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Bradley v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 29, 2016

MARK G. BRADLEY, et al., Plaintiffs,


          Paula Xinis United States District Judge

         Mark G. and Marlene D. Bradley (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), filed a “Motion to Quiet and Void Invalid and Fraudulent Contract and Title” (the “Complaint”) against Defendant Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“Ocwen”). Currently pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (ECF No. 9) and Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel (ECF No. 12). The relevant issues have been fully briefed and the court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Plaintiff's Motion to Compel will be DENIED as MOOT.

         I. Background

         One year ago, on March 10, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Ocwen in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland, which Ocwen removed to this Court entitled Bradley v. Ocwen, Case No. 8:15-cv-01369-PWG (the “Prior Action”). The following facts are taken from the present Complaint and supplemented from record of the Prior Action and exhibits from the Defendants.[1]

         a. Factual Background

         Plaintiffs are the owners of real property located at 37 Laughton Street, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20774 (the “Subject Property”). See Prior Action, ECF No. 2 at 1. On December 27, 2006, Plaintiffs acquired a $380, 700.00 loan from American Brokers Conduit (“American Brokers”) to refinance the Subject Property, the terms of which are reflected in an adjustable rate note (the “Note”) executing a Refinance Deed of Trust to use the Subject Property as collateral (the “Deed of Trust”). See ECF No. 9-1; Prior Action, ECF No. 2 at 1. The Deed of Trust, recorded among the land records of Prince George's County at Liber 27107, Folio 001, identified the Lender as American Brokers and the Trustee as Andrew Valentine. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) is named as beneficiary of the Deed of Trust “solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender's successors and assigns.” ECF No. 9-1. By Corporate Assignment of Deed of Trust dated February 20, 2015, MERS assigned its interest in the Deed of Trust to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Indenture Trustee for American Home Mortgage Investment Trust 2007-1 (“Deutsche Bank, as Trustee”), its successors and assigns (the “Assignment Deed”). The Assignment Deed is recorded in the land records of Prince George's County at Book 36877, Page 166. ECF No. 9-2.

         Plaintiffs' present Complaint alleges that (1) Ocwen “violated 15 U.S.C. 1692e (13) by representing to have original documentations with signatures;” (2) “without a contract, the complaining party has no standing in court”; (3) “Banks must produce the original contract;” and (4) “no legal proceeding has subject matter jurisdiction until the original, signed, promissory note is produced.” ECF No. 2 at 1-2, 5-7.

         b. Procedural Background

         On March 16, 2016, the Prior Action was dismissed with prejudice upon Ocwen's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs did not appeal that judgment. Instead, Plaintiffs filed the instant lawsuit in state court, which Ocwen again timely removed to this Court (the “Second Action”). ECF No. 1.

         On May 24, 2016, Ocwen filed the present Motion to Dismiss and Incorporated Memorandum Law asserting the doctrine of res judicata. ECF No. 9. The next day, Plaintiffs were provided with a Roseboro notice via letter, which advised them of the pendency of the motion to dismiss and their entitlement to respond within seventeen days. ECF Nos. 10 and 11; see Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975) (holding that pro se plaintiffs should be advised of their right to file responsive material to a motion for summary judgment). The letter also warned Plaintiff that failure to respond in opposition could result in the dismissal of their case without further notice. To date, Plaintiffs have not filed any opposition to the motion to dismiss, and the time for them to do expired on June 10, 2016. Local Rule 105.2(a). Instead, on June 10, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel the production of certain documents. ECF No. 12. Accordingly, Defendants' motion is unopposed.

         II. Standard of Review

          The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint need only satisfy the standard of Rule 8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007). That showing must consist of more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” or “naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations omitted).

         At this stage, all well-pleaded allegations in a complaint must be considered as true, Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994), and all factual allegations must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). In evaluating the complaint, unsupported legal allegations need not be accepted. Revene v. Charles Cnty. Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989). Legal conclusions couched as factual allegations are insufficient, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, as are conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979). Ultimately, a complaint must “‘permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct' based upon ‘its judicial experience and common sense.'” Coleman v. Md. Court of Appeals, 626 F.3d 187, 190 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).

         “Where the allegations of the complaint give rise to an affirmative defense, the defense may be raised under Rule 12(b)(6), but only if it clearly appears on the face of the complaint” and the documents proper for consideration therewith. Richmond, Frederiskburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. Forst, 4 F.3d 244, 250 (4th Cir. 1993). In reviewing the motion to dismiss, the court may consider allegations in the complaint, matters of public record, and documents attached to the motion to dismiss that are integral to the complaint and authentic. Philips v. Pitt Cnty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009). Here, the Note, the Deed of Trust, and the Assignment are referenced in the complaint and are integral, as they provide the basis for the parties' rights to the Subject Property. Accordingly, these documents may be considered without converting the motion into one for summary judgment. In addition, facts and documents subject to judicial notice may be considered by a court, without converting the motion under Rule 12(d). Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007); Katyle v. Penn Nat'l Gaming, Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 466 (4th Cir. 2011). Here, the Court may take judicial notice of the prior litigation between the parties in ...

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