United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge.
in this breach of contract case is Defendant's motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 31). The issues are fully briefed
and the Court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because
no hearing is necessary. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.
January 26, 2005, Plaintiff Steven Nyhart (“Mr.
Nyhart”) executed a Promissory Note
(“Note”) in the amount of $245, 000.00 to
National City Mortgage, a division of National City Bank of
Indiana. ECF No. 31-4. The Note was secured by a Deed of
Trust executed on the same date by Jennifer and Steven Nyhart
(collectively, “Plaintiffs”) and was recorded in
the Land Records of Montgomery County. ECF No. 31-6.
Defendant PNC Bank, N.A. (“PNC”) became the
servicer of the Loan as a result of PNC's acquisition of
National City Mortgage. ECF No. 31-1 at 3.
January 2014, Mr. Nyhart was approximately two payments
behind on his mortgage. As a result, on January 15, 2014, PNC
and Mr. Nyhart entered into a Repayment Plan (the
“Repayment Plan”) which allowed Mr. Nyhart to
repay the past due amount on his mortgage over a five-month
period by paying a specified amount each month in addition to
his regular monthly payment. ECF Nos. 31-9 & 31-4. Under
the Repayment Plan, Mr. Nyhart was required to pay five
installments of: (a) $2, 340 on or before January 16, 2014;
(b) three payments of $2, 496.36 on or before February 15,
2014, March 15, 2014, and April 15, 2014; and (c) a final
payment of $2, 496.38 on or before May 15, 2014. ECF No.
31-9. Mr. Nyhart made the first three Repayment Plan payments
but failed to pay the $2, 496.36 payment due on April 15,
2014. ECF No. 31-1 at 5; ECF No. 31-7 at 9.
16, 2014, Mr. Nyhart submitted a payment of $1, 760. Because
the Repayment Plan required Nyhart to pay $2, 496.38 in May
2014, PNC returned the $1, 760 payment as insufficient. On
June 13, 2014, Mr. Nyhart made another payment of $1, 773.
Again, the payment was returned to Mr. Nyhart for the same
reason. At the time, however, Nyhart had additional funds in
his “suspense account” with PNC which could be
put toward the required payments. ECF No. 33-3 at 3.
Plaintiffs continued to make their monthly payments for the
remainder of 2014, and PNC continued to reject them.
Plaintiffs then hired counsel, Gerald Solomon
(“Solomon”), to assist them. ECF No. 2 at 4. On
January 12, 2015, Solomon sent a letter to PNC seeking
clarification of the loan transaction history and informing
PNC that Plaintiffs had sufficient funds in their suspense
account to cover all of the monthly payments in full and
should not have returned the May and June payments.
See ECF No. 33-3.
January 29, 2015, PNC instituted a foreclosure action against
Plaintiffs in the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
See Case No. 400118V (Montgomery Cnty. Cir. Ct. Jan.
29, 2015). PNC then reversed course, informing Plaintiffs
that the May and June 2014 payments “were rejected in
error, ” and thus the loan should not have been
referred to foreclosure. ECF No. 33-3 at 3. PNC further
stated that “[w]e have removed your client's loan
from foreclosure on March 3, 2015, and waived all foreclosure
fees and costs. We apologize for this error.”
Id. PNC then dismissed the foreclosure action.
1, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Circuit Court
for Montgomery County against PNC. The complaint alleges four
causes of action: (1) declaratory judgment; (2) breach of
contract; (3) deceptive trade practices in violation of the
Maryland Consumer Protection Act; and (4) violations of the
Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act. ECF No. 2. At base,
Plaintiffs allege that PNC wrongfully rejected
Plaintiffs' May and June 2014 mortgage payments,
wrongfully declared Plaintiffs' in default, and
mistakenly reported the default and foreclosure to the credit
bureaus. On July 30, 2015, PNC timely removed the case to
this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, and
1446. ECF No. 1.
3, 2016, PNC filed the instant motion for summary judgment.
Reversing course once again, PNC now claims that its Customer
Service Department was incorrect in abandoning foreclosure
proceedings because Plaintiff's payments were
insufficient all along. ECF No. 35 at 6. Thus, PNC asserts
that it is Plaintiff, not PNC, who breached the loan
agreement and so the original foreclosure action was proper.
To date, however, PNC has not reinstituted any further
STANDARD OF REVIEW
moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. A court may enter summary judgment
only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Emmett v.
Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th Cir. 2008). However,
summary judgment is inappropriate if any material fact at
issue “may reasonably be resolved in favor of either
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 250 (1986); JKC Holding Co. LLC v. Washington
Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir.
moving party bears the burden of showing there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact. See Charbonnages de France
v. Smith, 597 F.2d 406, 414 (4th Cir. 1979). The moving
party can meet this burden by demonstrating the absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
In response, the nonmoving party must then demonstrate
specific facts showing that a genuine issue remains for
trial. Id. at 324. “A party opposing a
properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest
upon the mere allegations or denials of [his] pleadings, but
rather must set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Bouchat v. Balt. Ravens
Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted) (alteration
in original). This burden is particularly strong where the
nonmoving party also bears the burden of proof at trial.
Hughes v. Bedsole, 48 F.3d 1376, 1381 (4th Cir.1995)
(quoting Pachaly v. City of Lynchburg, 897 F.2d 723,
725 (4th Cir.1990)).