United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Lafayette Division, Hammond
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY JUDGE
matter comes before the court on plaintiff Willow Tree Farms,
LP's motion to remand this case to state court. (DE #
29.) For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion
will be granted.
matter is before the court on diversity jurisdiction.
Plaintiff, Willow Tree Farms, LP, originally filed its in
rem complaint in the White County Superior Court. (DE #
3.) Plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants, Craig
Byroad, Ronald Byroad, Marlene Byroad, and CRB AG, LLC,
leased property from plaintiff, but failed to pay rent and
failed to vacate the property when the lease expired.
(Id. at 1.) In the complaint, plaintiff requests
relief in the form of immediate repossession of the property.
(Id.) Plaintiff specifically notes that it seeks
in rem relief only, as some of the defendants are
currently debtors engaged in bankruptcy proceedings.
removed this case to federal court. In their notice of
removal, defendants assert that this court may exercise both
federal question and diversity jurisdiction. (DE # 1 at 2.)
Defendants also claim that removal is proper pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1452 and 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and (c).
now moves to remand the case to state court on the basis that
this court lacks jurisdiction. (DE # 29.) Defendants did not
file a response to plaintiff's motion and the time to do
so has passed. This matter is now ripe for resolution.
district court may exercise either federal question
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. With regard
to the former, “[t]he district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1331. With regard to the latter,
“[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds
the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interests and
costs, ” and where complete diversity of citizenship
exists. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Complete diversity of
citizenship exists where no plaintiff is a citizen of the
same state as any defendant. LM Ins. Corp. v. Spaulding
Enters. Inc., 533 F.3d 542, 546 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2008).
Further, for removal based on Section 1332(a) to be proper,
diversity of citizenship must have existed at the time of
removal. Harmon v. OKI Sys., 115 F.3d 477, 480 (7th
defendant who seeks to remove an action to federal court has
the burden of establishing that the complete diversity
requirement was met. Meridian Sec. Ins. Co. v.
Sadowski, 441 F.3d 536, 540 (7th Cir. 2006);
Meyerson v. Showboat Marina Casino P'ship, 312
F.3d 318, 321 (7th Cir. 2002). Thus, when a party opposing
federal jurisdiction challenges the allegations of
jurisdictional facts, the party seeking the federal forum
must prove those facts by a preponderance of the evidence.
Meridian, 441 F.3d at 543. District courts are to
“interpret the removal statute narrowly, ” and
any doubts regarding jurisdiction should be resolved in favor
of remand to state court. Doe v. Allied-Signal,
Inc., 985 F.2d 908, 911 (7th Cir. 1993).
Federal Question Jurisdiction
their notice of removal, defendants make the conclusory
allegation that this court may exercise federal question
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (DE # 1 at
2.) Yet, plaintiff's claim for repossession of property
does not arise under the constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States, and defendants do not identify any federal
question they believe is at issue.
assert that “[r]emoval is also proper pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a), as the plaintiff is a limited
partnership comprised of foreign nationals who are not
domiciled in the State of Indiana, and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.00.” (DE # 1 at 2.)
Plaintiff argues that the requirements of Section 1332 are
not satisfied in this case. Although they bear ...