United States District Court, D. Maryland
ROGER W. TITUS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff LaJuan Faxio, proceeding pro se, filed this action on October 15, 2015, in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County challenging events related to a mortgage loan and subsequent foreclosure of the property. ECF No. 2. On February 8, 2016, Defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“Deutsche Bank”) removed the case to this Court. ECF No. 1. Deutsche Bank moved to dismiss on February 16, 2016. ECF No. 14.
In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges wrongful foreclosure, challenging Deutsche Bank’s ability to foreclose on the property. ECF No. 2. She further claims fraudulent concealment by Defendant MortgageIT, Inc. (“MortgageIT”), unconscionable contracts, breach of fiduciary duty, slander of title, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id.
The issues have been briefed, and the Court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Deutsche Bank’s Motion will be granted, and Plaintiff’s Complaint will be dismissed on the basis that this issue was already litigated and decided in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, and this Court lacks the ability to re-decide the case. Further, the motion for a temporary restraining order, which Plaintiff filed before this case was removed from state court, will be denied in light of this Court’s dismissal of this action. See ECF No. 6.
At issue is property that Plaintiff lost in foreclosure over three years ago, on July 17, 2012. ECF No. 14-1 at 11. In 2006, Plaintiff refinanced a previous mortgage transaction with a loan from MortgageIT. ECF No. 2 at ¶ ¶ 7, 10. The Note to MortgageIT was secured with a deed of trust, which was assigned to Deutsche Bank. ECF No 2. Plaintiff defaulted on the Note on January 2, 2010, and a foreclosure proceeding was initiated in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. Curran v. Faxio, Case No. CAE12-02927. On July 10, 2012, Plaintiff filed an “Emergency Motion to Order a Temporary Restraining Order” claiming that Deutsche Bank lacked standing to foreclose because it was not the holder of the note. Id. Dkt. No. 12. The state court denied this motion, along with Plaintiff’s motions to reconsider, which the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed on October 25, 2013. Id. Dkt. Nos. 15, 18, 39; ECF No. 14-2. Plaintiff further attempted to halt the foreclosure and eviction proceedings through a series of appeals, stays, and emergency motions. Id., Dkt. Nos. 22, 27, 37, 47, 53, 56, 61. Ultimately, the state court granted judgment to Deutsche Bank, awarding possession of the property, on June 24, 2013, ratified the auditor’s report on February 12, 2015, and closed the case. Faxio, Case No. CAE12-02927, Dkt. Nos. 47, 50. Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint on October 15, 2015. ECF No. 2.
I. Standard of Review
In a ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Plaintiff’s well-pleaded allegations are accepted as true and the Complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “However, conclusory statements or a ‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not [suffice].’” E.E.O.C. v. Performance Food Grp., Inc., 16 F.Supp.3d 584, 588 (D. Md. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
A federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). Nonetheless, liberal construction does not mean that a court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so; however, a district court may not rewrite a complaint in order for it to survive a motion to dismiss. See Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
Deutsche Bank argues that claim preclusion bars Plaintiff’s claims and that Plaintiff fails to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). ECF No. 14. However, subject matter jurisdiction is a threshold matter that this Court cannot ignore and thus first turns to the applicability of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
a. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine
This Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this suit under the Rooker-Feldmandoctrine. “The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is a jurisdictional rule providing that lower federal courts generally cannot review state court decisions.” Holliday Amusement Co. of Charleston v. State of S. Carolina, 401 F.3d 534, 537 (4th Cir. 2005). This is true whether the claims have been “actually decided” in state court or are “inextricably intertwined” with a state court decision. See Brown & Root, Inc. v. Breckenridge, 211 F.3d 194, 198 (4th Cir. 2000). “A federal claim is considered to be ‘inextricably intertwined’ with a state court judgment when ‘the federal claim succeeds only to the extent that the state court wrongly decided the issues before it.’” Holliday Amusement Co., 401 F.3d at 437 (quoting Allstate Ins. Co. v. W.Va. State Bar, 233 F.3d 813, 819 (4th Cir. 2000)). In either case, “a party losing in state court is barred from seeking what in ...