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Chamberlain Home Owners Association v. Green

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 4, 2019

Chamberlain Home Owners Association, Plaintiff,
v.
Carl Green, et al., Defendants.

          NIGEL MENDEZ, CARLSON & ASSOCIATES, LTD., FOR PLAINTIFF

          CARL GREEN, PRO SE DEFENDANT

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DAVID T. SCHULTZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Chamberlain Home Owners Association's (Chamberlain) Motion to Remand to State Court and for an award of fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Docket No. 4. A hearing was held on October 1, 2019, at which Defendant Carl Green failed to appear. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends that Chamberlain's motion be granted, this case be remanded to state court, and that Chamberlain be awarded fees and costs.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         Chamberlain filed an Eviction Action Complaint in Washington County District Court on June 19, 2019. Complaint, Docket No. 1-1. Chamberlain emailed a copy of the Summons and Complaint to Green on June 24, 2019, and Green acknowledged receipt. Mendez Decl. ¶ 2, Docket No. 9. The action was heard on July 3, 2019, and the state district court issued a final order of judgment in Chamberlain's favor, finding that Green defaulted on the mortgage and the property was sold at a Sheriff's sale. Id. ¶ 3 and Ex. A, Docket Nos. 9, 9-1. Green failed to appear in court. Id. Ex. A, Docket No. 9-1.

         Green appealed the order on July 9, 2019. Id. ¶¶ 5-6, Docket No. 9. Green also requested a stay of the execution of the writ, and a hearing was set for and took place on August 5, 2019. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. Green failed to appear at the state district court hearing. Id. ¶ 9.

         On July 31, 2019 Green removed this case to federal court alleging federal question jurisdiction. Notice of Removal ¶¶ 2-3, Docket No. 1. Specifically, Green alleged that “a federal question appears on the face of the initial pleading filed” and that the “lawsuit is a Civil Action within the meaning of the Acts of Congress relating to removal of causes” and “[t]herefore, federal question jurisdiction exists . . . because the resolution of Defendant's claim will require adjudication of disputed questions of federal law.” Id. On August 5, 2019 Green filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO). Docket No. 2.

         On August 6, Chamberlain moved to remand the case to state court, asserting that the removal was untimely and that its state court eviction complaint does not state any federal question. Motion, Docket No. 4; Pl. Br. 3, Docket No. 8. On August 7, 2019 Chamberlain filed a Notice of Hearing stating that the remand motion would be heard on October 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Amended Notice of Hearing, Docket No. 7. Chamberlain was unable to meet and confer with Green about the remand motion, as Green instructed Chamberlain's counsel not to contact him by email or phone. Meet-and-Confer Statement, Docket No. 11. Chamberlain sent Green a letter by U.S. mail on August 5, 2019 regarding the motion. Id.

         On or about August 7, 2019, Chambers staff spoke with Green by telephone and advised him that the Court could not rule on his TRO motion until the threshold issue of the Court's subject matter jurisdiction over this case is resolved. Green was unwilling to waive the 42-day notice on the remand motion, which would have allowed an earlier hearing date. Rather, Green stated that he would file his TRO motion in another federal lawsuit he has pending in federal court in the District of Minnesota.

         On August 15, 2019 Chamberlain filed a memorandum of law opposing Green's TRO motion. Docket No. 12.

         On August 19, 2019 Green filed two responses to Chamberlain's remand motion, but they did not address Chamberlain's legal arguments regarding the lack of a federal question in the complaint that was removed. See Docket Nos. 20-21. Rather, Green simply asserted in a conclusory way that Chamberlain's lawsuit violates his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and various Civil Rights statutes, and that there is a “federal ingredient” in this case that authorizes jurisdiction. Docket No. 20 at 1, 3; Docket No. 21 at 1-2. Most of Green's response consists of arguments and complaints regarding the state court eviction proceedings and participants, the same proceedings for which he failed to appear, along with copies of Green's filings in state court and in another federal lawsuit, District of Minnesota No. 19-cv-1666. See Docket No. 20.

         That same day, August 19, 2019, Green filed a second TRO motion, along with a memorandum of law and affidavit in support [Docket Nos. 15-19], despite the Court's previous instructions that Chamberlain's remand motion must be resolved first, to determine the threshold question of whether the Court has jurisdiction over this lawsuit. Green continued to file documents related to his TRO motions. His Opposition to Remand asserted that his TRO motion was “set to be heard before this court on October 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. the same time as Plaintiff's motion to remand.” Docket No. 21 at 1. Green also filed a notice that stated his TRO motion would be heard “on October 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.” Docket No. 15.

         On August 23, 2019 Chamberlain filed a reply to Green's opposition to ...


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