February 1, 2013
In Diversified Mortg., Inc. v. Merscorp, Inc., 809-CV-2497-T-33EAJ, 2010 WL 1793632 (M.D. Fla. May 5, 2010) the United States District Court, in the Middle District of Florida, denied Diversified Mortgage Inc.’s motion to remand its case to state court. MERS originally removed its case to federal court alleging complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and an amount in controversy above $75,000. Diversified filed the motion to remand the case claiming that the amount in controversy “ha[d] not been met.” Diversified argued that it did not request monetary damages but instead sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The Court noted, however, that “for equitable claims such as ones for declaratory or injunctive relief, the amount in controversy is determined by the object of the litigation that will flow to Diversified, not the damages.” Thus, because Diversified sought declaration as to whether it had any ownership in 65-135 mortgage loans, the amount in controversy would be determined from the monetary value of the benefit the Court declared Diversified had in the mortgages at issue.
Diversified responded by claiming that if it had an interest in the mortgages, it is unlikely that Diversified would seek collection from MERS. Instead, Diversified would pursue many individual actions against unidentified mortgage companies, or not pursue any actions at all. But the Court noted that the amount in controversy is determined by the face value of the mortgages and not by the level of ease or difficulty associated with collecting the loan amounts. Consequently, the Court reviewed the mortgage documents, determined that the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000, and denied Diversified’s motion.| Permalink