plaintiff refers to the Public
Trustee throughout her Amended Complaint and represents that the Public Trustee is an
indispensible party. Moreover, the Court cannot locate any case in which the joinder of a
nominal defendant prevented a case from being remanded to the state court under § 1447(e).
Rather, the statute distinguishes only between dispensable and indispensable parties. Casas
Office Machines, Inc., 42 F.3d 668, 675 (1st Cir. 1994). This Court, in allowing plaintiff to
amend her complaint, already considered this.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?