United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
RICHARD MARK GERGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
("R. & R.") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No.
14) recommending that the Court grant Plaintiff Bank of
America, N.A.'s ("BOA") Motion to Remand (Dkt.
No. 8) and remand this action back to state court. The R.
& R. alternatively recommends that the Court remand this
action sua sponte for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Defendant Nelson L. Bruce ("Bruce"),
who proceeds pro se, filed objections to the R.
& R. on February 2, 2018. (Dkt. No. 16.) For the reasons
set forth below, the Court adopts the R. & R. as the
Order of the Court. BOA's Motion to Remand (Dkt. No. 8)
is granted, and this action is remanded to state court.
case is a state foreclosure action of a mortgage on real
property in Dorchester County, South Carolina. (Dkt. No. 1-1
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de
novo determination of those portions of the R. & R.
to which specific objection is made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge."
Id. In the absence of any specific objections to the
R. & R., the Court "need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation." See Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (citation omitted).
Motion to Remand
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Strawn v. AT
& T Mobility LLC, 530 F.3d 293, 296 (4th Cir. 2008)
(citation omitted). A defendant removing a case to federal
court bears the burden of establishing that federal
jurisdiction is proper. Id. (citations omitted). The
existence of federal jurisdiction is determined at the time
the defendant files his notice of removal. See Pullman
Co. v. Jenkins, 305 U.S. 534, 537 (1939) (citations
omitted). "On a motion to remand, the court must
strictly construe the removal statute and resolve all doubts
in favor of remanding the case to state court, indicative of
the reluctance of federal courts to interfere with matters
properly before a state court." Gallagher v. Fed.
Signal Corp., 524 F.Supp.2d 724, 726 (D. Md. 2007)
(citation omitted). If there is any doubt regarding the
existence of federal jurisdiction, the case must be remanded.
Md. Stadium Auth. v. Ellerbe Becket Inc., 407 F.3d
255, 260 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mulcahey v. Columbia
Organic Chem. Co., 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994)).
recommending remand, the R. & R. found that there is no
basis for federal jurisdiction through diversity or federal
question jurisdiction by noting that Bruce is precluded as a
matter of law from asserting diversity jurisdiction because
he is a citizen of South Carolina, the state in which the
action was brought, examining the "well-pleaded
complaint rule, " and discounting Bruce's actual or
anticipated defenses and counterclaims. (Dkt. No. 14 at 3-5.)
objections, Bruce, "does not object to the [R. & R.]
overall but to certain statements" therein, contending
that the Magistrate Judge erred by: (1) disregarding the
applicable legal standard for federal question and federal
jurisdiction; (2) ignoring the defenses and counterclaims
involving the Constitution and laws of the United States; and
(3) stating that Bruce fails to provide any authority to
support his theory that federal question jurisdiction exists
here because "all foreclosures involve federal
laws[.]" (Dkt. No. 16 at 1, 8-9.) The Court reviews
these objections under a de novo lens.
removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, allows a state court
defendant to remove a civil action to the federal district
court "embracing the place where such action is
pending" if the action could have originally been filed
there. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A district court has
original jurisdiction of a civil action: (1) through
diversity jurisdiction, "where the matter in controversy
exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interests
and costs, and is between citizens of different states[,
]" 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1); or (2) through federal