You're viewing Docket Item 12 from the case JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A v. Worrell et al. View the full docket and case details.

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Case5:13-cv-00313-LHK Document12 Filed07/31/13 Page1 of 6



















UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT



NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA



SAN JOSE DIVISION





v.

JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.,
SUCCESSOR BY MERGER WITH
WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, N.A.,

Plaintiff,



MARGARET ANN PAREDES WORRELL
& JOHN WORRELL,

Defendants.


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Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK


ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO
REMAND AND DENYING MOTION
FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAURPERIS



Plaintiff JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JP Morgan” or “Plaintiff”) filed this unlawful

detainer action originally in California Superior Court. See JP Morgan Chase Bank v. Margaret

Ann Paredes Worrell, Case No. 1-12-CV-222217 (Cal. Super. Ct. filed Apr. 10, 2012) (the

“underlying state court detainer action”).1 Margaret and John Worrell (collectively, “the Worrells”


1 Margaret Worrell filed this Complaint as part of her prior lawsuit, Margaret Paredes Worrell v.
JP Morgan Chase Bank, Case No. 12-CV-04331-LHK (N.D. Cal. filed Aug. 16, 2012). The Court
takes judicial notice of this Complaint pursuant to Rule 201(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Fed. R. Evid. 201(b) (“The court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable
dispute because it: (1) is generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court; or can
be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be
questioned.”); see also Del Puerto Water Dist. v. United States Bureau of Reclamation, 271 F.
Supp. 2d 1224, 1233 (E.D. Cal May 13, 2003) (“Judicially noticed facts often consist of matters of
public record, such as prior court proceedings”); Chrisanthis v. United States, 2008 WL 4848764,
at *1 (N.D. Cal Nov. 7, 2008) (“[D]ocuments publicly filed in [a] prior suit are proper subjects of
judicial notice”).

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Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK
ORDER GRANTING JP MORGAN’S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING WORELLS’ MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS


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Case5:13-cv-00313-LHK Document12 Filed07/31/13 Page2 of 6



or “Defendants”), who are pro se, filed a Notice of Removal in this Court on January 23, 2013. See

Notice of Removal (“Notice”), ECF No. 1. Also on January 23, 2013, Defendants filed an

Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. See Appl. Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP

Appl.”), ECF No. 2. Presently before the Court is JP Morgan’s Motion to Remand. Mot. Remand

(“Mot.”), ECF No. 4, re-filed as ECF No. 10. The Worrells have not filed an opposition. The

Court finds this matter appropriate for determination without oral argument and hereby VACATES

the hearing set for August 8, 2013. See Civil L.R. 7-1(b). For the reasons stated herein, the Court

GRANTS JP Morgan’s Motion to Remand. In addition, the Court DENIES the Worrells’

Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

I.

BACKGROUND

A.

Instant Action: Case No. 13-CV-00313-LHK

On January 23, 2013, the Worrells filed their Notice of Removal of the underlying state

court detainer action in this Court (hereinafter the “Instant Action”). See Notice. In so doing, the

Worrells failed to include the complaint which initiated the underlying state court detainer action.

But see 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (“A defendant or defendants desiring to remove any civil action from a

State court shall file in the district court of the United States for the district and division within

which such action is pending a notice of removal signed pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules

of Civil Procedure and containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, together

with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or defendants in such

action.”) (emphasis added). Also on January 23, 2013, Defendants filed an Application for Leave

to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. ECF No. 2.

The Worrells allege in the Notice of Removal that JP Morgan wrongfully foreclosed on

their residential property located at 3638 Gavota Avenue, San Jose, CA, by willfully ignoring an

automatic bankruptcy stay that was in force at the time. See Notice at 2. Consequently, the

Worrells request that this Court void the sale of the property that is the subject of the underlying

state court detainer action, restore title of the property to the Worrells, and order that JP Morgan

pay $187,000 in damages to the Worrells. See id. at 4.

Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK
ORDER GRANTING JP MORGAN’S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING WORELLS’ MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

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Case5:13-cv-00313-LHK Document12 Filed07/31/13 Page3 of 6



JP Morgan filed a Motion to Remand on February 15, 2013. ECF No. 4. On March 4,

2013, the Instant Action was reassigned to the undersigned judge. ECF No. 9. On March 27,

2013, JP Morgan re-filed the Motion to Remand that is presently before the Court. ECF No. 10.2

The Worrells failed to file an opposition to the Motion to Remand.

B.

Previous Action: Case No. 12-CV-04331-LHK

This is not the first time that the Worrells have sought recourse from this Court regarding

the underlying state court detainer action. Previously, on August 16, 2012, Defendant Margaret

Worrell filed a separate action, Margaret Paredes Worrell v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Case No. 12-

CV-04331-LHK (N.D. Cal. filed Aug. 16, 2012) (“Case No. 12-04331”), in which Worrell sought

an order from a federal court “compel[ling] the State Court to allow [her] or [her] attorney full and

unrestricted access” to documents that she believed were related to the underlying state court

detainer action. See Case No. 12-04331, Compl. at 3, ECF No. 1. On the same day that she filed

her Complaint in Case No. 12-04331, Defendant Worrell also filed an Application to Proceed In

Forma Pauperis. Case No. 12-04331, ECF No. 2.

Shortly after Worrell filed her initial Complaint in Case No. 12-04331, Worrell received the

documents that she requested. See Case No. 12-04331, Am. Compl. at 2, ECF No. 4. She then

filed an Amended Complaint, attached to which were a number of documents related to the state

court unlawful detainer action, including a Notice of Removal of the state court unlawful detainer

action. See id., Ex. B. at 2.

On November 15, 2012, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal issued a Report and

Recommendation in which he recommended that the Court deny Worrell’s request to proceed in

forma pauperis and recommended that the Court remand the case back to state court. See Case No.

12-04331, Report & Recommendation, ECF No. 8. On December 17, 2012, this Court adopted


2 As Exhibit 1 to JP Morgan’s Motion to Remand, JP Morgan filed a request for judicial notice of
a Deed of Trust which lists Margaret Ann Paredes Worrell as a borrower under the Trust, as well as
a Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale, recorded on December 27, 2011, as Instrument No. 21474416. See
ECF No. 10-1. As these documents “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose
accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned,” the Court GRANTS JP Morgan’s Request for Judicial
Notice pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b).

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Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK
ORDER GRANTING JP MORGAN’S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING WORELLS’ MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

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Case5:13-cv-00313-LHK Document12 Filed07/31/13 Page4 of 6



Judge Grewal’s Report and Recommendation in its entirety, thereby terminating Case No. 12-

04331. See Case No. 12-04331, ECF No. 10.

II.

DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Remand

“Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a

State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be

removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States. . . .” 28

U.S.C. § 1441(a). In an action that has been removed from state court, the removing defendant

bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper. See Provincial Gov’t of Marinduque v.

Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009). In the Instant Action, the Worrells allege,

as a basis for removal, that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction based on diversity jurisdiction

under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 “because none of the plaintiffs live in the same state as any of the

defendants AND the amount of damages are more than $75,000.00.” See Notice at 2. For the

reasons stated herein, the Court finds that it does not have diversity jurisdiction or any other basis

for subject matter jurisdiction. Consequently, the Court GRANTS JP Morgan’s Motion to

Remand.

1.

Diversity Jurisdiction

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, defendants seeking removal must show that they and the

plaintiff are not residents of the same state, and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Furthermore, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b), a defendant who is a state

resident cannot remove a civil action to a federal court in his state of residence based on diversity

jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2).

Here, the Worrells state in their Notice of Removal that, “[t]his lawsuit should be assigned

to [sic] San Jose Division of this Court because the [Worrells] reside[] in this area and the property

in question is located therein as well.” Notice at 2. Specifically, the Worrells identify their home

address as 3638 Gavota Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124. Id. at 1. As the Worrells are California

Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK
ORDER GRANTING JP MORGAN’S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING WORELLS’ MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

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Case5:13-cv-00313-LHK Document12 Filed07/31/13 Page5 of 6



residents, removal of the Instant Action based on diversity jurisdiction is improper. See 28 U.S.C.

