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Combs v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

September 19, 2016

CRYSTAL A. COMBS, Plaintiff,
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., et al., Defendants.


          GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge

         In this case, unrepresented Plaintiff Crystal A. Combs alleges that Defendant Bank of America, N.A. ("BANA") violated the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., in connection with her mortgage on the real property located at 2603 Vicarage Court, Bowie, Maryland 20721. This Memorandum Opinion and accompanying Order address BANA's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 42, and Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery, ECF No. 40. Additionally, in her "Reply to Bank of America's Motion for Summary Judgment, " ECF No. 44, Plaintiff appears to ask the Court to reconsider its previous order dismissing her Fair Debt Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA") claim and that request will be addressed herein as well. A hearing on the motions is unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.). For the reasons that follow, BANA's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted. Furthermore, Plaintiffs Motion to Reconsider is granted, though Plaintiffs underlying claim is still denied, and Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Having previously addressed in some depth the relevant facts when the Court considered Defendant's earlier Motion to Dismiss, the Court will not repeat that discussion here. See Combs v. Bank of Am., N.A., No. GJH-14-3372, 2015 WL 5008754 (D. Md. Aug. 20, 2015) ("Combs F). Rather, the Court will only summarize those facts necessary to resolve the present motion.

         On December 18, 2008, Plaintiff and her then-husband, Walter L. Cook, Jr., executed a promissory note (the "Note") with EquiFirst Corporation in the amount of $549, 152 to purchase a residential property located at 2603 Vicarage Court, Bowie, Maryland 20721 (the "Property"). See ECF No. 1-2. The Note was secured by a Purchase Money Deed of Trust ("Deed of Trust") against the Property. See id.

         Plaintiff alleges that, in or about August 2010, BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP entered into a loan modification agreement with her then-husband even though she did not sign the modification agreement.[1] See ECF No. 1 at 8; see also ECF No. 1-4 at 7.[2] On December 15, 2011, an assignment of the Deed of Trust was recorded, assigning BAN A all beneficial interests under the Deed of Trust attached to the Property originally held by EquiFirst. See ECF No. 1-18 at 25. On October 26, 2012, Plaintiff sent a letter to Bank of America Home Loans requesting a mortgage modification. See ECF No. 1-29.

         On May 1, 2014, Plaintiff sent another letter to BAN A, requesting, among other things, "the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the obligation or the master servicer of the obligation." See ECF No. 1-27. On June 16, 2014, BAN A responded to Plaintiffs request, identifying BANA as the owner of her loan as of that date. ECF No. 42-3 at 41-44.

         Plaintiff filed the current lawsuit on October 28, 2014, disputing, among other things, the adequacy of BANA's response to her May 1, 2014 correspondence. ECF No. 1 at 19. On August 20, 2015, the Court issued an Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and leaving Plaintiffs claim, alleging a violation of Section 1641(f)(2) of TILA, against BANA as the only surviving claim.[3] See Combs I, 2015 WL 5008754.

         During discovery, Plaintiff produced a letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") that she had received in response to a Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request. ECF No. 40-1 at 2. The HUD FOIA letter stated that her loan "assembled into Ginnie Mae Pool Number 709132 in January 2010 and was subsequently included in the REMIC Trust 2009-011." Id. After receiving this information, Defendant BANA said it would conduct a further review of its own records. ECF No. 41 at 7. Upon said review, BANA submitted evidence that Ginnie Mae was the investor of Plaintiff s loan from March 18, 2009 through March 1, 2010, and that BANA became the investor of the loan again on March 1, 2010. ECF No. 42-3 at 6; see also ECF No. 42-3 at 107. BANA's loan servicing records also showed that BANA was the owner of the loan on June 16, 2014. Id.

         Following discovery, Plaintiff filed the presently pending Motion to Compel Discovery, ECF No. 40, and Defendant filed their opposition, ECF No. 41. Subsequently on February 16, 2016, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment as to the remaining count. ECF No. 42. Plaintiff filed her "Reply" in Opposition on March 4, 2016. ECF No. 44. Included in her response was what the Court will construe as a Motion to Reconsider the Dismissal of Plaintiffs Fair Debt Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA") claim. Id.


         Summary judgment is appropriate if "materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations ..., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), show that there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating that no genuine dispute exists as to material facts. Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). If the moving party demonstrates that there is no evidence to support the non-moving party's case, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to identify specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass, 242 F.3d 179, 183 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).

         A dispute of material fact is only "genuine" if sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to return a verdict for that party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. However, the nonmoving party "cannot create a genuine issue of material fact through mere speculation or the building of one inference upon another." Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1986). The Court may only rely on facts supported in the record, not simply assertions in the pleadings, in order to fulfill its "affirmative obligation ... to prevent 'factually unsupported claims or defenses' from proceeding to trial." Felty v. Grave-Humphreys Co., 818 F.2d 1126, 1128 (4th Cir. 1987) (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324-25). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         III. ...

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