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Bendeck v. Workman

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 4, 2017

LIZABETH-EMI BENDECK, Plaintiff,
v.
LLOYD T. WORKMAN, A MAN, DBA AGENTS FOR U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TRUSTEE; ZACHARY K. KONDO, A MAN, DBA AGENTS FOR U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TRUSTEE; RICHARD K. DAVIS, A MAN, CEO U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION; RESIDENTIAL ASSET MORTGAGE, PRODUCTS INC., MORTGAGE ASSET-BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES SERIES 2006-NC3; JP MORGAN CHASE/CHASE, HOME 123 CORPORATION, Defendants.

          ORDER: (1) GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES AND COSTS; AND (2) DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On April 18, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Lizabeth-Emi Bendeck (“Plaintiff”) filed a document titled “Bill in Equity to Declare an Absolute Deed to be a Mortgage; Exoneration of Surety; To Construct a Trust upon the Grantee/Trustee; and Notice of Merger in the Equity Jurisdiction” (“Complaint”), ECF No. 1, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Application”), ECF No. 2. Based on the following, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's IFP Application, and DISMISSES Plaintiff's Complaint with leave to amend.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. IFP Application

         Plaintiff's IFP Application indicates that she receives monthly social security income of $1, 680; and has assets of $100 in a bank account, a car worth $800, and household furnishings worth $1, 200. IFP Appl. ¶¶ 2-5. The IFP Application further indicates that Plaintiff has monthly medical expenses of $1, 600, and owes a total of $434, 355.86 for a mortgage loan. Id. ¶¶ 6, 8. Because Plaintiff has made the required showing under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to proceed in forma pauperis (i.e., without prepayment of fees), the court GRANTS Plaintiff's IFP Application.

         B. The Complaint

         1. Background

         Plaintiff filed the instant action to determine whether Defendants[1]“ha[ve] the authority to foreclose” real property “located at 43 Pakalana St., Hilo, Hawaii” (the “subject property”). Compl. at 9-10. Although not entirely clear, the Complaint appears to allege that on January 6, 2006, Plaintiff executed a promissory note for $110, 000 for a mortgage loan from Home 123, secured by the subject property. Id. at 10, 15. Sometime thereafter, the promissory note/mortgage was transferred to RAMP, and Morgan/Chase became the loan servicer. Id. at 10. The remainder of the Complaint is largely unintelligible, [2] but apparently purports to explain that Plaintiff's “debt was paid at closing, ” and that Plaintiff is now “the lender and RAMP the borrower.” Id. at 10, 16.

         Plaintiff seeks an order declaring that Plaintiff holds superior title to the subject property; and injunctive relief preventing Defendants from foreclosing the subject property, and ordering Defendants to reimburse Plaintiff for payments she made on the loan and for proceeds obtained through Defendants' use of the promissory note as a security instrument. Id. at 21.

         Plaintiff asserts that this court has diversity jurisdiction over this action, contending that she “is neither a citizen nor resident of the United States; but is a private American, living on the land known as Hawaii, ”[3] and Defendants “are United States citizens.” Id. at 5. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants are “residents of . . . Hawaii, Ohio, Minnesota, and California.” Id. at 6.[4]

         2. Standards of Review

         The court may dismiss sua sponte a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fiedler v. Clark, 714 F.2d 77, 78-79 (9th Cir. 1983); Belleville Catering Co. v. Champaign Mkt. Place, L.L.C., 350 F.3d 691, 693 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[I]nquiring whether the court has jurisdiction is a federal judge's first duty in every case.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, ” possessing “only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.” United States v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377. At the pleading stage, Plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to show a proper basis for the court to assert subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Johnson v. Columbia Props. Anchorage, L.P., 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1).

         In addition, the court must subject each civil action commenced pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)[5] to mandatory screening, and order the dismissal of any claims it finds “frivolous, malicious, failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeking monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see, e.g., Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (holding that “the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners”); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (stating ...


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