United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
PAUL W. GRIMM, District Judge.
M & M Mortgage Services Inc., its account manager Juan Gonzalez, and Mortgage Specialist Inc., at the direction of Litton Loan Servicing LP in May 2010, inspected and secured Emmanuel Edokobi's house and real property at 2005 Stratton Drive in Potomac, Maryland and removed Mr. Edokobi's personal property. M & M, Gonzalez, and MSI then winterized Mr. Edokobi's house on December 23, 2010, as Litton instructed. Mr. Edokobi sued Litton for these acts on May 16, 2011, and Judge Motz granted summary judgment in Litton's favor. Mr. Edokobi then sued eight other financial institutions, alleging that those defendants improperly secured and winterized his house, and Judge Motz dismissed the case in its entirety, with prejudice. Mr. Edokobi now sues Defendants M & M, Gonzalez, and MSI for purported violations of state and federal law, based on the four actions giving rise to his suit against Litton and a new contention (contradicted by his earlier filings) that Litton was not the servicer for his mortgage. Yet, res judicata precludes the relitigation of the material facts and issues Plaintiff raises in this lawsuit. On that basis, I will dismiss Plaintiff's claims with prejudice. Further, given the repetitive nature of Plaintiff's filings to date (which demonstrate that he is a vexatious litigant), I will issue an injunction to limit Plaintiff's ability to file complaints or other papers related to the events that underlie this case and those that preceded it without leave of court, unless Plaintiff shows cause why he is not a vexatious litigant. In light of the injunction I plan to file, I will deny Defendants' Motion for Sanctions.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff owns a single-family home (the "House") at 2005 Stratton Drive in Potomac, Maryland (the "Property"). Compl. ¶ 25, ECF No. 1. Defendants, acting pursuant to work orders from Litton, inspected the Property on May 11, 2010, "lock[ed] Plaintiff's House" and "remov[ed] Plaintiff's Personal Belongings inside Plaintiff's House on May 29, 2010, " and "winteriz[ed] Plaintiff's House on December 23, 2010." Compl. ¶¶ 11, 26, 40 & 42. According to Plaintiff, Avelo Mortgage LLC ("Avelo"), and not Litton, serviced Plaintiff's mortgage loan at that time. Id. ¶¶ 29, 33-34, 40. On that basis, Plaintiff contends that Litton had no "legal authority over Plaintiff's Mortgage Loan" and no "legal authority over Plaintiff's Property, " such that Defendants' actions were wrongful. Id. ¶¶ 40-41. Plaintiff brings an eleven-count complaint, purporting to allege violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) (Counts I & II); violations of Maryland civil conspiracy law, including wrongful detainer, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, gross negligence, willful and reckless negligence, and "Negligence Acceptance" (Counts III-V, VII-XI); and a violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 13-101 et seq., fraud, and negligent misrepresentation (Count VI). Compl. 14-22. All of Plaintiff's claims are based on Defendants' four actions on behalf of Litton: inspecting, locking, and winterizing the House, and removing Plaintiff's belonging from the House. Id. Significantly, in each claim, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were at fault because they acted without a "Work Order issued by Avelo Mortgage" or "any approval from Avelo Mortgage." Id. ¶¶ 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 85, 87, 91, 95, 98, 101, 103, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110 & 115. Thus, the crux of Plaintiff's Complaint is that Avelo, not Litton, serviced his mortgage and therefore only Avelo could authorize Defendants to act as they did.
As Plaintiff acknowledges, he previously brought suit against Litton. Compl. ¶ 44. In Edokobi v. Litton Loan Servicing LP , No. JFM-11-1332 (the " Litton Case"), unlike in the case currently pending, Plaintiff alleged that there was a "Mortgage Contract between Litton Loan Servicing LP and Plaintiff, Emmanuel Edokobi." Am. Compl. ¶ 106, ECF No. 29 in the Litton Case; see also Pl.'s Resp. 1-2, ECF No. 34 in the Litton Case (asserting that Litton was "servicing... Plaintiff's Loan"); cf. Compl. ¶¶ 40-41 (Litton had no "legal authority over Plaintiff's Mortgage Loan"). He further alleged that, on May 18, 2010, Litton "entered into Plaintiff's House in the absence of Plaintiff, " "conducted [a] search of Plaintiff's House in the absence of Plaintiff, " locked him out of the House, and "trashed-out/destroyed" Plaintiff's "personal properties" by "deploy[ing] a number of people" as part of a conspiracy. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 6, 28, 38, 56 & 113 in the Litton Case. He also claimed that Litton "executed Winterization of Plaintiff's house without Plaintiff's consent and knowledge" on December 23, 2010. Id. ¶ 48. Plaintiff asserted twenty-three claims including, inter alia, violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and Maryland common law claims of breach of contract, trespass, intrusion upon seclusion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and civil conspiracy. Id. at 13-26. Plaintiff moved for the joinder of M & M and MSI, asserting that M & M was an "indispensable and inevitable party" because M & M "actually entered inside [the Property] and performed some activities without Plaintiff's Consent or Knowledge, " Mot. for Joinder ¶ 4, ECF No. 65-1 in the Litton Case.
