United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
C. DEVER III, Chief United States District Judge
October 25, 2016, Alice A. Howell and Burl A. Howell
("defendants"), filed a pro se notice of removal
[D.E. 1-1], several exhibits [D.E. 1-2 through -6], and other
filings [D.E. 1-7 through 1-9]. Defendants seek leave to
proceed in forma pauperis [D.E. 1]. Defendants have filed
numerous motions, including motions to dismiss [D.E. 3, 10,
23], a motion for appointment of counsel [D.E. 7],
entry of default and default judgment [D.E. 12, 13], and to
amend their application to proceed in forma pauperis and for
a hearing and service of subpoenas [D.E. 24]. On December 19,
2016, plaintiff moved to remand the action for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction [D.E. 16] and filed a memorandum
in support [D.E. 17]. On December 21 and 27, 2016, defendants
responded in opposition to plaintiffs motion to remand [D.E.
19, 22]. On December 21, 2016, plaintiff responded in
opposition to defendants' motions for entry of default
and default judgment [D.E. 20]. As explained below, the court
grants defendants' motion to proceed in forma pauperis,
grants plaintiffs motion to remand, and denies the remaining
September 17, 2004, the Court of Common Pleas of the State of
Delaware, New Castle County, entered a civil judgment in
favor of plaintiff against defendants in the amount of $11,
721 liquidated damages, $10, 000 punitive damages, together
with pre- and post-judgment interest and court costs of $784.
See [D.E. 1-3]. Defendants reside in North Carolina. See
Notice of Removal [D.E. 1-1] 10. On October 7, 2016, Wayne
County District Court, plaintiff filed a notice of foreign
judgment and affidavit pursuant to the North Carolina Uniform
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. §
1C-1701 et seq. See [D.E. 1-2] 1.
contend that the Delaware judgment is invalid and plaintiffs
notice of foreign judgment is not timely filed. See p.E. 4]
1-3; see also [D.E. 1-4] (copy of July 8, 2005 "letter
opinion" from the Delaware court "enter[ing]
judgment and dismiss[ing] all claims against Burl A. Howell
in this action"); [D.E. 23] 1-2. Plaintiff asserts that
this court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the action.
Mem. Supp. Mot. Remand [D.E. 17] 1-3.
as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil
action brought in a State court of which the [federal]
district courts... have original jurisdiction[ ] may be
removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district
court of the United States for the district and division
embracing the place where such action is pending." 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts "construe removal
statutes narrowly, " and any "doubts concerning
removal... [are] resolved in favor of state court
jurisdiction." Barbour v. Int'l Union. 640
F.3d 599, 613 (4th Cir. 2011) (en banc). The party who
removed the action must establish federal subject-matter
jurisdiction. See Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co..
739 F.3d 163, 169 (4th Cir. 2014): Mulcahev v. Columbia
Organic Chems. Co.. 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994).
court has reviewed the record of the case, the parties'
briefs, and the governing law. See. e.g.. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331-1332; St. Paul Mercury Inem. Co. v.
Red. Cab Co.. 303 U.S. 283, 294 (1938); Jones v.
Wells Fargo Co..No. 15-2403, 2016 WL 7240180, at *l-2
(4th Cir. Dec. 15, 2016) (per curiam) (unpublished);
Hoschar. 739 F.3d at 169; Francis v. Allstate
Ins. Co.. 709 F.3d 362, 367-69 (4th Cir. 2013);
Dixon v. Edwards. 290 F.3d 699, 710-11 (4th Cir.
2002); Mulcahev v. Columbia Organic Chemicals Co..
29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994). Defendants have not met
their burden of establishing that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. To the
extent defendants rely on 28 U.S.C. § 1738 as conferring
jurisdiction, see [D.E. 15] 4-5, section "1738 does not,
standing alone, confer jurisdiction on a federal district
court to domesticate a judgment rendered by a court of
another jurisdiction." Miccosukee Tribe of Indians
of Florida v. Kraus-Anderson Const. Co.. 607 F.3d 1268,
1276 (11th Cir. 2010); Hazen Research. Inc. v. Omega
Minerals. Inc.. 497 F.2d 151, 153 n. 1 (5th Cir. 1974).
To the extent defendants assert that plaintiffs motion to
remand is untimely, see [D.E. 22] 12, defendants are
incorrect. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). To the extent
defendants rely on purported violations of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act as precluding remand, see [D.E. 19]
2-15, the argument fails. See Holmes Grp. Inc. v. Vomado
Air Circulation Sys.. Inc.. 535 U.S. 826, 829-831 &
n.2 (2002); Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Construction
Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern Cal.. 463 U.S. 1,
9-11 & n.9; Pinney v. Nokia. Inc.. 402 F.3d 430,
445 (4th Cir. 2005). Moreover, defendants may litigate the
validity and enforceability of the Delaware judgment in North
Carolina state court. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1C-1705;
Rossi v. Spoloric. 781 S.E.2d 648, 654 ( N.C. Ct.
App. 2016); cf Anderson v. Wade. 322 F.App'x
270, 271 (4th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (unpublished). Thus,
the court grants plaintiff s motion to remand.
the court GRANTS defendants' application to proceed in
forma pauperis [D.E. 1] and plaintiff s motion to remand
[D.E. 16]. The court DENIES defendants' remaining motions
[D.E. 3, 7, 10, 12-13, 23-24]. The action is REMANDED to
Wayne County District Court.
 No right to counsel exists in civil
cases absent "exceptional circumstances."
Whisenant v. Yuam. 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir.
1984), abrogated in part on other grounds
by. Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court. 490 U.S. 296
(1989); see Cook v. Bounds. 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th
Cir. 1975). The existence of exceptional circumstances
"hinges on [the] characteristics of the claim and the
litigant." Whisenant 739 F.2d at 163. The facts
of this case and defendants' abilities do not present
exceptional circumstances. Accordingly, the court denies
defendants' motion for appointed counsel.
 Plaintiff asserts that the Delaware
court entered a final judgment against defendants on December
30, 2009, see Piner Aff. p.E. 20-1] ¶ 3, which
defendants dispute. See [D.E. 4] 1-2. The court makes no
observation concerning the ...