APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA. (D.C. Civil No. 92-01754).
Before: Scirica, Cowen, and Weis, Circuit Judges.
After substituting itself as plaintiff in a suit pending before a state appellate court, the Resolution Trust Corporation, a federal agency, removed the case to the United States District Court. Reading the statute as permitting removal only when Resolution Trust was a defendant, the district court remanded to the state court. We reverse, construing the statute as enlarging Resolution Trust's venue options rather than restricting its power to remove. In the absence of applicable procedural rules, we adopt supervisory rules to aid district courts in Disposition of cases removed after judgment in state courts.
The First Home Savings Association prevailed in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding instituted in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, against A. Richard Nernberg and others. Nernberg then appealed to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. After briefs had been filed but before that court reached the appeal, Resolution Trust, as conservator of First Home, took control of the litigation and removed the case to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on August 11, 1992.
The district court concluded that the removal statute applicable to Resolution Trust, 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(3)(A), did not govern when Resolution Trust was plaintiff and, accordingly, remanded the case to the state court. Resolution Trust has appealed pursuant to the specific provision of the removal statute, id. § 1441a(l)(3)(C), which allows the corporation to challenge a remand order.
The removal statute in effect as of February 1, 1992, and applicable to the case at hand reads:
"(A) In general. The Corporation, in any capacity and without bond or security, may remove any action, suit, or proceeding from a State court to the United States district court with jurisdiction over the place where the action, suit, or proceeding is pending, to the United States district court for the District of Columbia, or to the United States district court with jurisdiction over the principal place of business of any institution for which the Corporation has been appointed conservator or receiver if the action, suit, or proceeding is brought against the institution or the Corporation as conservator or receiver of such institution."
Id. § 1441a(l)(3)(A). The district court read the last clause of the statute, "if the action, suit, or proceeding is brought against the institution or the Corporation as conservator or receiver," as limiting the removal power to only those actions in which Resolution Trust or a failed institution is defendant, regardless of which of the three venues is chosen.
Resolution Trust, on the other hand, reads the statute as one establishing a broad venue rather than one narrowing the power to remove. Resolution Trust would essentially have this Court use the following format for the statutory language:
(1) to the district court in the district where the state court suit was filed; or
(2) to the district court for the District of Columbia; or
(3) to the district court where the principal office of the institution is located if the action is brought against the institution or Resolution Trust as conservator or receiver.
Read in this style, the statute would permit removal in instances (1) and (2) when Resolution Trust is either plaintiff or defendant. Removal to the third venue, on the other hand, could only be effected if Resolution Trust is defendant. After looking to the language and purpose of section 1441a(l)(3)(A), we find that the district ...