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Shastry v. U.S. Bank National Association

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

March 2, 2017

MAHESH SHASTRY f/k/a MAHESH GOPALAKRISHNA and SURYAKALAR R. SHASTRY f/k/a SURYAKALA R. HOSANAGRA, Plaintiffs,
v.
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE TO WACHOVIA BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS TRUSTEE FOR WELLS FARGO ASSET SECURITIES CORPORATION, MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES SERIES 2005-AR16, Defendant.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          DAVID L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case has been referred to the United States magistrate judge for pretrial management pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from Senior United States District Judge A. Joe Fish. The undersigned issues the following findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation on the Court's subject matter jurisdiction.

         Background

         On October 19, 2016, Plaintiffs Mahesh Shastry and Suryakala R. Shastry filed a petition in the 68th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas. See Dkt. No. 1-5. On October 24, 2016, they filed an amended petition. See Dkt. No. 1-7. In this breach of contract and quiet title action, Plaintiffs seek to stop Defendant U.S. Bank National Association, as Successor Trustee to Wachovia Bank National Association as Trustee for Wells Fargo Asset Securities Corporation, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Series 2005-AR16, from foreclosing on their property. See Id. They seek both monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief. See id.

         U.S. Bank removed the case to federal court on November 30, 2016 based solely on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. See Dkt. No. 1.

         The Court has “an independent obligation to ensure that [it] do[es] not exceed the scope of [its] subject-matter jurisdiction.” Henderson ex rel. Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U.S. 428, 434 (2011). Accordingly, on December 2, 2016, the Court ordered the parties to each submit briefs to determine whether the Court has diversity jurisdiction in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Americold Realty Trust v. Conagra Foods, Inc., 136 S.Ct. 1012 (2016), and other recent decisions following Americold. See Dkt. No. 4.

         In response, Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand, see Dkt. No. 9, and U.S. Bank filed a response in opposition to the motion to remand, see Dkt. No. 14.

         U.S. Bank maintains that removal was proper and argues that it is the citizenship of the trustee, U.S. Bank, that controls for diversity purposes.

         Plaintiffs disagree and argue that, in this case, U.S. Bank, as trustee, is a nominal party and that it is the citizenship of the certificate holders in the trust that controls for diversity purposes.

         The undersigned now concludes that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction in this action and that the case should thus proceed in federal court.

         Legal Standards

         A party may remove an action from state court to federal court if the federal court possesses subject matter jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000 and the parties are completely diverse. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The parties are not diverse “if one of the plaintiffs shares the same citizenship as any one of the defendants.” Corfield v. Dallas Glen Hills LP, 355 F.3d 853, 857 (5th Cir. 2003).

         When determining if it has federal jurisdiction, the Court focuses on the plaintiff's pleadings “as they existed at the time of removal.” See Manguno v. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir. 2002). But the court “may be required to survey the entire record ... and base its ruling on the complaint, or undisputed facts, and on its resolution of disputed facts.” Aquafaith Shipping, Ltd. v. Jarrillas, 963 F.2d 806, 808 (5th Cir. 1992). Any “ambiguities are construed against ...


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