United States District Court, D. Oregon
SLINDE & NELSON, LLC, dba SLINDE NELSON STANFORD, an Oregon limited liability company, Plaintiff,
DAVID K. LUNEKE, an individual and RANBIR SANHI, an individual, Defendants.
J. Nelson Keith A. Pitt Colin G. Andries Slinde Nelson
Stanford Attorneys for Plaintiff
Clifford S. Davidson Sussman Shank LLP Attorney for
OPINION & ORDER
A. HERNÁNDEZ United States District Judge
David Luneke and Ranbir Sanhi removed this action from
Multnomah County Circuit Court (“State Action”) to
the District of Oregon pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1452.
Before the Court are Plaintiff's motion to remand this
matter back to Oregon state court and Defendants' motion
to transfer to the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District
of California. See Mot. to Remand, ECF 18; Mot. to
Transfer, ECF 22. Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is GRANTED
and Defendants' Motion to Transfer is DENIED.
matter arises out of Defendants' failure to pay Plaintiff
for representing them in an underlying
litigation. Plaintiff, a law firm located in Portland,
Oregon, defended Luneke, Sanhi, and Lite Solar, LLC in
Multnomah County Circuit Court in a suit brought by another
solar company. Mot. to Remand at 3. Plaintiff entered into an
Engagement Agreement with Luneke, Sanhi, and Lite Solar, LLC.
Id.; Pitt. Decl. Ex. 2, ECF 19. The Engagement
Agreement obligated Defendants and Lite Solar, LLC to pay
Plaintiff for fees incurred during the underlying litigation.
Compl. ¶ 9, ECF 1. Defendants refused to pay for
Plaintiff's services and are indebted to Plaintiff for
$79, 096.64. Id. at ¶ 12.
18, 2016, Sanhi merged Lite Solar, LLC into Lite Solar Corp.,
another company that he owned. Notice of Removal ¶ 1,
ECF 1. Nine days later, on July 27, 2016, Lite Solar Corp.
filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in the Bankruptcy Court
for the Central District of California (“Bankruptcy
Proceeding”). Id. at ¶ 4; Nov. 8, 2016,
Davidson Decl. Ex. 5, ECF 24. In that petition, Lite Solar
Corp. stated that it owed approximately $7.9 million to its
twenty largest creditors, including $69, 433.81 to Plaintiff
for “Professional Services.” Nov 8, 2016,
Davidson Decl. Ex. 5 at 9. Additionally, the plaintiff from
the underlying litigation has since filed a Proof of Claim
for $12 million in the Bankruptcy Proceeding. Nov. 28, 2016,
Davidson Decl. Ex. 1 at 2, ECF 30. On August 12, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a Proof of Claim in the Bankruptcy
Proceeding, claiming that Lite Solar Corp. owed it $79,
096.64 for legal services. On August 24, 2016, Plaintiff also
brought the State Action against Sanhi and Luneke in
Multnomah County Circuit Court seeking the same amount.
Id. at ¶¶6-26. Neither Lite Solar, LLC nor
Lite Solar Corp. are named defendants in the State Action.
Defendants filed their notice to remove the State Action to
this Court on September 29, 2016.
now requests that the Court remand this matter back to
Multnomah County Circuit Court. Conversely, Defendants seek
to transfer this matter to the Bankruptcy Court for the
Central District of California.
1452(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code provides that a
party may remove a civil action to the district court where
the civil action is pending, if the district court has
jurisdiction over the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1334.
“The court to which such claim or cause of action is
removed may remand such claim or cause of action on any
equitable ground.” 28 U.S.C. § 1452(b). The Ninth
Circuit applies a fourteen factor test, the “Cedar
Funding Factors, ” for determining whether
equitable grounds support remand:
(1) the effect or lack thereof on the efficient
administration of the estate if the Court recommends [remand
(2) extent to which state law issues predominate over
(3) difficult or unsettled nature of applicable law;
(4) presence of related proceeding commenced in state court
or other nonbankruptcy proceeding;
(5) jurisdictional basis, if any, other than § 1334;
(6) degree of relatedness or remoteness of proceeding to main
(7) the substance rather than the form of an asserted core
(8) the feasibility of severing state law claims from core
bankruptcy matters to allow judgments to be entered in state
court with ...