United States District Court, D. Nebraska
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, As Trustee, Successor in interest to Wachovia Bank, N.A., as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2002-1; Plaintiff,
CHRISTOPHER DAVID CLARK, a single man; JOHN DOE, real names and martial status unknown; and JANE DOE, real names and martial status unknown; Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. Bataillon Senior United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion to
remand, Filing No. 2. Plaintiff contends that the case should
be remanded to Douglas County, Nebraska pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c) for the reason that this Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction to adjudicate this lawsuit. Defendant,
Christopher David Clark, is appearing pro se and contests the
motion. The defendant wants the Court to restrain or enjoin
the plaintiffs during the pendency of a review and ruling by
a court of competent jurisdiction.
state court case was originally brought to evict defendant
from his real estate and to order restitution. It was brought
as a forcible entry and detainer pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 76-1001. Pursuant to publication and notice, the
Trustee offered the property for sale at a public auction in
compliance with Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1008 and it sold to
U.S. Bank as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage for the sum of
$208, 000. Plaintiff then filed the forcible entry and
detainer action in Douglas County Court and asked for
restitution of the premises. The case was scheduled for trial
in December of 2018, but the defendant removed it to this
Court, the day before trial.
statutes are strictly construed, and any doubts about the
correctness of removal are resolved in favor of state court
jurisdiction and remand. In re Bus. Men's Assurance
Co. of Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th Cir. 1993);
Transit Cas. Co. v. Certain Underwriters at
Lloyd's of London, 119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir.
1997). The party seeking removal and opposing remand has the
burden of establishing jurisdiction. Cent. Iowa Power
Co-op. v. Midwest Indep. Transmission Sys. Operator, 561
F.3d 904, 912 (8th Cir. 2009).
when determining whether removal is proper, the court looks
to the plaintiff's pleadings at the time of removal.
Pullman Co. v. Jenkins, 305 U.S. 534, 537- 38
(1939); see Hargis v. Access Capital Funding,
LLC, 674 F.3d 783, 789-90 (8th Cir. 2012) (holding that
the court's jurisdiction is measured at the time of
removal, even though subsequent events may remove from the
case the facts on which jurisdiction was predicated).
“The presence or absence of federal-question
jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint
rule,' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists
only when a federal question is presented on the face of the
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.”
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987) (quoting Gully v. First Nat'l Bank, 299
U.S. 109, 112-113 (1936)); see also Gaming Corp.
of America v. Dorsey & Whitney, 88 F.3d 536, 542
(8th Cir. 1996).
argues that the defendant has failed to establish
jurisdiction in this Court. In the notice of removal, Filing
No. 1, in a document entitled “Complaint for a Civil
Case” defendant lists the Fair Debt Collections Act
under jurisdiction and he also lists it in his notice of
removal. Filing No. 1 at 1, 5 and 8. The Court is unsure if
the defendant is attempting to file a case within the state
court case or if it has any real meaning with respect to that
case, or if defendant is attempting to file a new civil
action. Regardless, defendant gives no reason or support for
alleging anything under the Fair Debt Collections Practices
Act, and such claim importantly is not part of the state
court proceeding. The defendant does not raise federal
question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as it
relates to this case. Defendant did not file a responsive
pleading in state court before removing it to this Court.
addition, there is no allegation that this case exceeds $75,
000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. In order to determine the amount
in controversy, the Court must look at the movant's point
of view. See Massachusetts State Pharm. Assoc.
v. Federal Prescription Service, Inc., 431 F.2d 130, n.1
(8th Cir. 1970); see also Smith v. American States
Preferred Insur. Co., 249 F.3d 812, 813 (8th
Cir. 2001). The burden of showing this amount is on the
movant to show jurisdiction by a preponderance of the
evidence. The Court can look through the filings and
determine that the sale of the house was $208, 000. However,
even if the Court found that defendant has some ground for
the diversity amount, it is not sufficient for the reasons
argues that the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska is a
product of illegal and unlawful foreclosure and that the
Douglas County Nebraska Court must dismiss the case for lack
of jurisdiction under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21, 219. It
also appears that the defendant is arguing that the statute
of limitations ran prior to the foreclosure. In the
alternative, defendant asks that this Court remand to a court
Court finds the case should be remanded to state court.
Defendant has filed no grounds for continuing this action in
federal court. From a review of the record, this appears to
be a state court action and not a case that should be removed
to federal court.
Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents losing state court
litigants from attempting to indirectly attack state court
findings in federal district courts. Friends of Lake View
Sch. Dist. No. 25 v. Beebe, 578 F.3d 753, 758 (8th Cir.
2009); see D.C. Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 1311 (1983); Rooker v. Fid.
Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415 (1923). The Court believes
this is what the defendant wants this Court to do.
reason that defendant has failed to show by a preponderance
of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000; and for the reason that the federal court generally does
not have jurisdiction to determine purely state law issues;
and for the reason that the defendant has failed to establish
a bona fide federal cause of action in this case; and for the
reason that a possible claim under the Federal Debt
Collections Act might exist separate from this state law
case; the Court will remand this case to the state court for
IT IS ORDERED THAT plaintiff's motion to remand, Filing
No. 2, is granted. The Clerk of Court is instructed to send
this case back to the Douglas ...