United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL United States District Judge
Imeh Renec Okon initiated this action on August 21. 2015
against Wells Fargo Bank. N.A.. d/b/a America's Servicing
Company ("Wells Fargo"). HSBC Bank USA. National
Association, as Trustee for SG Mortgage Securities Trust
2006-FRE1 ("HSBC"). Alba Law Group. PA
("Alba"). Melissa L Cassell. Amy II Hill, and See
Chang (collectively. "Defendants") alleging
violations of the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act
("MMFPA"). Md. Code Ann.. Real Prop. § 7-401.
el sec/. Before service was effectuated on any
Defendant. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on August 31.
2015. ECF No. 2. Presently pending before the Court are two
Motions to Dismiss or. in the Alternative. Motions for
Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 4 & 12. No hearing is
necessary to resolve these Motions. Sec Local Rule
105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, the Motions
will be granted.
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff challenges certain aspects of a
foreclosure proceeding respecting her residence located in
Silver Spring. Maryland. See ECF No. 2 at
see also Devcrn v. Okon. No. 388371V (Montgomery
Cnty. Cir. Ct.) (the "Foreclosure Action").
Specifically, she alleges that Defendants filed "a
series of fraudulent documents in the [Foreclosure Action] in
order to foreclose on [her] property." ECF No. 2 at 4.
Those purportedly fraudulent documents include a final loss
mitigation affidavit, a notice of foreclosure action, and an
affidavit submitted pursuant to Md. Code Ann.. Real Prop.
§ 7-105.1(e)(2)(ii) and Md. Rule. Prop. Sales
14-207(b)(2). Id. Plaintiff contends that these
documents were fraudulent insofar as they described the
property to be foreclosed as "non-owner occupied."
notwithstanding Plaintiffs representation to the trustee that
she did in fact occupy the property. Id. at 6.
Foreclosure Action. Plaintiff filed a document titled
"Motion to Slop Foreclosure Proceedings due to
Fraudulent Affidavits Filed by Wells Fargo and its Substitute
Trustees; Counterclaims Against Wells Fargo . .. and SG
Mortgage Securities Trust 2006-FRE1 ." See ECF
No. 4-2. In that motion, she alleged that the affidavits
accompanying the order to docket suit were fraudulent because
they stated that the property was non-owner occupied. See
Id. at 3. Plaintiff asserted claims of wrongful
foreclosure and injurious falsehood and violation of the
Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1691a et
sec., seeking damages and a declaratory judgment.
See id at 9-14.
Circuit Court for Montgomery County. Maryland denied
Plaintiffs motion in the Foreclosure Action, treating il as a
motion to stay the sale of the properly and dismiss the
action. Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of
Maryland, which affirmed the denial of her motion on the
ground that Plaintiff failed to comply with Md. Rule
14-211(a)(3), which sets forth the requirements of a motion
to dismiss a foreclosure action in Maryland. See ECF
No. 4-4. Plaintiffs counterclaims, however, were docketed as
a separate action. See Okon v. Wells Fargo Home
Mortgage. No. 389299V (Montgomery Cnty. Cir. Ct.) (the
"Counterclaim Action"). In that case, on May 23.
2014, the court granted a motion to dismiss and dismissed the
counterclaims without leave to amend. ECF No. 4-6. Plaintiff
did not appeal that dismissal.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
seek dismissal on the ground that Plaintiff has failed to
allege a basis for this Court's exercise of subject
matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 4-1 at 7; ECF No. 12-1 at 6. A
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
arises under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(l). The
plaintiff bears the burden of proving that subject matter
jurisdiction properly exists in federal court. See
Demetres v. E. W. Const.. Inc., 776 F.3d 271, 272 (4th
Cir. 2015). In a 12(b)(l) motion, the court "may
consider evidence outside the pleadings" to help
determine whether it has jurisdiction over the case before
it. While Tail Park, Inc. v. Strouhe. 413 F.3d 451.
459 (4th Cir. 2005). The court should grant the 12(b)(1)
motion ""only if the material jurisdictional facts
are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to
prevail as a matter of law" Quigley v.
United Stales, 927 F.Supp.2d 213. 217 (D. Md. 2012)
(quoting Richmond. Fredericksburg & Potomac R. Co. v.
United States. 945 F.2d 765. 768 (4th Cir. 1991)).
Complaint does not allege any federal cause of action, citing
only to a Maryland state statute as the basis for Plaintiffs
recovery. See ECF No. 2. Thus, this Court may only exercise
jurisdiction over this matter if there is complete diversity
of citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). Diversity
jurisdiction under § 1332 only exists if there is
complete diversity between all parties. Sec
Banco Del Sempione v. Provident Dank of Maryland. 85
F.3d 615 (4th Cir. 1996) (per curiam) ("Since
Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267
(1806). courts have interpreted section 1332 to require
complete diversity between all parties.”).
diversity is lacking in this case. In the Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff alleges that she resides in Silver Spring. Man
land, but she also acknowledges that Defendants Alba and
Cassell are domiciled in Maryland. See ECF No. 2;
ECF No. 8 at 2. Thus, this Court lacks jurisdiction over this
Failure to State a Claim
the non-diverse parties from this matter, however, would not
save the case from dismissal because the Complaint fails to
state a plausible claim for relief.
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted is made pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No. 4-1 at 8-10. When deciding
a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). a court "must
accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in
the complaint." and must "draw all reasonable
inferences [from those facts] in favor of the
plaintiff." E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v.
Kolon Indus.. Inc.. 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted). To survive
a motion to dismiss invoking Rule 12(b)(6). "a complaint
must contain sufficient (actual matter, accepted as true,
'to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face."" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662.
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although pleadings of
self-represented litigants must be accorded liberal
construction, see Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d ...