United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
C. Lamberth United States District Judge
the Court is defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
against all claims asserted by plaintiff Jessica
Lopez-Garcia. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 9. Having
considered the motion, responses, replies, exhibits, filings,
and applicable law, the Court will grant the defendant's
case involves the preclusion of foreclosure on the homestead
of decedent Jesus Garza Jr. Plaintiff Jessica Garcia Lopez,
Administratrix and heir of decedent's estate, contends
that in 2005 the decedent executed a Texas Home Equity note
with Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, and that he timely paid
payments each month until his death on July 11, 2011. Compl.
1-2, ECF No. 1-1. Plaintiff alleges that after her
appointment as Administratrix of his estate on February 10,
2012, she continued to make payments according to the loan
agreement. Id. at 2.
claims that on or about November 2014, the successor lender
began refusing to accept premium payments that were being
made on a regular basis-premium payments supposedly made as
payment for a credit life insurance policy. Id.
Plaintiff claims that in mid-2014 she received a verbal
explanation that the decedent never had a credit life
insurance policy, and that was why the lender was refusing
the premium payments. Id. Plaintiff does not dispute
the fact that she has made no payments on the loan since
November 2013. PL's Resp. to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J.
7, ECF No. 13.
November 2015, plaintiff was served regarding the foreclosure
of decedent's house based on the loan agreement.
Plaintiff claims that a credit life insurance policy was
issued to the decedent at the time of the loan, the premiums
were paid for that policy, and on death of the decedent that
claim was neither paid nor properly denied. Compl. 2.
January 29, 2016, plaintiff filed the present action against
Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Argent
Services, Inc., Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates Series
2005-W5, in the 288th Judicial District Court of Bexar
County, Texas. Id. at 3. Plaintiff alleged the
following: (1) that defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust
Company is in conflict of interest with its wholly owned
affiliate, Credit Life Insurance Company; (2) that
defendant breached the deed of trust by not demanding payment
from its affiliate while collecting premiums on the
affiliate's behalf; (3) that defendant breached its
contract and fiduciary duty, as well as the Texas Insurance
Code, by failing to promptly pay the claim upon notice of the
death of Jesus Garza Jr.; (4) that defendant has, by a series
of acts and omissions, violated the provisions of the Texas
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (TDCA); (5) that defendant
has, by violating the TDCA, engaged in false, misleading, and
deceptive practices declared unlawful by the Texas Deceptive
Trade Practices Act (DTP A); and (6) that defendant has
breached the terms of the Deed of Trust and the insurance
policy. Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff seeks injunctive
relief from the foreclosure, as well as actual and exemplary
damages from the above claims. Id. at 5.
March 1, 2016, defendant removed the action to this Court on
the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Def.'s Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 1. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company has
filed a motion for summary judgment as to each of plaintiffs
claims. The parties have filed responsive pleadings, and this
Court is now prepared to review the defendant's motion.
However, plaintiff also moved to remand on the basis that
this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. This Court will
address each motion separately, and will review the
jurisdictional issue first.
Court first attends to plaintiffs claim that this case should
be remanded to probate court on concerns of a lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction. PL's Resp. to Def.'s
Mot. for Summ. J. Defendant removed this case on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441.
District courts have jurisdiction in diversity
actions-actions between citizens of different states that
involve an amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000. 28
U.S.C. § 1332. A national bank, for diversity purposes,
"is a citizen of the State in which its main office, as
set for the in the articles of association, is located."
Wachovia Bank, N.A. v. Schmidt, 546 U.S 303, 307
(2006). Deutsche Bank National Trust Company is a national
banking association "organized under federal law with
its main office in Los Angeles, as designated in its Articles
of Association." Def.'s Notice of Removal 4, ECF No.
1. Therefore, defendant is a citizen of California for
diversity purposes. Natural persons are considered a citizen
of the state where that person is domiciled, and where the
person has an intent to remain indefinitely. See Freeman
v. Nw. Acceptance Corp., 754 F.2d 553, 555-56 (5th Cir.
1985). Plaintiff is a resident of Texas, and therefore a
citizen of Texas for diversity purposes. Plaintiff is seeking
damages in excess of $100, 000, which exceeds the statutory
requirement of $75, 000. Def.'s Notice of Removal 3. The
Court, therefore, finds that diversity jurisdiction exists.
plaintiff argues that this case was not properly removed, as
there is no "specific statutory or case authority in
Texas authorizing persons to deal directly with heirs without
any probate court action of any type." PL's Resp. to
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. 10. However, as this case does
not require the Court to probate or annul a will, administer
the decedent's estate, or dispose of property in the
custody of the probate court, diversity jurisdiction is not
precluded. See Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293,
298 (2006) (restricting broad interpretations of the probate
exception). The plaintiffs request to remand to probate court
on the basis of a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction will be
Court now considers defendant's Motion for Summary
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is proper when the evidence shows "that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The main purpose of summary judgment is
to dispose of factually unsupported claims and ...