Bank of Boston ("Home Owners"), the parent company of Home Owners-Fergus Falls; Knutson Mortgage, a subsidiary of Home Owners; and M. Gene Donley, president of Home Owners-Fergus Falls. Venue was changed to the District Court of Otter Tail County, Minnesota, Seventh Judicial District, where, after discovery, a bifurcated liability/damage trial was scheduled.
On December 7, 1989, Judge Harlan L. Nelson of the Otter Tail County District Court presided over phase one of the bifurcated trial before an advisory jury. All defendants were found liable. Judge Nelson issued his findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment in favor of the plaintiff on February 20, 1990.
On April 27, 1990, before Judge Nelson had reached phase two of the trial (the damages phase), the Office of Thrift Supervision declared Home Owners insolvent and appointed the Resolution Trust Corporation ("RTC") as Conservator. Pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA"), the RTC "by operation of law succeeded to all rights, powers and privileges of [Home Owners] . . . ." 12 U.S.C. § 1821(d)(2)(A)(i); 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(b)(4). The RTC was substituted as a party for Home Owners.
On May 7, 1990, the RTC removed this case to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, arguing that 12 U.S.C. § 1819(b)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) supported the removal. RTC's removal was followed with a motion to remand the case to the District Court in Otter Tail County by Mr. Piekarski. On June 1, 1990, RTC opposed the remand, arguing that the case was properly removed to the federal court in Minnesota. In the alternative, the RTC requested a transfer of the case to this Court, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 and 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
On June 11, 1990, Judge Edward J. Devitt granted plaintiff's motion to remand the case. In summary, he held that defendants could not remove to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota under 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l) because RTC did not initiate the suit and because Mr. Piekarski's wrongful termination action arose without the involvement of the RTC.
He held that defendants "could only have removed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia." Memorandum Opinion and Order, Piekarski v. Home Owners Savings Bank, et al., Civ. 3-90-248, United States District Court District of Minnesota, Third Division, June 12, 1990 (Devitt, J.), at 5. Judge Devitt remanded the case back to the Otter Tail District Court, and, over the defendants' objections, refused to grant defendants' motion to transfer venue to the District of Columbia.
On June 15, 1990, the RTC removed this case from the Otter Tail District Court of Minnesota to this Court.
Currently before the Court are plaintiff's motion to remand to the Otter Tail District Court and RTC's motion to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In consideration of the motions, the responses filed thereto, the hearing held on July 19, 1990, and for the reasons stated below, the Court shall deny plaintiff's motion to remand the case to the Otter Tail District Court and shall grant RTC's motion to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND
FIRREA provides for original federal court jurisdiction over all actions, suits, or proceedings to which the RTC is a party:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any civil action, suit, or proceeding to which the Corporation is a party shall be deemed to arise under the laws of the United States, and the United States district courts shall have original jurisdiction over such action, suit or proceeding.
12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(1). FIRREA also gives the RTC the absolute right, subject to certain time restraints, to remove any case from a state court in which it is named or is substituted as a party, pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 1441a(l)(3) (emphasis supplied):
The Corporation may, without bond or security, remove any such action, suit or proceeding from a State court to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, or if the action, suit, or proceeding arises out of the actions of the Corporation with respect to an institution for which a conservator or a receiver has been appointed, the United States district court for the district where the institution's principal business is located. The removal of any action, suit, or proceeding shall be instituted --