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Damian v. Citimortgage Incorporated

United States District Court, D. Arizona

March 31, 2014

Elva E. Damian, Plaintiff,
v.
CitiMortgage Incorporated, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

RANER C. COLLINS, Chief District Judge.

Before the Court is the February 19, 2014, Report and Recommendation (R&R) from Magistrate Judge Bruce G. Macdonald (Doc. 13) recommending that this Court grant Plaintiffs' (Corrected) Motion for Joinder Under Rule 21, F.R.C.P. etc. (or Alternatively, Motion to Amend Under Rule 15) and Motion to Remand Case to State Court (Pima Superior Court No. C20130048) (Doc. 10).

Defendants filed their objections to the R&R (Doc. 14) on March 10, 2014, and requested oral argument. Plaintiff filed a response to the Defendants' objections on March 27, 2014 (Doc. 15). The Court finds this matter suitable for decision without oral argument, and declines Defendants' request

For the following reasons, this Court will adopt the Magistrate Judge's findings in the R&R.

I. BACKGROUND

The factual and procedural background in this case is uncomplicated and is sufficiently detailed in Magistrate Judge Macdonald's R&R (Doc. 13). This Court fully incorporates by reference the "Procedural Background" section of the R&R into this Order.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The duties of the district court in connection with a R&R are set forth in Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The district court may "accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court will not disturb a Magistrate Judge's Order unless his factual findings are clearly erroneous or his legal conclusions are contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). "[T]he magistrate judge's decision... is entitled to great deference by the district court." United States v. Abonce-Barrera, 257 F.3d 959, 969 (9th Cir. 2001). Where the parties object to a R&R, "[a] judge of the [district] court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the [R&R] to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985).

III. DISCUSSION

Magistrate Judge Macdonald recommended this Court grant Plaintiff's Motion for Joinder, and, because joinder would destroy the Court's diversity jurisdiction, Judge Macdonald further recommended the Court remand this matter to the state court.

When a plaintiff seeks to join a non-diverse defendant to an action removed on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, joinder is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e). That section provides: "If after removal the plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants whose joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder and remand the action to the state court." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e). As the Ninth Circuit has observed, the decision to permit joinder of a defendant that destroys diversity jurisdiction is left to the sound discretion of the Court. Newcombe v. Adolf Coors Co., 157 F.3d 686, 691 (9th Cir.1998).

"In deciding whether to deny joinder of a diversity-destroying party, courts... consider[] a variety of factors including: (1) whether the person sought to be joined is needed for just adjudication and would be a necessary party under Rule 19(a); (2) the plaintiff's motive for seeking joinder and whether plaintiff is seeking to add a defendant solely to destroy diversity of citizenship; (3) the delay in seeking to add the new defendant; (4) whether, if joinder is denied, the statute of limitations would bar an action against the new defendant in state court; (5) the apparent validity of the claim; and (6) any prejudice to the plaintiff if the amendment is denied." Estate of Harmon ex rel. Patrick v. Avalon Health Care, Inc., 2012 WL 6674425, *3 (D. Ariz.) (citations omitted). In the R&R, Judge Macdonald considered each of these factors and determined that the balance weighed in favor of granting Plaintiff's Motion for Joinder.

Because Defendants object to the R&R, the Court will address each of the ...


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