The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lee, District Judge.
This case has been reassigned to this member of the Court for
The matter presently before the Court is the plaintiff's
Motion to remand to the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County,
Pennsylvania, pursuant to 28 U.S.Code, § 1447(c) an action to
quiet title brought by the plaintiff against four individual
defendants and two apparent corporate defendants organized in
the Cayman Islands, British West Indies.
The subject property is situate at 361 East End Avenue,
Borough of Beaver, County of Beaver, Pennsylvania, and was
purchased by the plaintiff from the United States of America
which had seized the premises for nonpayment of Internal
Revenue taxes due from the defendant, Harold W. Brobeck
(Brobeck). The plaintiff and the individual defendants are all
residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Brobeck filed a Petition to remove the action to the United
States District Court on the basis that it is related to
pending Civil Action No. 87-2017 and "is a federal question
because title in the plaintiffs (sic) rests upon the validity
of a seizure and sale of the real estate by the Internal
Revenue Service (IRS)."
The other defendants did not join in the removal petition of
Civil Action No. 87-2017 was brought by the United States of
America against Brobeck to reduce to judgment certain federal
income tax liabilities assessed against Brobeck in an amount of
$724,177.02 plus interest.
In that action, Brobeck filed a counterclaim challenging the
underlying assessments on which the seizure of the subject
property was based and seeks compensatory and punitive damages
for the wrongful levy and seizure of his property.
The plaintiff does not name the Internal Revenue Service as
a party, raises no issue as to the authority or right of the
Internal Revenue Service to have conveyed the subject property
to the plaintiff, nor is there involved any encumbrance or lien
of the Internal Revenue Service against the property.
The plaintiff's Motion to remand will be granted for the
reasons hereinafter set forth.*fn1
Brobeck has not met his burden of establishing grounds for
federal jurisdiction in this case, which jurisdiction must be
determined by applying the "well pleaded Complaint rule."
The plaintiff's Motion for remand effectively forces
defendant — the party who invoked the Federal Court's removal
jurisdiction — to prove whatever is necessary to support the
Petition, e.g., the existence of diversity, the amount in
controversy or the federal nature of the claim. Salveson v.
Western States Bankcard Association (N.D.Cal. 1981),
525 F. Supp. 566, B., Inc. v. Miller Brewing Company (5th Cir.
1981), 663 F.2d 545.
The removal statutes are construed restrictively, so as to
limit removal jurisdiction. Doubts as to removability are
resolved in favor of remanding the case to the state court.
Shamrock Oil and Gas Corporation v. Sheets (1941),
313 U.S. 100, 61 S.Ct. 868, 85 L.Ed. 1214; Hedges v. Legal Services
Corporation (N.D.Cal. 1987), 663 F. Supp. 300.
The reason for strict construction is to prevent waste of
judicial resources, i.e., if it turns out that there is no
"federal question" or "diversity," the Federal Court's judgment
would have to be set aside on appeal. Jurisdictional concerns
can be avoided by remanding to state courts which have general
jurisdiction. Wenger ...