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
this Court's earlier dismissal of Plaintiff Neil
Letren"s claims, see ECF No. 56. and denial of
Plaintiff s Motion to Alter or Amend, see ECF No.
58; ECF No. 62. Plaintiff now moves the Court for Relief from
Judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60, ECF No. 64. No hearing
is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.). For the
reasons stated below. Plaintiffs Motion for Relief from
Judgment, ECF No. 64, is denied.
Court will not repeat the background facts in their entirety.
See ECF No. 56 at 2-6: ECF No. 62 at 2-4. In 2007.
Neil Letren obtained a mortgage loan against his property
(the "Property"), for which he signed a promissory
note (the "Note"). ECF No. 40 ¶ 10. In an
effort to resolve a number of legal disputes related to the
Property, Letren entered into a Release and Settlement
Agreement ("the Settlement Agreement") with
Defendants on September 20. 2013 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 Settlement Agreement provided that Letren would pay
the sum of $90, 000, as payoff amount, "in full accord
and satisfaction of the debt evidenced by the said Note
..." ECF No. 44-4 at 3. Letren has claimed throughout
this litigation that despite his payoff of the $90, 000, the
original Note has not been returned to him. and that
Defendants were not legally entitled to receive his payment
because they were not "holders"' of the Note.
Plaintiff brought suit in January 2015. alleging breach of
contract and other statutory claims. The Court granted
Defendants* Motion to Dismiss on March 25. 2016. ECF No. 56.
The Court also denied Plaintiffs Motion to Alter or Amend
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) on December 16, 2016. Plaintiff now
moves for Relief from Judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60.
Plaintiff has not appealed the Court's final judgment.
motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its
legal representative from a final judgment, order, or
proceeding." due to "mistake, inadvertence,
surprise, or excusable neglect." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1).
or "any other reason that justifies relief, "
60(b)(6). Although the language of Rule 60(b)(6) is facially
broad, "its context requires that it may be invoked in
only extraordinary circumstances." Tyler v.
AMTRAK. No. PJM 15-1666. 2016 WL 6170509, at *1 (D. Md.
Oct. 24. 2016) (quoting Aikens v. Ingram. 652 F.3d
496. 500 (4th Cir. 2011)). The Fourth Circuit has noted that
a narrow construction of Rule 60(b)(6) is "essential if
the finality of judgments is to be preserved."
Aikens, 652 F.3d at 501 (quoting Liljeberg v.
Health Servs. Acquisition Corp, 486 U.S. 847. 873 (1988)
(Rehnquist. C.J.. dissenting)). The Court should only grant a
motion filed under Rule 60(b)(6) where "the party filing
the motion ha[s] a meritorious claim or defense" and
"the opposing party [will] not be unfairly prejudiced by
having the judgment set aside." hi. at 501.
Additionally, a "Rule 60(b) motion does not substitute
for a timely appeal." Miskell v. Rohrer, No.
CIV. WDQ-12-0742. 2013 WL 6622923. at *1 (D. Md. Dec. 13,
2013). Where the moving party could have addressed the issue
on appeal, he has not demonstrated "extraordinary
case. Plaintiff has wholly failed to show any
"extraordinary circumstances" justifying relief
from the Court's previous Order. In fact, Plaintiffs
arguments in his Motion for Relief from Judgment are simply a
repackaging of the same contentions raised in his prior
Motion to Alter or Amend, which were rejected by the Court.
In his Motion to Alter or Amend, Letren argued that the Court
"failed to address or mak[e] any findings with regards
to Plaintiffs argument that the Defendant breached the
settlement agreement and therefore the Plaintiff is permitted
to pursue damages arising from the breach." ECF No. 58
at 1. Plaintiff now states in his present Motion for Relief
from Judgment that "the Court confused Plaintiffs breach
of contract cause of action with plaintiffs breach of
contract defense to defendant's enforcement of the
settlement agreement." ECF No. 64 at 1. Plaintiff
further claims that "the Court focused on Plaintiffs
breach of contract claim regarding the deed of trust. The
Court did not discuss whether Defendants breached the
settlement agreement and whether the Defendants were barred
from enforcing the settlement agreement as a result of the
Defendantsf] breach of the settlement agreement."
Id. at 3. Plaintiffs arguments fail for two primary
reasons. First. Plaintiff makes an improper attempt to amend
his Second Amended Complaint through new allegations, and
second. Plaintiffs misapprehends the Court's ruling.
