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Brown v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

June 30, 2015

NATASHA POWELL BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS, TRUSTEE FOR ARGENT SECURITIES, INC. ASSET-BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, Series 2003-W8; HOMEWARD RESIDENTIAL, INC., F/K/A AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC.; CITI RESIDENTIAL LENDING, INC.; ADAMS & EDENS; L&M, LLC; and JOHNS & JANE DOES, 1-100, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

CARLTON W. REEVES, District Judge.

Before the Court are a motion to dismiss by Defendant Citi Residential Lending, Inc. ("Citi") [Docket No. 7]; a motion to dismiss by Defendant Homeward Residential, Inc. f/k/a American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. ("AHMSI") [Docket No. 10]; Plaintiff's motion to remand [Docket No. 18]; and Defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company's ("Deutsche") motion to dismiss [Docket No. 22]. Upon due consideration, the Court finds that Plaintiff's motion for remand should be granted.

RELEVANT BACKGROUND

This action arises out of Deutsche's foreclosure on the Plaintiff's property and the subsequent conveyance of that property to several of the Defendants.

The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff Natasha Powell Brown acquired a tract of real property in Jackson, Mississippi, on or about October 15, 2003. See First Am. Compl., Docket No. 1-1, at 4. Brown executed a deed of trust in connection with the purchase and secured a loan in the amount of $82, 800.80. Id. at 5. The deed of trust was then assigned to Deutsche. Id. at 6. Brown alleges that she fell behind mortgage payments due to a combination of missed work and medical expenses related to two separate surgical procedures. Id. As a result, she filed bankruptcy and her mortgage payments were included in her bankruptcy repayment plan.

In July 2007, Brown claims that she contacted AHMSI in order to determine whether she qualified for a loan modification and other assistance. Id. According to the Complaint, on July 27, 2007, AHMSI sent her a letter requesting information in order to assist her. Id. The record shows, however, that the letter was actually sent by AMC Mortgage Services ("AMC"). See id. The letter requested Brown to submit the following: a hardship letter, personal financial statement, copies of all pay stubs and bank statements for the past two months, and income and/or expenses related to other real estate that she might own. See id. at 46, Exh. "D". On July 31, 2007, Brown sent a copy of her financial statement, id. at 47, but contends that AHMSI[1] requested additional documents. Brown alleges that she sent additional documents on other occasions but "AHMSI" never acknowledged receiving this information. Id. at 6.

On March 20, 2008, Citi sent a letter to Brown informing her of its intent to initiate foreclosure proceedings unless she cured the default on the property. Id. at 48, Exh. "E". Thereafter, on April 23, 2008, in response to a personal financial statement Citi claims it received from Brown on April 16, 2008, Citi sent another letter informing Brown that it needed additional information.[2] Id. at 49, Ex. "F". The letter also stated that "[n]ormal collection proceedings up to and including foreclosure will continue during the review process." Id. The letter gave Brown until May 8, 2008 to respond with the requested information so as to avoid the closing of her file. Id. Brown alleges that she complied with Citi's letter by sending the requested documentation, apparently so that she may receive a loan modification.

Citi declined Brown's loan modification request on July 17, 2008. Id. at 54, Exh. "H". In response, Brown alleges that she sent a letter to Citi on November 28, 2008, expressing concern over her denial of a loan modification. Id. at 7, 55. She further states that she sent letters to AHMSI on several dates from August 2009-April 2011, regarding "loan assistance through HAMP and/or HOPE for Homeowners Program." Id. at 8. In addition, she argues that she completed the documents and never received any correspondence as to whether she qualified.[3] Id.

Brown alleges that on January 24, 2011, [4] Adams & Edens, P.A. ("Adams & Edens"), [5] a Mississippi law firm, issued a letter informing Brown that she needed to pay $56, 577.43 in order to reinstate her loan, otherwise, foreclosure of her loan would continue. Id., Exh. "K". Brown responded to Adams & Edens by letter on January 24, 2011, disputing the amount it asked her to pay for the loan reinstatement, requesting documents showing that the amount was accurate, and asking for foreclosure proceedings to be stalled until the issues regarding payment were settled. See Exh. "L". Thereafter, on June 13, 2011, Adams & Edens responded to Brown's January 24 letter, informing her that the reinstatement fee was now $45, 031.07, and that she had until June 15, 2011 in which to satisfy her debt. Id. at 60, Exh. "M". Brown never paid, and, on June 20, 2011, a foreclosure sale was conducted, and Bradley P. Jones sold the property to Defendant L&M, LLC ("L & M").[6] See Exh. "N".

Brown claims that she never received any responses to her previous inquiries as to her loan terms and payment history. Id. at 9. In addition, she alleges that she never received any notification "that her home was actually placed in foreclosure nor was she advised of the date, place or time that her home was being sold in foreclosure." Id.

On June 20, 2014, Brown filed the current suit against AHMSI, Deutsche, Citi, Adams & Edens, L & M, and individual defendants in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. Brown alleges, among other things, that Deutsche did not have the right to foreclose on the subject property and that L & M took illegal possession of the subject property. Brown asserts a variety of claims against these Defendants, including breach of contract, promissory estoppel, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, negligence and gross negligence, wrongful foreclosure, negligent infliction of emotional distress, trespass, ejectment, and fraudulent conveyance, among others. See First Am. Compl. Brown seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney's fees.

On November 7, 2014, Deutsche timely removed to this Court alleging that Adams & Edens and L &M were improperly joined. See Notice of Removal, Docket No. 1. On the same date, Citi, Adams and Edens, and AHMSI joined in and consented to the removal. See Docket No. 2. Defendants assert that the Court has original jurisdiction over this action pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. ยงยง 1332 (diversity of citizenship), 1331 (federal question), and 1334 (bankruptcy jurisdiction). Brown, on December 8, 2014, filed her motion to remand, in which she argued that the Court does not have jurisdiction (diversity, federal court or bankruptcy) over this action, and that this case must be remanded to state court.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The removal statute states in ...


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