Jordan v. Nationstar Mortgage

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-01-2015
  • Case #: 14-35943
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges Wallace and Watford
  • Full Text Opinion

A case becomes “removable” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1446 when the Class Action Fairness Act ground for removal is first disclosed.

Laura Zamora Jordan filed suit against Nationstar Mortgage (“Nationstar") alleging six causes of action, including violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and a proposed class. Nationstar subsequently sought to remove the case to federal court after more than two years after the filing of the initial complaint, but after ascertaining removability based upon Jordan’s responses to its interrogatories. Jordan argued that Nationstar’s notice of removal was untimely because it was filed more than two years after the initial complaint triggered federal jurisdiction due to the allegations included under the FDCPA. The district court concluded that removal was untimely and remanded the case back to state court. The Ninth Circuit reviewed Nationstar’s removal notice under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1), which permits defendants to remove state-court actions to federal court within thirty days of receiving an initial pleading or other document that reveals a basis for removal. However, there is an exception that if the initial pleading does not reveal a basis for removal, a defendant may remove an action within thirty days of receiving “an amended pleading, motion, order, or other paper” from which it may first be ascertained that the case is removable. The panel noted that the “federal officer” category identified in Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp. as an exception to the strict construction of removal statutes must now be expanded to include Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) claims. The panel further stated that the Supreme Court has left no doubt “that no antiremoval presumption attend cases involving the CAFA.” The panel found that Nationstar’s removal under CAFA was timely, and that the action therefore properly belongs in federal court. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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