United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before this Court is plaintiff Capital One Bank (USA),
N.A.'s motion to remand, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447. (Doc. 8). All matters are pending before the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, with consent of
the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
October 12, 2016, Capital One Bank (USA), N.A.
(“Capital One”) filed a civil complaint in the
21st Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis County, Missouri,
seeking a judgment in the amount of $1, 737.81 against
defendant Douglas D. Johnson (“Johnson”), a
Missouri resident. See Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. v.
Douglas D. Johnson, case no. 16SL-AC26745 (21st Jud.
Cir. Oct. 12, 2016). Briefly, the complaint alleges that
Capital One issued a credit card to Johnson, and that Johnson
used the card but did not make required payments.
9, 2017, Johnson filed a notice of removal in this Court.
Although rambling and confusing, the notice of removal
apparently bases removal jurisdiction on federal question
jurisdiction. Johnson avers: “[t]his civil action stems
from a lawsuit filed in the 21st Judicial Circuit court of ST
LOUIS COUNTY MISSOURI. (Case No: 16SL-AC26745).” (Doc.
1) (emphasis in original). Johnson states that “[o]n
numerous occasions they were asked to validate the
debt” and that:
Their refusal to produce shows them in violation of CFR 807.
And § 808. Unfair practices in accordance TITLE 28 USC
CHAPTER 176 - FEDERAL DEBT COLLECTION PROCEDURE The Federal
Debt Collection Procedure places all courts under equity and
Commerce and under the International Monetary Fund.
(Id.) (emphasis in original). Along with the notice
of removal, Johnson filed a motion seeking leave to proceed
in forma pauperis (Doc. 4).
31, 2017, Capital One filed the instant Motion to Remand,
arguing, inter alia, that this matter should be
remanded because there is no basis for federal jurisdiction.
In response, Johnson filed a “Motion to Remain in U.S.
District Court.” (Doc. 11). Therein, Johnson moves
“this court dismiss their cause of remand and we will
use their false documents that they have entered into this
cause to show the pattern in which they have submitted into
all the causes which shows their lack of respect of
court's purpose and disregard for the law in their
malicious continuous actions of R.I.C.O.” (Id.
at 1). Johnson avers “[t]he defendant which they claim
has never been served based upon the fact defendant is an
extension of a title which is held within a UCC security
agreement contract which is “Exhibit (a) the deliverer
refused to take two legal documents by two Secretary of
States and threw the summons on the edge of the curb. He was
informed that we are the administrator of the estate in which
we considered not to be personally served.”
(Id. at 1-2). Johnson also avers that the state
court judge “took on the duties of an Administrator for
St. Louis County Government in name only which has a 9199
Industry Group 919: General Government, Not Elsewhere
Classified 9199 General Government, Not Elsewhere Classified,
” and asserts that Capital One violated “Federal
Debt Collection Procedure” and engaged in
“malicious R.I.C.O. activity.” (Id.at
reasons discussed below, the Court finds that this action is
not removable to federal court. Johnson will be permitted to
proceed in forma pauperis in these proceedings only,
and this action will be remanded to the 21st Judicial Circuit
defendant may remove a civil action from state court to
federal court only if the claims could have been filed in
federal court originally. 28 U.S.C. § 1441; Gore v.
Trans World Airlines, 210 F.3d 944, 948 (8th Cir. 2000).
In removal cases, the district court reviews the complaint or
petition in the underlying case to determine federal
jurisdiction. St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab
Co., 303 U.S. 283 (1938). The district court may also
look to the notice of removal to determine its jurisdiction.
Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. v. Johns-Manville Sales
Corp., 626 F.2d 280(3rd Cir. 1980).
based on “federal-question jurisdiction is governed by
the ‘well-pleaded-complaint rule, ' which provides
that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question
is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly
pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). The removing
defendant, as the party invoking jurisdiction, bears the
burden of proving that all prerequisites to jurisdiction are
satisfied. Central Iowa Power Co-op. v. Midwest
Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc., 561 F.3d
904, 912 (8th Cir. 2009). The district court must construe
the removal statute narrowly, and resolve all doubts
regarding federal jurisdiction in favor of remand.
case at bar, Johnson's notice of removal specifies case
number 16SL-AC26745, the 21st Judicial Circuit case noted,
supra. In that case, Capital One's complaint is
based solely upon state law. It raises no federal question,
and therefore can provide no basis for federal question
jurisdiction. The Court has also reviewed Johnson's
notice of removal, and concludes that it provides no basis
for federal question jurisdiction. Johnson cites the Federal
Debt Collection Procedure Act, which relates to debts and
judgments owed to the United States, a situation irrelevant
to this case. Johnson also names federal regulations and
statutes, but it is either unclear exactly what he is citing,
or how it relates to his case. Finally, to the extent Johnson
can be understood to claim the right to removal because he
has a defense, counterclaim or declaratory judgment action
based upon federal law, such claim fails. Caterpillar
Inc., 482 U.S. at 393 (a case may not be removed to
federal court on the basis of a federal defense); (First
Nat. Bank of Pulaski v. Curry, 301 F.3d 456, 462 (6th
Cir. 2002) (“[c]ounterclaims, cross-claims, and
third-party claims cannot be the basis for removal”
under § 1441); Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air
Circulation Systems, Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 831 (2002) (a
counterclaim cannot establish “arising under”
if jurisdiction exists at all, it must be predicated upon
diversity of citizenship. However, Capital One and Johnson
are both domiciled in Missouri, and the amount in controversy
in Capital One's complaint is less than the
jurisdictional threshold. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). Even if the requirements for diversity jurisdiction
were met, this action would not be removable because Johnson
is a citizen of the state in which the action was brought.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b) (actions where
jurisdiction is predicated solely on diversity are
“removable only if none of the parties in interest
properly joined and served as ...