§ 1441(b)(2). Accordingly, JP Morgan’s Motion to Remand is GRANTED.

2.

Federal Question Jurisdiction

As already noted, in an action that has been removed from state court, the removing

defendant bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper. See Placer Dome, 582 F.3d at

1087. Defendants in the Instant Action have not explicitly alleged any other basis for removal

other than diversity jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the Court briefly notes that federal question

jurisdiction also does not provide a basis for removal in this case.3

Federal courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions “arising under the Constitution,

laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A claim “arises under” federal law if,

based on the “well-pleaded complaint,” the plaintiff alleges a federal claim for relief. See Vaden v.

Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 60 (2009). It is well-settled that a case may not be removed to federal

court on the basis of a federal defense. See id.; see also Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers

Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983) (“[A] defendant may not remove a case to federal court

unless the plaintiff’s complaint establishes that the case ‘arises under’ federal law.”).

Here, JP Morgan’s case is grounded in California state law as the complaint asserts only a

single cause of action for unlawful detainer based on the California Code of Civil Procedure

§ 1161a. See Case No. 12-4331, ECF No. 4-1, at 29. As Plaintiff JP Morgan does not allege a

federal claim for relief, removal based on federal question jurisdiction is inappropriate. See Litton

Loan Servicing, L.P. v. Villegas, No. 10-05478, 2011 WL 204322, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Jan 21, 2011)

(remanding unlawful detainer action to state court based on lack of federal question jurisdiction)

(citing Evans v. Superior Court, 67 Cal. App. 3d 162, 168 (Cal. Ct. App. 1977)); Partners v.

Gonzalez, No. 10-02598, 2010 WL 3447678, at *2-3 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2010) (same).


3 In the Civil Cover sheet filed as an attachment to the Worrells’ Notice of Removal, the Worrells
indicate that they are filing under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, diversity jurisdiction, but also, contradictorily,
mark that the basis for jurisdiction is federal question jurisdiction. See ECF No. 1-1.
Consequently, the Court addresses this basis for subject matter jurisdiction in an abundance of
caution.

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Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK
ORDER GRANTING JP MORGAN’S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING WORELLS’ MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

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Case5:13-cv-00313-LHK Document12 Filed07/31/13 Page6 of 6



Nevertheless, the Worrells argue that JP Morgan “wrongfully foreclosed on [the Worrells’]

residential property . . . by ignoring an automatic stay which was in force based upon the

bankruptcy filing by [John Worrell]” pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). See Notice at 2. Defendants

appear to frame this as both a defense to JP Morgan’s unlawful detainer action as well as a

counterclaim that entitles them to damages. See id. at 2-4. Whether construed as a counterclaim or

as a defense, the Worrells’ argument does not confer this Court with subject matter jurisdiction

under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. See Vaden, 556 U.S. at 60 (“[A] federal counterclaim, even when

compulsory, does not establish ‘arising under’ jurisdiction.” ) (citing Holmes Grp., Inc. v. Vornado

Air Circulation Sys., Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 830-32 (2002)). Moreover, as already noted, a case may

not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense. See id.; Franchise Tax Bd., 463

U.S. at 10.

Accordingly, this Court does not have federal question jurisdiction over the Instant Action.

B.

Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

The Worrells also request to proceed in forma pauperis. See IFP Appl., ECF No. 2. As this

Court finds that there is no basis for jurisdiction over this case, there no basis on which to grant the

Worrells’ IFP application. Accordingly, the Court DENIES the Worrells’ Application to Proceed

In Forma Pauperis.

III. CONCLUSION



For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS JP Morgan’s Motion to Remand, and

DENIES the Worrells’ Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. The Worrells shall

be on notice that any future attempts to remove this unlawful detainer action again to Federal Court

may result in sanctions. This case is hereby REMANDED to the California Superior Court for the

County of Santa Clara. The Clerk shall close the file.

IT IS SO ORDERED.



Dated: July 31, 2013









_________________________________
LUCY H. KOH
United States District Judge



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Case No.: 13-CV-00313-LHK
ORDER GRANTING JP MORGAN’S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING WORELLS’ MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

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