United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
NEIL F. LETREN, Plaintiff,
ARCH BAY HOLDINGS, LLC et al., Defendants.
J. Hazel, United States District Judge.
Court's previous Memorandum Opinion and Order dated March
25, 2016, the Court dismissed Plaintiff Neil F. Letren's
("Plaintiff or "Mr. Letren") claims in favor
of Defendants Arch Bay Holdings, LLC ("Arch"),
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC ("SLS), and Stephen N.
Goldberg ("Goldberg") (collectively,
"Defendants"). ECF No. 56; ECF No. 57. Plaintiff now
moves the Court to alter or amend the judgment contained in
its earlier Opinion, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). ECF No.
58. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For
the reasons stated herein, Plaintiffs Motion to Alter or
Amend is denied.
background facts of this action were fully set forth in the
Court's previous Memorandum Opinion. ECF No. 56 at
To summarize, this case arises out of a dispute concerning a
promissory note (the "Note") for a mortgage on real
property. In 2007, Mr. Letren obtained a mortgage loan
against his property (the "Property") located in
Capitol Heights, Maryland, for which he signed the promissory
note (the "Note"). ECF No. 40 ¶ 10. Mr. Letren
also executed a Deed of Trust as a lien against the Property,
which named him as the borrower, and various financial
entities as "lender, " "beneficiary, " or
"trustee." Id. ¶ 11. At some point,
Defendant Arch Bay Holdings, LLC ("Arch") purported
to be the owner of the Note, and Defendant Specialized Loan
Servicing, LLC ("SLS) claimed to be the
"servicer" of the loan. Id. ¶ 13.
2011, a foreclosure action was initiated against the Property
in Prince George's County Circuit Court based on Mr.
Letren's alleged default on the loan, but the action was
ultimately dismissed without prejudice. See Cohn v.
Letren, No. CAE11-13229 (Prince George's Cty. Cir.
Ct); ECF No. 40 ¶ 77. Between May 2012 and November
2012, Plaintiff filed three separate actions in Prince
George's County Circuit Court against various Defendants
named in the suit subjudice. See Letren v. Cohn, Goldberg
& Deutsch, LLC, No. CAL12-15920 (Prince George's
Cty. Cir. Ct.); Letren v. Mortgagelt, Inc., No.
CAE12-17709 (Prince George's Cty. Cir. Ct.); Letren
v. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, No. CAL12-36628
(Prince George's Cty. Cir. Ct).
resolve these lawsuits, Mr. Letren, Arch, SLS, and the
"Substitute Trustees" entered into a Release and
Settlement Agreement ("the Settlement Agreement")
dated September 20, 2013, in order to effectuate their
"desire to settle, discharge, and terminate all claims,
controversies, and potential claims and controversies which
may now exist, whether known or unknown, between them without
resort to further litigation..." ECF No. 44-4 at 3;
see also ECF No. 40 ¶¶ 36-37. At that
time, the Note had a principal balance owed in the amount of
$281, 674.44. ECF No. 44-4 at 2. The parties' Settlement
Agreement provided, among other things, that Mr. Letren would
pay the sum of $90, 000 to Arch as a payoff amount "in
full accord and satisfaction of the debt evidenced by the
said Note . .." ECF No. 44-4 at 3. Upon receipt of the
payoff, Arch would release the Deed of Trust encumbering the
Property as security for the Note. Id.
Letren brought the current action in this Court, alleging
that despite his payment of the $90, 000, the Note had not
been returned to him, violating the terms of the Deed of
Trust. ECF No. 40 ¶ 18. Mr. Letren alleged that because
Defendants did not possess the original Note, they were not
"holders" of the Note. Thus, Defendants could not
seek payment pursuant to the Note and were not entitled to
the $90, 000 he had paid them pursuant to the Settlement
Agreement. Id. ¶ 21. Mr. Letren asserted claims
under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
("FDCPA"), the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection
Act ("MCDCA"), the Maryland Consumer Protection Act
("MCPA"), as well as for breach of contract, unjust
enrichment, and common law fraud. ECF No. 40. The Court
granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that Mr.
Letren's FDCPA, MCDCA, MCPA, unjust enrichment, and
common law fraud claims were barred by res judicata, and that
his breach of contract claim was barred by the parties'
Settlement Agreement itself. ECF No. 56.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
59(e) allows a party to file a motion to alter or amend a
judgment no later than 28 days after the entry of the
judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); see also Ford v. United
States, No. GJH-11-3039, 2016 WL 3430673, at *1 (D. Md.
Mar. 16, 2016). One purpose of Rule 59(e) is to "permit
a district court to correct its own errors, 'sparing the
parties and the appellate courts the burden of unnecessary
appellate proceedings.'" Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat. Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998).
However, the Fourth Circuit recognizes only three grounds on
which a court may alter or amend an earlier judgment:
"(1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling
law: (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial:
or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest
injustice." United States ex rel. Becker v.
Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d 284, 290 (4th
Cir. 2002) (citing Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l
Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998)).
"Clear error or manifest injustice occurs where a court
'has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a
decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the
Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning
but of apprehension . ..'" Wagner v.
Warden, No. ELH-14-791, 2016 WL 1169937, at *3 (D. Md.
Mar. 24, 2016) (quoting King v. McFadden, 2015 WL
4937292, at *2 (D.S.C. August 18, 2015)).
of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy
which should be used sparingly." Pac Ins. Co.,
148 F.3d at 403 (citation omitted). A Rule 59(e) motion
"may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise
arguments or present evidence that could have been raised
prior to the entry of judgment." Id. (citation
omitted). "[M]ere disagreement" with the
court's ruling does not support a motion to alter or
amend the judgment. Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d
1076, 1082 (4th Cir. 1993). Such limitations are necessary
because "[w]ere it otherwise, then there would be no
conclusion to motions practice, each motion becoming nothing
more than the latest installment in a potentially endless
serial that would exhaust the resources of the parties and
the court-not to mention its patience." Pinney v.
Nokia, Inc., 402 F.3d 430, 453 4th Cir. 2005) (quoting
Potter v. Potter, 199 F.R.D. 550, 553 (D. Md.
Motion to Alter or Amend, Mr. Letren does not allege any
intervening changes in controlling law, nor does he contend
that new evidence has come to light. Rather, Mr. Letren
argues that the Court erred by 1) failing to address his
argument that the Defendants breached the Settlement
Agreement, 2) failing to correctly apply principles of res
judicata, and 3 "impermissibly judging the merits of
Plaintiff s allegations" relating to the effect of fraud
on the parties' Settlement Agreement. The Court will
address Plaintiffs first, third, and second arguments in
Failure to Address Argument that the Defendants Breached
argues that "the Court completely failed to address or
mak[e] any finding with regards to Plaintiffs argument that
the Defendant breached the settlement agreement and therefore
the Plaintiff is permitted to ...