United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
VICKI R. NOLAN, Plaintiff,
SAXON MORTGAGE, INC., et al., Defendants.
J. HAZEL, United States District Judge
removal action stems from pro se Plaintiff Vicki
Nolan's ("Plaintiff* or "Nolan") fraud
claims against Defendants Saxon Mortgage. Inc. ("Saxon
Mortgage") and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company
("Deutsche Bank") regarding a mortgage Nolan
received in 2007. Several dispositive motions are pending
hefore the Court: Saxon Mortgage's Motion to Dismiss. ECF
No. 11. Deutsche Bank's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 14.
and Saxon Mortgage's "Suggestion that the Court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs
claims." ECF No. 35. which the Court will construe as a
Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. A hearing is unnecessary.
Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below,
the Court will grant Defendant Saxon Mortgage's
Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 35. and deny the
Defendants" remaining Motions to Dismiss as moot.
11. 2007. Nolan obtained a $192, 500.00 loan from Saxon
Mortgage. Inc.. ECF No. 2 ¶ 6. and signed a deed of
trust, securitizing the loan with property located at 6906
Mountain Lake Place. Capitol Heights, Maryland 20743.
Id. ¶¶ 7-9: see also ECF No. 2 at
25- 26. On the same day. Saxon Mortgage
assigned the loan and deed of trust to Deutsche Bank National
Trust Company as Trustee for Saxon Asset Securities Trust
2007-4. Id. ¶ 10; see also ECF No. 2
at 48. Several years later, on July 29. 2011. Nolan,
represented by counsel. Hied a Voluntary Petition for Chapter
7 Bankruptcy with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Maryland. See In re Nolan. No.
11-25662-TJC (Bankr. D. Md. 2011). B. Dkt. No.
I.As part of her Bankruptcy Petition.
Plaintiff was required to list all of her assets, including
"other contingent and unliquidated claims of every
nature." B. Dkt. No. 47 at 6. On January 9. 2012. the
Bankruptcy Court issued an order discharging Plaintiff. B.
Dkt. No. 61.
initiated the present proceedings on February 18, 2016, by
filing a Complaint in the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County. ECF No. 2. In her Complaint. Plaintiff
appears to argue that the July 11. 2007 assignment of her
loan from Saxon Mortgage. Inc. to Deutsche Bank National
Trust Company as Trustee for Saxon Asset Securities was void
because the loan needed to be assigned first to two other
companies, Saxon Funding Management, PLC and Saxon Asset
Securities Company, before it could be assigned to Deutsche
Bank. ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 10-12; see also ECF No.
2 at 58. Plaintiff argues that because the
assignment is void, the Court should declare that the
Defendants have no interest in the property and that she is
the sole owner. ECF No. 2 ¶ 67. In conjunction with this
request for declaratory relief. Plaintiff brings several
claims against each Defendant regarding the allegedly
fraudulent assignment of the loan. Specifically, she brings
four claims against Saxon Mortgage alone alleging: (1) Fraud
in the Concealment; (2) Unconscionable Contract; (3) Breach
of Contract; and (4) Breach of Fiduciary Duty. Id.
¶¶ 18- 48. In addition, she brings her final two
claims. (5) Slander of Title and (6) Intentional Infliction
of Emotional Distress against both Defendants. Id.
¶¶ 49-64. While not stated as a specific claim.
Plaintiff also appears to allege that Saxon Mortgage violated
a section of the Truth in Lending Act. 15 U.S.C. §
1641(g), by failing to record and notify Plaintiff of the
assignment of her loan within thirty days of the assignment
taking place. ECF No. 2 ¶ 14.
April 19. 2016. Defendant Deutsche Bank removed the case to
this Court. ECF No. 1. Saxon Mortgage filed a Motion to
Dismiss on April 25. 2016, ECF No. 11. In its Motion, Saxon
Mortgage argues that the case should be dismissed pursuant to
either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5) for failure
to properly serve the Defendant, or 12(b)(6) for failure to
state a claim for relief. ECF No. 11-1 at 7-8: 10-21.
