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Spring Garden Associates, L.P. v. Resolution Trust Corp.

filed: June 6, 1994.

SPRING GARDEN ASSOCIATES, L.P., APPELLANT
v.
RESOLUTION TRUST CORPORATION, IN ITS CAPACITY AS RECEIVER OF BELL FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK, PA S.A.; JAY M. GROSS; NATHANIEL D. GROSS; GARY L. WILSON



On Appeal From the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Civil Action No. 93-00205).

Before: Stapleton and Scirica, Circuit Judges, and Smith, District Judge*fn*

Author: Stapleton

Opinion OF THE COURT

STAPLETON, Circuit Judge:

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA") authorizes the Resolution Trust Corporation ("RTC") to remove certain actions from state court to federal court:

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. The removal of any such suit or proceeding shall be instituted--

(i)not later than 90 days after the date the Corporation is substituted as a party, or

(ii) not later than 30 days after service on the Corporation, if the Corporation is named as a party in any capacity and if such suit is filed after August 9, 1989.

12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(3)(A). This case requires us to review a district court's application of FIRREA's RTC removal provision to an action by a borrower against a savings bank (now under RTC receivership) and its directors. We find the district court's result correct and will affirm.

I.

Spring Garden Associates ("Spring Garden") filed this suit in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas against Bell Saving Bank ("Bell") and its directors, following a dispute over a $9 million loan from Bell to Spring Garden. The five-count complaint sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief prohibiting Bell from foreclosing on the loan, specific performance of the loan agreement, and damages for Bell's alleged failure to extend credit under that agreement.*fn1 The court of common pleas entered a "Temporary Restraining Order"*fn2 against all of the defendants.

In March 1991, the Treasury Department's Office of Thrift Supervision appointed the RTC conservator and, later, receiver of Bell. On January 12, 1993, the RTC filed a petition for substitution with the court of common pleas. This petition was followed on January 14, 1993, by removal of the case to the district court pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(3). The RTC then filed a motion in district court to vacate the state court injunction, arguing that 12 U.S.C. § 1821(j) expressly prohibited injunctions against the RTC.

Before the district court ruled on the RTC's motion, Spring Garden filed a motion to remand to state court. Spring Garden argued that the RTC had failed to file its notice of removal within the time limit provided by 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(3). Spring Garden further urged that 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(1), the statute conferring original jurisdiction on the district courts in RTC cases,*fn3 did not confer federal jurisdiction over its claims against Bell's directors and, accordingly, that the case had been improperly removed.

The district court denied Spring Garden's motion to remand and granted the RTC's motion to vacate the injunction. The dissolution of the state court injunction was based on 12 U.S.C. ยง 1821(j), which substantially restricts the authority of a court to ...


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