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Federal National Mortgage Association v. Montanez

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 18, 2014

Federal National Mortgage Association, Plaintiff,
v.
Isabel Maria Montanez, John Doe, and Mary Roe, Defendants.

Gerald G. Workinger, Jr., and Kevin T. Dobie, Usset, Weingarden & Liebo PLLP, 4500 Park Glen Road, Suite 300, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Plaintiff.

William B. Butler, Butler Liberty Law, LLC, 33 South Sixth Street, Suite 4100, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Objection [Doc. No. 7] to United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes' December 19, 2013, Report and Recommendation ("R&R") [Doc. No. 6]. On sua sponte consideration of remand, the Magistrate Judge recommended that this action be remanded to Minnesota state district court. For the reasons set forth below, the Court overrules Defendants' Objection and adopts the R&R.

II. BACKGROUND

The Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation thoroughly documents the factual and procedural background of this case, and the Court incorporates it here by reference. Briefly stated, Plaintiff Federal National Mortgage Association brought this eviction action against Defendants on November 21, 2013, in Sherburne County District Court. The litigation concerns Defendants' former property in Elk River, Minnesota, which was subject to a mortgage foreclosure sale on March 13, 2013.

On December 3, 2013, Defendants removed this case to federal district court, asserting that this Court has original jurisdiction because Plaintiff is a federal agency under 12 U.S.C. § 1452(f). (Notice of Removal at 1-2 [Doc. No. 1].)

On December 19, 2013, the Magistrate Judge sua sponte considered remand and recommended that this action be remanded to Minnesota state district court. (Dec. 19, 2013, Report and Recommendation at 1 [Doc. No. 6].) Without deciding whether this case was properly removed under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 28 U.S.C. § 1345, the Magistrate Judge concluded that abstaining from exercising jurisdiction is appropriate. (Id. at 2.) Considering principles of comity, federalism, and judicial economy, the Magistrate Judge found abstention appropriate because this eviction action is "fundamentally a matter of state law, " and there was neither a federal interest in retaining the proceedings or a federal right at stake, nor any apparent prejudice with the case going forward in state court. (Id. at 5-6.) On December 20, 2013, Defendants objected to the Magistrate Judge's R&R. (Objection [Doc. No. 7].)

On January 2, 2014, Plaintiff moved to dismiss Defendant Montanez's counterclaims. (Pl.'s Mot. to Dismiss Def. Isabel Maria Montanez's Countercl. [Doc. No. 8].) On January 23, 2014, Defendant Montanez opposed this motion. (Mem. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Doc. No. 13].) On February 3, 2013, Plaintiff filed a reply brief in support of its motion to dismiss. (Pl.'s Reply Mem. [Doc. No. 15].)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

A party "may file and serve specific written objections to a magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations." D.Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). The district court will review de novo those portions of the R&R to which an objection is made, and it "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b)(3); D.Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). ...


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