United States District Court, D. Maryland
EDWARD S. COHN, et al., Plaintiffs,
JOHN HARDING, Defendant
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 2, 2017, John Harding, defendant, removed the above
captioned case to this court from the Circuit Court for
Frederick County. ECF No. 2. The case, which concerns
foreclosure proceedings initiated by substitute trustees
against the property of John Harding, was filed in the
Circuit Court for Frederick County on July 16, 2015. ECF No.
3 at 1. The property at issue was sold on May 12, 2017, and
the Circuit Court for Frederick County entered a judgment of
possession in favor of the plaintiffs on November 1, 2017.
ECF No. 3 at 6, 9.
maintains that he has been denied due process and equal
protection on the basis of a wrongful foreclosure. ECF No. 2,
¶ 4. He asserts federal question jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), only actions “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.” See also Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Federal courts have
original jurisdiction over two kinds of civil actions-those
which are founded on a claim or right arising under the
Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States, and
those where the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000 and is
between citizens of different States. U.S. Const. art. III,
§ 2; 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332(a) (2012). If a
civil action is not based on a question of federal law, then
a federal court may only exercise original jurisdiction based
on diversity of citizenship. The purpose of the diversity
requirement “is to provide a federal forum for
important disputes where state courts might favor, or be
perceived as favoring, home-state litigants. The presence of
parties from the same State on both sides of a case dispels
this concern.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah
Servs., 545 U.S. 546, 553-54 (2005).
issue here, foreclosure, does not generally implicate federal
law, and there is nothing in the removal notice otherwise
suggesting that a federal question exists in this particular
case. Although Harding alleges that he “has been
repeatedly denied due process and equal protection from the
inception of the reverse mortgage that is the basis for this
wrongful foreclosure, ” ECF No. 2 at 1, such an
assertion does not confer federal question jurisdiction, as
federal question jurisdiction “cannot be predicated on
an actual or anticipated defense . . . . Nor can federal
jurisdiction rest upon an actual or anticipated
counterclaim.” Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556
U.S. 49, 60 (2009).
it is plain that the requirements for diversity jurisdiction
are not satisfied, as the docket sheet from the Circuit Court
for Frederick County indicates that the parties are domiciled
in Maryland. Thus, removal is inappropriate, as this court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the
light of this Court's disposition, I decline to address
Harding's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
See ECF 4. An Order follows.
 In the Clerk's Office Notice filed
November 13, 2017, the Clerk states that the original
complaint is missing. ECF No. 1. I note that, in the Notice
of Removal, Harding asserts, ECF No. 2, ¶ 5, that
judgment was entered the day prior to removal, and he
“begs the Court's indulgence while further
supporting documents are copied and labeled . . . .” In
any event, it is highly unlikely, given the nature
(foreclosure) of the proceeding, that the complaint raises a
 As indicated, Harding's notice of
removal was filed over two years beyond the time period
allowed under § 1446(b)(1). The Court is mindful that,
where removal is based on a defect other than a lack of
jurisdiction, the defect must be asserted in a party's
timely motion to remand. See Ellenburg v. Spartan Motor
Chassis, Inc., 519 F.3d 192, 196-97 (4th Cir.
Nevertheless, the Court observes that removal is quite
untimely. In general, a defendant must file the notice of
removal of the civil action either
within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant,
through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial
pleading . . ., or within 30 days after the service of
summons upon the defendant if such initial pleading has been
filed in court and is not required to be served on the
defendant, whichever period is shorter.
28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1). As the United States
Court of Appeals has clearly explained, “untimely
removal is a defect in removal procedure.” Cades v.
H&R Block, Inc., 43 F.3d 869, 873 (4th Cir. 1994).
That defect “renders a case improperly removed.”
Link Telecomms., Inc. v. Sapperstein, 119 F.Supp.2d
536, 542 (D. Md. 2000) (citing Huffman ...