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People v. Territory of Maryland

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 5, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THE TERRITORY OF MARYLAND, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAULA XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Currently pending before the Court are Defendants' unopposed Motions to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (ECF Nos. 8, 23, and 26).[1] The Court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         This matter arises out of foreclosure proceedings in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland, Case No. CAEF-15-20470 (the “Foreclosure Action”) filed with respect to the property located at 6711 Sand Cherry Way, Clinton, Maryland 20903 (the “Property”). See ECF No. 1-1. A copy of the Foreclosure Action docket is attached to this opinion.

         On August 3, 2015, foreclosure proceedings commenced against Plaintiffs Clifford Lee Massey and Marilyn Lovette Panda-Massey (collectively “Plaintiffs” or the “Masseys”), in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County. See Foreclosure Action Docket, Entry 1. After related proceedings to include mediation, the Circuit Court ordered the foreclosure sale. See Foreclosure Action Docket, Entry 14. Plaintiffs thereafter sought to remove the Foreclosure Action to this Court. See Ward v. Massey, No. 8:16-cv-01530-DKC. On June 9, 2016, this Court remanded the Foreclosure Action for want of jurisdiction. See Ward v. Massey, No. DKC 16-1530, 2016 WL 3196679 (D. Md. June 9, 2016).

         Then, on September 16, 2016, Plaintiffs proceeding pro se, filed the instant action in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. ECF No. 2, naming corporate defendants BWW Law Group, GMAC Mortgage, Blank Rome LLP, EverBank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA (“Chase”), and Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC (“Ocwen”), the Territory of Maryland, and individual defendants Lori Hester, Nicholas Derdock, Jr, Sydney J. Harrison, Melvin C. High, Larnzell Martin, Jr., James R. Billings-Kang, Judges Mary Ellen Barbera, Leo F. Green, Peter B. Krauser, Crystal D. Mittlestaedt, Karen H. Masonm and Toni E. Clarke, and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendants Billings-Kang, Ocwen, and Everbank then properly removed the action to this Court on October 13, 2016. ECF No. 1.

         Plaintiffs' Complaint, although difficult to decipher, alleges that all Defendants acted improperly in either enforcing an invalid lien or participating in the Foreclosure Action. Plaintiffs contend that they were gifted the Property when “born under the Maritime Law, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code 21.7.13.3.2.2.” ECF No. 2 at 1. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants Derdock, Chang, and Billings-Kang in the Foreclosure Action filed a fraudulent summons and complaint because the attorneys did not provide “proof of delegation of authority or jurisdiction of any kind” over Plaintiffs' estate and thus, the Property. ECF No. 2-3 at 2. Plaintiffs contend that all Defendants are acting in concert to unlawfully and fraudulently enforce an invalid lien. ECF No. 2-3 at 2.[3] Plaintiffs also claim to bring this action against all Defendants for “following the orders of a criminal enterprise, ” specifically for committing the federal criminal offense of “breach of public trust/fraud upon the court, ” citing 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242, by having “meddled in [their] estate without authorization” as “Executors De Son Tort.” ECF No. 2 at 1. Plaintiffs seek a Writ of Mandamus, dismissing the Foreclosure Action and enjoining various state employees from proceeding in the Foreclosure Action. ECF No. 2 at 2.

         On October 18, 2016, Billings-Kang, EverBank, and Ocwen filed a joint Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 8. On October 27, 2016, BWW Law Group and Derdock also filed a joint Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 23, and Chase filed its Motion to Dismiss on November 4, 2016. ECF No. 26. For the reasons that follow, the Motions are GRANTED.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Plaintiffs are proceeding pro se, and their Complaint must be construed liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, liberal construction does not absolve Plaintiffs from pleading plausible claims. See Holsey v. Collins, 90 F.R.D. 122, 128 (D. Md. 1981) (citing Inmates v. Owens, 561 F.2d 560, 562-63 (4th Cir. 1977)). As the Fourth Circuit made clear:

It is neither unfair nor unreasonable to require a pleader to put his complaint in an intelligible, coherent, and manageable form, and his failure to do so may warrant dismissal. Corcoran v. Yorty, 347 F.2d 222, 223 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 966 (1965); Holsey v. Collins, 90 F.R.D. 122, 128 (D. Md. 1981). District courts are not required to be mind readers, or to conjure questions not squarely presented to them. Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1088 (1986).

Harris v. Angliker, 955 F.2d 41, 1992 WL 21375, at *1 (4th Cir. 1992) (per curiam).

         When ruling on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must “accept the well-pled allegations of the complaint as true, ” and “construe the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997). “The mere recital of elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).” Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint's factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). “To satisfy this standard, a plaintiff need not ‘forecast' evidence sufficient to prove the elements of the claim. However, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to establish those elements.” Walters, 684 F.3d at 439 (citation omitted). “Thus, while a plaintiff does not need to demonstrate in a complaint that the right to relief is ‘probable, ' the complaint must advance the plaintiff's claim ‘across the line from conceivable to plausible.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim, and where the face of a complaint plainly fails to state a claim for relief, the district court has “no discretion but to dismiss it.” Eriline Co. S.A. v. Johnson, 440 F.3d 648, 655 n.10 (4th Cir. 2006) (internal quotations omitted).

         When a plaintiff alleges fraud or “the gravamen of the claim is fraud even though the theory supporting the claim is not technically termed fraud, ” Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that such claims be pleaded with particularity. Haley v. Corcoran, 659 F.Supp.2d 714, 721 (D. Md. 2009) (quoting Adams v. NVR Homes, