United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RUDOLPH M. TOUSSAINT, Plaintiff
SETERUS, INC. and SERVICE LINK FIELD SERVICES, LLC, Defendants
M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court for disposition is the motion to remand to state
court filed by Defendant Service Link Field Services, LLC
(hereinafter “Service Link”). For the reasons
which follow, we will deny the motion, but order Defendant
Seterus to clarify the citizenship of Defendant Service Link.
amended complaint, which stands as the operative pleading in
this matter, indicates that plaintiff had a home mortgage
through Defendant Seterus, Inc. and that Defendant Service
Link provided the loan servicing. Plaintiff evidently fell
behind in his payments on the mortgage, although he claims to
have been “making timely Trial Modification
payments”. (Doc. 6, Am. Compl. ¶ 8).
amended complaint asserts that on February 7, 2017, he
entered his home to find that it had been burglarized and
vandalized. (Doc. 6, Am. Compl. ¶ 4). The Pennsylvania
State Police investigated the incident. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that the burglary caused $63, 305.00 in
damages as to stolen items and $14, 000.00 as to damaged
items. (Id. ¶ 5). The grand total of the
damages is $77, 305.00. (Id.)
alleges that it was the defendants who took and/or damaged
the property. The defendants evidently perceived the home as
unoccupied and Defendant Service Link, who deemed plaintiff
to be in default on the mortgage, changed the lock on the
house and proceeded to otherwise secure and winterize the
home. (Id. ¶¶ 6-8). Defendants took action
without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff who claims
the building was in fact occupied. (Id. ¶ 89).
Based upon these facts, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging
causes of action for negligence against both defendants and
conversion against Defendant Service Link.
filed the original complaint in the Monroe County Court of
Common Pleas. (Doc. 1, Notice of Removal ¶ 1). Defendant
Seterus removed the action to this court on March 11, 2019 on
the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Id.) Plaintiff
then filed an Amended Complaint on March 30, 2019. (Doc. 6).
The defendants answered the complaint and the court held a
case management conference on May 30, 2019. (Doc. 17, Sched.
November 14, 2019, Defendant Service Link filed a motion to
remand the case to state court. Defendant Seterus and the
plaintiff each filed replies to the motion to remand. (Docs.
23 & 24). Defendant Seterus has filed a brief in
opposition to the motion for remand, and Defendant Service
Link filed a reply to that brief, bringing the case to its
courts, being courts of limited jurisdiction, have a
continuing duty to satisfy themselves of jurisdiction before
addressing the merits of a case. Packard v. Provident
Nat'l Bank, 994 F.2d 1039, 1049 (3d Cir. 1993)
cert. denied sub nom Upp v. Mellon Bank, N.A., 510
U.S. 964 (1993). Generally, a defendant can remove a civil
action originally filed in state court if the federal court
would have had original jurisdiction to address the matter.
28 U.S.C. § 1441. Once a case is removed, the federal
court may remand if the court determines that it lacks
federal subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c). Removal statutes are to be strictly
construed against removal, and all doubts should be resolved
in favor of remand. Boyer v. Snap-On Tools Corp.,
913 F.2d 108, 111 (3d Cir. 1990).
burden of establishing jurisdiction in the removal situation
rests with the removing defendant. Kaufman v. Allstate
N.J., Ins. Co., 561 F.3d 144, 151 (3d Cir. 2009)
(“We require the party seeking to remove to federal
court to demonstrate federal jurisdiction.”). In the
notice of removal, the defendant indicates that this court
has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc.
1, Notice of Removal). Pursuant to this statutory section,
jurisdiction is proper in federal district court where the
action involves citizens of different states and an amount in
controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, in excess of
$75, 000.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Service Link seeks remand of this case for several reasons
which we can break down into the following three categories:
1) Defendant Seterus failed to file a timely brief in
opposition to remand; 2) Defendant Seterus did not properly
establish that it obtained Defendant Service Link's
consent to remove this case; and 3) Seterus failed to
establish that this court has jurisdiction. We will address
these issues separately.
noted above, the moving Defendant Service Link raises three