Alternatively. Saxon Mortgage argues that the Court should
abstain from the case because of prior, on-going foreclosure
proceedings against Plaintiff in Maryland state court.
Id. at 9-10. Deutsche Bank makes similar arguments
in its Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 14. and also expressly
adopts and incorporates the arguments of its co-defendant
into its Motion. ECF No. 14 at 10.
August 1, 2016. the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for
Extension of Time. ECF No. 27. providing Plaintiff with seven
additional days to respond to Defendants' pending
motions. ECF No. 29. On August 24. 2016. Plaintiff filed a
Response in Opposition to Saxon Mortgage's Motion to
Dismiss. ECF No. 31. On November 30, 2016. Defendant Saxon
Mortgage filed a Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 35,
arguing that Plaintiff lacked standing to assert her claims
because they were the property of the bankruptcy estate, ECF
No. 35 at 1, and thus, the Court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction over the case. On January 23, 2017. the Court
mailed Plaintiff a letter notifying her that failure to
respond to Saxon Mortgage's Supplemental Motion to
Dismiss could result in dismissal of her case. ECF No. 36. On
February 10. 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposition to
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Objection to Summary
Judgment and Plaintiff Motion for Declaratory Relief and
Damages. ECF No. 37.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
generally analyze issues of standing pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1)." Borlo v. Navy Fed. Credit Union. 458
B.R. 228. 231 (D. Md. 2011). which governs motions to dismiss
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed. R. Civ. Pro.
12(b)(1). "It is well established that before a federal
court can decide the merits of a cldm. the claim must invoke
the jurisdiction of the court." Miller v.
Brown, 462 F.3d 312. 316 (4th Cir. 2006) (citation
omitted). Thus, "[t]he objection that a federal court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by a party,
or by a court on its own initiative, at any stage in:he
litigation ...." Arbaugh v. Y& HCorp.. 546
U.S. 500. 506 (2006) (citations omitted). Once a challenge is
made to subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the
burden of proving that the Court has subject matter
jurisdiction. See Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co.. a Div. of
Standex Int'l Corp., 166 F.3d 642. 647 (4th Cir.
1999); see also Ferdinand-Davenport v. Children's
Guild 742 F.Supp.2d 772. 777 (D. Md. 2010).
court should grant a Rule 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."
Evans, 166 F.3d at 647. In ruling on a motion under
Rule 12(b)(1), the court "should "regard the
pleadings as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider
evidence outside the pleadings without converting the
proceeding to one for summary judgment.""
Ferdinand-Davenport, 742 F.Supp.2d at 777 (quoting
Evans. 166 F.3d at 647); see also Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States.
945 F.2d 765. 768 (4th Cir. 1991).
Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Saxon Mortgage argues that Plaintiff lacks standing to pursue
her claims because they accrued before she filed for
bankruptcy and. thus, became part of the bankruptcy estate
when she initiated bankruptcy proceedings in 2011. ECF No. 35
at 3-6. Therefore, Saxon Mortgage argues, only the trustee of
the bankruptcy estate has standing to assert the claims that
Plaintiff raises in her Complaint. Id. While
Plaintiff makes general denials in her response, she fails to
assert any specific facts to refute Defencanf s claim that
she lacks standing. ECF No. 37.
individual files a petition for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy
estate is created. This estate "consists of all of the
property that will be subject to the jurisdiction of the
bankruptcy court" and is used to pay the debtor's
creditors. 5-541 Collier on Bankruptcy P 541.01 (16th 2016).
The Bankruptcy Code construes property broadly and
specifically notes that the estate should include "all
legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of
the commencement of the case." 11 U.S.C. § 541
(a)(1). "Such property interests include nombankruptcy
causes of action that arose out ...