Lindsay v. Key Bank National Association et al

Filing 17

ORDER OF DISMISSAL, by Judge Ricardo S Martinez. (SWT) (cc Plaintiff via USPS)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 5 6 7 MATTHEW JAMES LINDSAY, ESQ., 8 Plaintiff, 9 v. 10 11 KEY BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, et al., 12 Defendants. 13 14 15 ) ) CASE NO. C17-0354 RSM ) ) ) ORDER OF DISMISSAL ) ) ) ) ) The Complaint in this matter was filed on March 13, 2017. Dkt. #5. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, and all but one of the named Defendants have appeared. Dkts. #6, #7 and 16 #10. 17 18 On March 30, 2017, this Court directed Plaintiff to show cause why this matter should 19 not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Dkt. #8. The Court noted that 20 Plaintiff’s claims appear to arise out of the appointment of a non-familial personal 21 representative in a Pierce County probate action. See Dkt. #5. Plaintiff alleges that a personal 22 23 representative was appointed for his grandfather’s Estate, without notice to his mother, his 24 brother, or himself, all of whom he alleges are the rightful heirs of the estate. Id. He further 25 alleges that the personal representative took advantage of the fact that his mother suffers from 26 brain damage, and coerced her into signing paperwork that ultimately resulted in negative 27 financial consequences. 28 ORDER PAGE - 1 Id. He alleges numerous violations of the Revised Code of 1 Washington, as well as of Washington State court rules and the Washington State Rules of 2 Professional Conduct. He appears to seek an Order allowing him to intervene in the state court 3 probate proceedings where he wants to vacate several court orders in that matter and to petition 4 for a new personal representative. Id. 5 Plaintiff subsequently responded to the Court’s Show Cause Order. Dkt. #9. With 6 7 respect to jurisdiction, Plaintiff made several arguments. First, he stated: The plaintiff notes the court may have to sever one, or more of the defendants for jurisdictional purposes. 8 9 The plaintiff requests that the defendant, Arlen Bobb and Attorneys for the Personal Representative, Turnbull and Born, P.L.L.C. be severed from this lawsuit to satisfy “Complete Diversity” requirements. 10 11 12 13 Dkt. #9 at 2-3. With respect to probate matters, Plaintiff pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court case of 14 Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293, 126 S. Ct. 1735 (2006), wherein the Court defined the 15 16 scope of the probate exception to jurisdiction. Dkt. #9 at 6. He appeared to assert that his 17 claims are also outside of the Court’s probate exception, and therefore jurisdiction in this Court 18 is appropriate. Id. 19 After reviewing the response filed by Plaintiff, the Court directed Plaintiff to clarify 20 21 whether he seeks to voluntarily dismiss Arlene Bobb and Attorneys for the Personal 22 Representative, Turnbull and Born, P.L.L.C., as Defendants to this action. Dkt. #11. The 23 Court further directed Defendants to show cause why this matter should not proceed in this 24 Court. Id. 25 On May 5, 2017, Defendant KeyBank National Association (“KeyBank”) responded 26 27 that there is no basis for federal jurisdiction in this matter. 28 diversity jurisdiction is not supported on the face of the Complaint, there are no claims asserted ORDER PAGE - 2 Dkt. #12. KeyBank noted that 1 2 against KeyBank in any event, and there appears no claim that is not barred by the probate exception to jurisdiction. Id. On May 17, 2017, Plaintiff responded to the Court’s Order for Clarification. Dkt. #13. 3 4 Defendant clarified that he is not going to voluntarily dismiss Defendants Arlene Bobb and 5 attorneys Turnbull and Born PLLC. Id. Plaintiff then appears to argue that this Court has both 6 7 supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims and that his claims otherwise fall outside of the 8 probate exception. Id. at 8-9. He also asserts that the property at issue in this matter is valued 9 at an amount that exceeds $75,000, and therefore he meets the requisite amount in controversy. 10 Id. 11 On May 19, 2017, Defendants Bobb and Turnbull and Born responded to the Court’s 12 13 Order. Dkt. #14. They essentially join in the response of KeyBank, and assert that this matter 14 must be dismissed as to them. Id. The same day, Defendant Bank of America, N.A. also 15 responded to the Court’s Order. Dkt. #15. They concur with the arguments made by the other 16 Defendants and also note that the Complaint is devoid of any claims or allegations against it. 17 18 Id. 19 As this Court has previously noted, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and 20 therefore Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that his case is properly filed in federal 21 court. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L. 22 Ed. 2d 391 (1994); In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., 264 F.3d 952, 957 23 24 (9th Cir. 2001). This burden, at the pleading stage, must be met by pleading sufficient 25 allegations to show a proper basis for the federal court to assert subject matter jurisdiction over 26 the action. McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189, 56 S. Ct. 780, 27 785, 80 L. Ed. 1135 (1936). Further, the Court will dismiss a Complaint at any time if the 28 ORDER PAGE - 3 1 2 action fails to state a claim, raises frivolous or malicious claims, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In this case, Plaintiff cannot establish diversity jurisdiction, particularly because he has 3 4 refused to dismiss Defendants that are not diverse. Indeed, Plaintiff himself previously 5 recognized that Defendants Bobb and Turnbull and Born reside in Washington, as does he, and 6 7 therefore complete diversity does not exist. See Dkt. #9 at 2-3. Further, for the reasons stated 8 by Defendants, the Court agrees that Plaintiff does not appear to have raised any ancillary 9 probate claims that would be outside of the probate exception to federal jurisdiction. Dkts. #12 10 at 4-5, #14 at 1-2, and #15 at 2. While Plaintiff asserts that his claims are ancillary to the 11 probate of his grandfather’s estate, and therefore this Court has jurisdiction, he does not 12 13 adequately explain why the claims are ancillary. As best as this Court can tell, his claims 14 appear to arise out of the appointment of a non-familial personal representative in a Pierce 15 County probate action and challenge certain actions taken by that representative, as described 16 above. See Dkt. #5. He appears to seek an Order allowing him to intervene in the state court 17 18 probate proceedings where he wants to vacate several court orders in that matter and to petition 19 for a new personal representative. Id. Those claims are not ancillary to the probate 20 proceedings – in other words, the claims are not independent from the probate proceeding 21 itself. 22 Finally, Plaintiff appears to now assert that Defendant KeyBank and Bank of America 23 24 breached their fiduciary duties in administering certain trust accounts. Dkt. #13 at 9-16. He 25 appears to argue that these claims can be heard in this Court because the alleged trust accounts 26 are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), and Defendants’ alleged 27 actions have somehow violated the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Act. Dkt. #13 at 9. 28 ORDER PAGE - 4 1 Not only has Plaintiff failed to make any such allegations in his Complaint, he still fails to 2 identify any specific actions taken by either KeyBank or Bank of America that would give rise 3 to any claims against them, or demonstrating any violations of a federal statute that would in 4 turn provide federal question jurisdiction. 5 For all of these reasons, this case is now DISMISSED for lack of subject matter 6 7 8 jurisdiction, and this matter is CLOSED. DATED this 24th day of May 2017. 9 A 10 11 RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORDER PAGE - 5

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