United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
ORDER AND OPINION
matter is before the court pursuant to the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”)
(ECF No. 7), filed March 6, 2019, recommending that the case
be remanded to the Court of Common Pleas in Calhoun County,
South Carolina. Pro se Defendant Ruby Elaine Pinnex
(“Pinnex”) filed timely objections (ECF No. 15).
For the reasons set forth below, the court
ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and
REMANDS the case to the Court of Common
Pleas in Calhoun County because this court does not have
subject matter jurisdiction.
March 2, 2019, Pinnex filed a Notice of Removal (ECF No. 1)
seeking to remove a state mortgage foreclosure action
associated with property located at 204 Baronet Lane,
Elloree, South Carolina 29047. (ECF No. 1.) Pinnex alleged
that she removed the action “for a Right to Review
pursuant to” 5 U.S.C. § 702. (ECF No. 1-1 at 1.)
Pinnex further alleged that removal was proper as Plaintiff:
has brought this action against me into an administrative
court, a foreign jurisdiction, in which this is a violation
of a Treaty known as The Articles of Confederation and of the
Expatriation Act of 1868. I also believe that they are also
in violation of the Foreign Registration Act, Title 22 USC
611 and have filed a false claim with counterfeit securities
(Id.) Pinnex also claimed the court has jurisdiction
under diversity citizenship under the theory that her
citizenship is “American” generally, but not of
South Carolina specifically. (Id.)
March 6, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report
recommending that this court remand the case to the Court of
Common Pleas in Calhoun County. (ECF No. 7.) Pinnex filed
timely objections (ECF No. 15) on March 20, 2019.
Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge makes only a
recommendation to this court, which has no presumptive
weight. The responsibility to make 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
Report to which specific objections are made. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
party may remove a state court action to federal district
court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 where the state
action could have been originally filed there. See
Darcangelo v. Verizon Commc'ns, Inc., 292 F.3d 181,
186 (4th Cir. 2002). A case may be originally filed in a
federal district court either under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 for
diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy greater
than $75, 000.00 or under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 where it
arises under a federal question. A federal court should
remand the case to state court where no federal subject
matter jurisdiction is evident from the face of the Notice of
Removal and any state court pleadings provided. Ellenburg
v. Spartan Motor Chassis, Inc., 519 F.3d 192, 196 (4th
Cir. 2008). Courts of this circuit have held that removal
statutes favor remand where possible and are construed
against removal jurisdiction. See, e.g., Cheshire v.
Coca-Cola Bottling Affiliated, Inc., 758 F.Supp. 1098,
1102 (D.S.C. 1990); Bellone v. Roxbury Homes, Inc.,
748 F.Supp. 434, 436 (W.D. Va. 1990). Where subject matter
jurisdiction is at issue, “courts are obligated to
consider sua sponte issues.” Gonzalez v.
Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012).
her review, the Magistrate Judge observed that Pinnex seeks
removal, but fails to “identify a viable basis for
jurisdiction.” (ECF No. 7 at 2.) The Magistrate Judge
observed that “[t]he essential allegations contained in
the complaint do not allege that the case is one
‘arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States'” and “there are no federal
statutes referenced in the complaint.” (Id. at
3.) Moreover, Pinnex failed to cite to any federal statute,
law, or act in support of the theory that the complaint
raises a federal question. (Id.) The Magistrate
Judge further observed that Pinnex was not eligible to remove
the case based on diversity because she is a citizen of South
Carolina, the forum state. (Id.) Pinnex timely
objected, however her objections are vague, nonspecific, and
fail to address the deficiencies laid out by the Magistrate
Judge. (ECF No. 15.)
seeks to raise a federal question where one does not exist
and states, as a defense to the action that 22 U.S.C.
§§ 611, 612 are “applicable in the United
States.” (ECF No. 15 at 2.) This is not a federal
question because 22 U.S.C. §§ 611 and 612, as used
for the purposes of legal proceedings, are tools of
application and not interpretation and, therefore, fail to
raise federal questions. Merrell Dow Pharms. Inc. v.
Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986).
next seeks to raise as a federal question the issue of
standing. (ECF No. 15 at 3.) A party's standing to sue
for recovery of property in a foreclosure procedure wholly
governed by state law does not raise any federal questions.
assessing the foregoing, the court observes that while
“in certain cases federal-question jurisdiction will
lie over state-law claims that implicate significant federal
issues, ” Plaintiff's complaint raised no such
issue. Grable & Sons Metal Prods., Inc. v. Darue
Eng'g and Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 312 (2005).
Specifically, the Complaint “merely states a cause of
action for enforcement of a promissory note and foreclosure
of the associated security interest in real property.”
(ECF No. 7 at 3 (quoting Burbage v. Richburg, 417
F.Supp.2d 746, 749 (D.S.C. 2006)). There is no federal
jurisdiction over a complaint that ...