United States District Court, D. Maryland
JEFFREY B. FISHER, et al. Plaintiffs,
RHODA M. STANLEY, et al. Defendants.
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 5, 2016, pro se defendant Rhoda Stanley filed a
Notice of Removal (ECF 1), seeking to remove to this Court
foreclosure proceeding filed in the Circuit Court for Harford
County, Maryland. That foreclosure case, Fisher, et al.
v. Stanley, et al, . Case No. 12-C-13-003087, was
initiated in State court on September 27, 2013. See
ECF 1-3; ECF 6. A review of the state court docket shows that
the substitute trustees, as plaintiffs, filed the foreclosure
proceeding against August and Rhoda Stanley, in connection
with a residential property located on Priestford Road in
about January 7, 2015, a certification of the publication of
the foreclosure sale was entered on the state court docket.
And, on September 22, 2016, Branch Banking and Trust Company
(“BB&T”), as Movant, filed a motion for
judgment awarding possession, pursuant to Maryland Rules
2-311 and 14-102. See ECF 2. BB&T asserts that
it bought the Stanleys' property on Priestford Road at a
foreclosure sale held on January 6, 2015. Id. ¶
1. Further, that sale was ratified by the Circuit Court for
Harford County on February 19, 2015. Id. ¶ 2.
civil cover sheet completed by Ms. Stanley (ECF 1-1)
indicates that Ms. Stanley relies on diversity jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 to support removal. However, the
plaintiffs and defendants all appear to be domiciled in
Maryland. Ms. Stanley also asserts that the cause of action
is based on “civil rights, ” although she did not
check the box for federal question jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1331.
Ms. Stanley appears indigent, her motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis (ECF 4) shall be granted. But, upon review
of the materials and state court docket, I shall remand the
case to the Circuit Court for Harford County.
Notice of Removal, Ms. Stanley complains of a violation of
her due process rights and her right to equal protection. In
particular, she maintains that “Plaintiff . . . seeks
to evict Defendant from the real property, ” without
legal basis. ECF 1 at 3. Moreover, she claims that
“plaintiff is not a bona fide purchaser. . . .”
Id. In addition, she states, id.:
“Plaintiff, and plaintiff's attorney, are not
proceeding in the manner required by the Code of Civil
Procedure, and particularly the rules in evidence . . .
.” ECF 1 at 3. She is clearly unhappy that
“Plaintiff is now moving for judgment. . . even while
Defendant was formerly in negotiations with Plaintiff.”
Id. She adds: “Plaintiff's counsel
therefore has, in effect, used their knowledge of the law in
attempting to prevent Defendant from fully and accurately
presenting her case.” Id. at 4.
ignores the long history of this foreclosure case. The Motion
for Judgment Awarding Possession was filed in that case.
See ECF 2.
Section 1441(a) of 28 U.S.C. provides:
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) provides:
A motion to remand the case on the basis of any defect other
than lack of subject matter jurisdiction must be made within
30 days after the filing of the notice of removal under
section 1446(a). If at any time before final
judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. An order
remanding the case may require payment of just costs and any
actual expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as a
result of the removal. A certified copy of the order of
remand shall be mailed by the clerk to the clerk of the State
court. The State court may thereupon proceed with such case.
a case must be removed within 30 days of the receipt of the
initial pleading by the defendants. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b).
Here, removal occurred more than three years after the action
was initiated in state court.
action filed in state court may be removed to federal court
if it is one over which the district court has original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The burden of
demonstrating jurisdiction and propriety of removal rests
with the removing party. Dixon v. Coburg Dairy,
Inc.,369 F.3d 811, 815 (4th Cir. 2004); see also
McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408 (4th Cir.
2010); Robb Evans & Assocs., LLC v. Holibaugh,
609 F.3d 359, 362 (4th Cir. 2010). Thus, “[i]f a
plaintiff files suit in state court and the defendant seeks
to adjudicate the matter in federal court through removal, it
is the defendant who carries the burden of alleging in his