Despite having pleaded in that case that Litton serviced his mortgage, Plaintiff now claims that he "prepare[d]... documents to show in the trial of Plaintiff's Civil Action against Litton Loan Servicing LP that, Litton Loan Servicing LP is not the Servicer of Plaintiff's Mortgage Loan, " but this Court "abruptly grant[ed]... summary judgment in favor of Litton Loan Servicing LP without allowing Plaintiff [the] opportunity to respon[d] to Litton's Motion for summary judgment." Compl. ¶ 44. To the contrary, Plaintiff filed a timely Opposition to Litton's Motion, accompanied by exhibits, ECF No. 79 in the Litton Case, which Judge Motz considered in reaching his decision to enter judgment in Litton's favor, Mem. 1 in the Litton Case. Additionally, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Against Defendant Litton Loan Servicing LP, along with exhibits. ECF No. 75 in the Litton Case. In its Opposition, Litton noted that Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, which he did not file electronically, exceeded 100 pages and his exhibits encompassed several hundred pages. Litton Opp'n 1, ECF No. 76 in the Litton Case.
In granting summary judgment for Litton, Judge Motz found that Litton was "the servicer of a mortgage on the subject property, " and that, as the servicer, Litton "acted entirely appropriately to secure the property under the terms of the applicable deed of trust" on May 29, 2010, when Litton "install[ed] locks on the doors of plaintiff's residence, " at which time the Property was vacant. Mem. 1, ECF No. 83. Judge Motz further concluded that summary judgment was appropriate with regard to the claims based on Litton's removal of Plaintiff's personal property from the House because Plaintiff did not present any evidence showing that Litton acted improperly in "removing his personal belongings." Id. Although the two-page Memorandum did not reference the alleged inspection and winterization of the Property, Judge Motz granted summary judgment as to all claims. Mem. 2 in the Litton Case; Order, ECF No. 84 in the Litton Case. Importantly, the Fourth Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's appeal of Judge Motz's ruling and denied his petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc. ECF Nos. 97 & 99 in the Litton Case. The Supreme Court denied Mr. Edokobi's Petition for Writ of Certiorari. See Edokobi v. Litton Loan Servicing, LP, No. 12-1500, 134 S.Ct. 204 (U.S. Oct. 7, 2013).
Mr. Edokobi then filed suit against Judge Motz, challenging Judge Motz's ruling in the Litton Case. See Edokobi v. Judge J. Frederick Motz, No. DKC-13-3378. Chief Judge Chasanow noted two typographical errors in Judge Motz's order and dismissed the suit with prejudice. Mem. 2 & Order 1, ECF Nos. 2 & 3 in DKC-13-3378.
Additionally, Plaintiff filed another suit in this Court, Edokobi v. Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc., No. JFM-13-288 (the " Greenpoint Case"), purporting to allege in seventy counts and 488 pages that eight defendants participated in having the Property "unlawfully securitized, '" and that they "improperly secured and winterized the house." Compl., ECF No. 2 in the Greenpoint Case; see Mem. 1-2, ECF No. 53 in the Greenpoint Case. Judge Motz dismissed the case in its entirety with prejudice, observing that "[s]ecuritization of mortgages is not illegal" and finding that, "to the extent that any of the defendants took action to secure and winterize the property at 2005 Stratton Drive, Potomac, Maryland, it is clear that the actions were taken after plaintiff no longer lived at the house and were taken solely for the purpose of preventing the secured property from being unduly damaged." Id. at 2; see Order, ECF No. 54 in the Greenpoint Case.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and his complaint is to be construed liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, liberal construction does not absolve Plaintiff from pleading a plausible claim. See Holsey v. Collins, 90 F.R.D. 122, 128 (D. Md. 1981) (citing Inmates v. Owens, 561 F.2d 560, 562-63 (4th Cir. 1977)). As stated by the Fourth Circuit,
It is neither unfair nor unreasonable to require a pleader to put his complaint in an intelligible, coherent, and manageable form, and his failure to do so may warrant dismissal. Corcoran v. Yorty, 347 F.2d 222, 223 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 966 (1965); Holsey v. Collins, 90 F.R.D. 122, 128 (D. Md. 1981). District courts are not required to be mind readers, or to conjure questions not squarely presented to them. Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1088 (1986).
Harris v. Angliker, 955 F.2d 41, 1992 WL 21375, at *1 (4th Cir. 1992) (per curiam).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for "the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Velencia v. Drezhlo, No. RDB-12-237, 2012 WL 6562764, at *4 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2012). This rule's purpose "is to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.'" Id. (quoting Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006)). However, if an affirmative defense "clearly appears on the face of the complaint, '" the Court may rule on that defense when considering a motion to dismiss. Kalos v. Centennial Sur. ...