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Amrani v. U.S. Bank Trust N.A.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

September 9, 2019

ALLAL K. AMRANI, et al., Plaintiffs,




         This matter is before the Court sua sponte following the Court's Order to Show Cause. Dkt. #47. At various times, the Court has expressed concerns over whether it could exercise subject matter jurisdiction over the Plaintiff's, Mr. Allal K. Amrani's (“Mr. Amrani”), claims.[1]Dkts. #14 and #38. The Court therefore ordered all parties to address whether Mr. Amrani (1) could establish federal question jurisdiction, (2) had standing to assert claims invoking federal question jurisdiction, (3) could properly state a claim invoking federal question jurisdiction, and (4) could otherwise avoid the application of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine to bar his claims.[2]Dkt. #47 at 3. Mr. Amrani and various defendants have responded. Dkt. #49 (Defendant Channa Copeland as Governor of Northstar Case Management LLC); Dkts. #50 and #51 (Mr. Amrani); Dkt. #54 (Defendant MTC Financial Inc. d/b/a Trustee Corps); Dkt. #55 (Defendants Caliber Home Loans, Inc., Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. as Trustee for LSF9 Master Participation Trust); Dkts. #56 and #57 (Defendants Fidelity National Law Group and Daniel A. Womac). Upon review, the Court finds no basis for subject matter jurisdiction and accordingly dismisses this action without prejudice.


         The Court has previously recounted the background to this action and sets it forth here:

[Mr. Amrani] alleges that he owns a piece of property in SeaTac, Washington (the “Property”). Dkt. #7 at ¶ 1. The Property was acquired, in 2006, by one of the defendants in pursuit of a joint business venture with [Mr. Amrani]. Id. at ¶ 8-12. The Property was later transferred to the business venture, but payments were missed, and the mortgage went into default in 2011. Id. at ¶ 19.
Over the years, [Mr. Amrani] has recorded several quit claim deeds related to the Property and has recorded a “UCC Development Real Estate Services Mechanic's Lien” against the Property. Id. at ¶ 26; Dkt. #7-4. Concurrently, several of the defendants have continued to seek foreclosure of the Property and have continued to send [Mr. Amrani] and his former partner notices at the Property. On December 16, 2016, unspecified defendants filed a complaint in King County Superior Court seeking to foreclose on the Property [or establish the status of certain liens on the Property]. Dkt. #7 at ¶ 28. A guardian ad litem (“GAL”) was appointed for [Mr. Amrani] due to significant health issues that were caused, at least in part, by the mortgage default. Id. at ¶¶ 39-40. Ultimately, the GAL took actions that [Mr. Amrani] maintains were not in his best interest, including placing [Mr. Amrani]'s interest in the Property into a special needs trust-for which the GAL was the trustee. Id.; Dkt. #7-5. [Mr. Amrani] believes that the GAL, a defendant, has acted to the benefit of several of the other defendants in this action. Dkt. #7 at ¶ 34.

         Dkt. #14 at 2-3.[3]


         A. Legal Standard

         Where a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, as Mr. Amrani does here, the court is to dismiss the action, at any time, if it fails to state a claim, raises frivolous or malicious claims, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Establishing subject matter jurisdiction in federal courts is paramount. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116 (9th Cir. 2004). “When a requirement goes to subject-matter jurisdiction, courts are obligated to consider sua sponte issues that the parties have disclaimed or have not presented [as] . . . [s]ubject-matter jurisdiction can never be waived or forfeited.” Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 likewise requires that “[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

         Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that a case is properly filed in federal court. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., 264 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 2001). This burden, at the pleading stage, must be met by pleading sufficient allegations to show a proper basis for the federal court to assert subject matter jurisdiction over the action. McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936). A plaintiff may establish either federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction. Federal question jurisdiction is established by pleading a “colorable claim ‘arising under' the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006) (citations omitted); 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         B. Prior Notice of Deficiencies

         As noted, the Court has previously alerted Mr. Amrani to his failure to adequately invoke federal question jurisdiction.[4] Dkts. #14, #38, ...

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