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Vera Boykin v. Mers/Merscorp

May 31, 2012

VERA BOYKIN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MERS/MERSCORP, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini, U.S.D.J.:

OPINION

Pro se Plaintiff Vera Boykin filed this action against a multitude of Defendants*fn1 in New Jersey state court seeking to "quiet title" to property located at 220 West Hudson Street, Englewood, NJ 07631 (the "Property"). Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment that she owns the Property and damages of $1,000,000 for Defendants' alleged violations of various federal financial laws. Defendants removed the action to this Court. This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to remand and motions to dismiss filed by three sets of Defendants. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion to remand is DENIED, and Defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED.

I.BACKGROUND

Ms. Boykin has resided at the Property since 1995, when Ms. Boykin's mother, Ms. Bernice Rogers ("Ms. Rogers") purchased the Property. (Abelev Decl., Ex. E, ¶ 3, ECF No. 16-7) ("Ms. Boykin's Feb. 8, 2010 Aff. of Standing and Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Entry of J."). In 2001, Ms. Rogers sold the Property to her husband, Mr. Herbert Rock ("Mr. Rock"). Id. at ¶ 4. In November of 2006, Mr. Rock sold the Property to Mr. Khan, who entered into a mortgage agreement with MERS as nominee for WMC in return for a purchase loan. Id. at ¶¶ 8-10. In February of 2009, MERS as nominee for WMC assigned the mortgage on the Property to Countrywide for the benefit of HSBC.*fn2

(Compl. Ex A, ECF No. 1-1.)

In 2009, Countrywide initiated foreclosure proceedings on the Property against Mr. Khan, MERS as nominee for WMC, and Ms. Boykin. Ms. Boykin filed several motions with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Special Civil Part, Bergen County, challenging the foreclosure. (Abelev Decl., Ex. C, ECF No. 16-5) ("Ms. Boykin's Jan. 15, 2010 Certification in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss"); (Abelev Decl., Ex. D, ECF No. 16-6) ("Ms. Boykin's Feb. 5, 2010 Certification in Supp. of Appl. to Reconsider"); (Abelev Decl., Ex. E, ECF No. 16-7) ("Ms. Boykin's Feb. 8, 2010 Aff. of Standing and Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Entry of J."). Ms. Boykin's motions were denied, and, on October 15, 2010, the Honorable Mary C. Jacobson, P.J.Ch., entered an order of foreclosure on the Property in favor of Countrywide. (Abelev Decl., Ex. B, ECF No. 16-4) ("Final Foreclosure Judgment").

Ms. Boykin responded to the foreclosure order by filing this action on June 22, 2011 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, Bergen County. (Compl. 1, ECF No. 1-1.) The Complaint asserts Ms. Boykin is the "bona fide title holder" of the Property, (Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1-1), and that the Defendants cannot own the Property because the documents reflecting the transfer of interest were fabricated, rendering the transfer void. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-10, 15-23, ECF No. 1-1.) The Complaint specifically accuses MERS, Ms. Herzog, and Ms. Repka of fabricating the assignment of the mortgage to Countrywide. (Compl. ¶¶ 15-19, ECF No. 1-1.) Ms. Boykin also alleges that Defendants committed fraud under various federal statutes, including the Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. (Compl. ¶ 19, ECF No. 1-1.) On August 22, 2011, WMC and the GE Companies removed the action to this Court. See (Notice to State Ct. of Removal of Action to Federal Ct., Aug. 22, 2011, ECF No. 1-4.)

II.DISCUSSION

This matter comes before the Court on the following motions: (1) Plaintiff's motion to remand,*fn3 and (2) motions to dismiss filed by three sets of Defendants. The Court will address the motion to remand, followed by the motions to dismiss.

A.Plaintiff's Motion to Remand

Plaintiff argues that removal was improper because (1) this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over her quiet title claims, and (2) Defendants WMC and the GE Companies failed to follow the rule of unanimity. See (Pl.'s Opp'n to Removal and Demand to Remand ¶ 5, Sept. 9, 2011, ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff's arguments are unavailing.

This action was properly removed because numerous federal causes of action appear on the face of Plaintiff's Complaint. See Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908). It is black letter law that district courts have jurisdiction over claims "arising under" federal law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331; see also Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't., 523 U.S. 83, 89 (1998) (jurisdiction exists if a complaint asserts a cause of action under a federal statute). In this case, the Complaint asserts causes of action under ten federal statutes, including the Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Thus, Plaintiff's claims arise under federal law, and this action was properly removed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) (removal is proper if federal original jurisdiction exists). This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's quiet title claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

Plaintiff's argument that WMC and the GE Companies failed to satisfy the rule of unanimity is incorrect. When an action is removed in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), the rule of unanimity requires that "all defendants who have been properly joined and served must join in or consent to the removal of the action." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A). Ms. Boykin argues that WMC and the GE Companies failed to comply with the rule of unanimity because they never consented to removal. But the rule only requires the consent of served defendants, and all the Defendants who ...


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