Count Four of his Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff
alleged, in no uncertain terms, a claim for "breach of
contract" relating to the subject Deed of Trust and
not the parties" later Settlement Agreement.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that "[i]n addition to
requiring that the Deed of Trust be release[d], paragraph 23
of the Deed of Trust also required the Note be mark[ed] paid
and return to the Plaintiff." ECF No. 40 ¶ 54.
"Goldberg [as trustee of the Deed of Trust] has not
performed its obligation under the Deed of Trust to return
the Note." Id. ¶ 63. The remainder of
Plaintiff s filings also discuss breach of contract in the
context of the Deed of Trust and Defendants" alleged
failure to return the promissory Note to him. See,
e.g.. ECF No. 47 at 2 ("Defendant [b]reached the
Deed of Trust... it is undisputed that Defendants have not
returned the Note"); ECF No. 54 at 1 ("Plaintiff
has alleged that Defendant Goldberg breached his contractual
obligations to him under the Deed of Trust"); ECF No. 54
at 7 ("the Deed of Trust required Goldberg to
'release the Security Instrument and mark the Note paid
and return to the Note to Borrower.'") (internal
alterations omitted). In its earlier ruling, the Court
unequivocally found that 1) obligations under the original
Deed of Trust were discharged by the subsequent Settlement
Agreement under the doctrine of accord and satisfaction, and
2) by the very terms of the Settlement Agreement. Letren was
barred from raising a breach of contract claim relating in
"any way" to the Note. ECF No. 56 at 10.
Letren attempts to repeat an allegation he raised for the
first time in his Opposition to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, ECF No. 57 at 3-4; specifically, that
"Plaintiff has argued that Defendant SLS failed to honor
the agreed upon payoff amount and told an inquiring lender
that $329, 399.80 was owed on the debt, " rather than
only $90, 000. ECF No. 64 at 2. Letren further states in his
Reply to Defendants' Opposition to his Motion for Relief
from Judgment that "Defendants failed to comply with the
settlement agreement by providing a payoff statement of $329,
399.80. see Exhibit I. instead of a payoff statement for
$90, 000." ECF No. 66 at 2. The Court did not. cannot,
and will not consider these allegations because Plaintiff is
"bound by the allegations in [his] Complaint and cannot
amend [his] Complaint through [his] opposition brief."
See Smith v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC. No. CV
GLR-16-487. 2016 WE 6780205. at *5 n.8 (D. Md. Nov. 16. 2016)
(citing Zachair, Lid v. Driggs, 965 F.Supp. 741. 748
n.4 (D. Md. 1997) affd, 141 F.3d 1162 (4th Cir.
1998). Additionally. Plaintiffs citation to Tucker v.
Specialized Loan Servicing. LLC. No. PWG-14-813. 2016 WL
6476286. at *6 (D. Md. Nov. 1. 2016) ("Performance of
the contract by parties suing on it is a condition precedent
to recovery."). which cites Hubler Rentals, Inc. v.
Roadway Exp., inc.. 637 F.2d 257. 260 (4th Cir. 1981).
is neither "an intervening change in controlling law,
"' nor is it relevant to Plaintiffs
breach of contract claim in this action. Plaintiff is bound
by the allegations of his Second Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff continues to make the misplaced assertion that the
Court did not address breach in the context of the Settlement
Agreement. The Court found that the parties' Settlement
Agreement was plain and unambiguous, providing that Mr.
Letren would be permitted to pay a discounted sum of $90, 000
"in full accord and satisfaction of the debt evidenced
by the said Note.'* and that in exchange. Mr. Letren
would release all claims "having already resulted or to
result at any time in the future, or in any way related
to the Note." ECF No. 56 at 10 (citing ECF No. 44-4
at 3) (emphasis added). The Court noted that the parties were
obligated by the Settlement Agreement to "release,
acquit, and forever discharge the Released Parties, their
agents, principals, heirs, executors, administrators,
personal representatives, predecessors, successors, officers,
directors, stockholders, privies and insurers and any and all
persons, firms, associations, partnerships and corporations,
which are or might be claimed to be liable to Mr. Letren as a
result of the Note . . .'" ECF No. 44-4 at 5.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed Mr. Letren's breach of
contract claim, as it was undeniably premised on
Defendants' purported failure "to return the
Note." Any other alleged breach on behalf of Defendants
is not properly before this Court and will not be addressed
for these reasons that Plaintiffs Motion for Relief from
Judgment. ECF No. 64, is denied. A separate Order shall
There is no "Exhibit I"
attached to Plaintiffs Reply, ECF No. 66. nor does there
appear to be one in the ...