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Vogrin v. Pinder

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 10, 2017

MICHAELVOGRIN Plaintiff,
v.
KAREEMA PINDER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen Lipton Hollander United States District Judge

         On April 22, 2016, Michael Vogrin, plaintiff, filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City against defendant Kareema Pinder, alleging breach of contract and negligence. ECF 2 (Complaint); ECF 4 (Amended Complaint). Pinder, who is self-represented, removed the case to this Court on February 8, 2017. ECF 1. As grounds for jurisdiction, Pinder asserts, inter alia, federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. S 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.§1367. Id. at 1.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, I shall remand the case to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.[1]

         I. Factual and Procedural Background [2]

         Vogrin resides in Harford County, Maryland. ECF 4 ~ 3. Pinder resides in Baltimore City. Id.¶ 4.

         On May 25, 2012, Pinder entered in a residential apartment lease (the "Lease") with Vogrin to rent "a parcel of land with improvemenss known as 3603 Rexmere Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21218" ("Premises"), "at the rate of$1, 195.00 per month." Id.¶ 5. The Lease was for a term of seven months, beginning on June 1, 2012. Id.¶ 6. However, the Lease provided that if the tenant remained on the property beyond the term of the lease, the tenant would have a month-to-month tenancy. Id.

         Further, the Lease provided for payment of rent on the first day of each month. Id.¶ 5. And, if the rent payment was not timely received, the tenant would be assessed 5% of the unpaid rent amount. Id. ~ 7. Rent that was more than five days late would earn interest at the rate of 1.5% per month. Id. The Lease provided a $25.00 penalty for dishonored checks. Id. ~ 8.

         Additionally, the Lease stated that the tenant shall, inter alia, "comply with all laws and housing, health and police regulations with respect to said Premises." Id. ¶ 9 (emphasis omitted). Furthermore, the lease included that tenant "shall indemnify and hold harmless Landlord for all expenses (including attorney's fees), liabilities, damages, losses, settlement payments, or fines incurred . . . ." Id. (emphasis omitted). Defendant was also responsible for electricity and water bills. Id.¶10.

         Defendant moved into the Premises on June 1, 2012. Id. ¶ 13. After seven months, the defendant elected to continue living at the Premises, as a month-to-month tenant. Id. On May I, 2013, plaintiff and defendant verbally agreed to reduce the rent from $1, 195.00 per month to $1, 000 per month. Id. ¶14. Defendant vacated the Premises at some point in April 2015. Id. ¶ 16.

         From January 1, 2013 until April 1, 2015, defendant made sporadic monthly rental payments, with a total of $23, 620.00 remaining due in rent. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. The Complaint also asserts that defendant owes $1, 181.00 in penalties for late rent; $24, 801.00 in interest for unpaid rent; and $100.00 in penalties for four returned rent checks. Id. ¶¶ 20-22. Furthermore, defendant failed to pay electric bills and water bills, leaving a balance due of $4, 779.94 for electric bills and $1, 530.52 for water bills. Id.¶ 23.

         Moreover, while defendant occupied the Premises, she "failed to comply with several laws and housing, health, and police regulations with respect to said Premises", incurring fines totalling $830.00. Id. ¶ 24. And, because the fines were not paid in a timely fashion, they became subject to treble penalties, amounting to $2, 050.00. Id. ~ 26.

         In his Amended Complain,, Vogrin asserts claims for breach of contract (id ¶¶ 29-33) and negligence. Id. ¶¶ 34-39. The Amended Complaint seeks, inter alia, $50, 000 in damages and attorneys' fees. Id. at 6, 8

         As noted, Vogrin filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on April 22, 2016. ECF 2. Pinder did not file her Notice of Removal with this Court until February 8, 2017. ECF 1.[3]

         II. ...


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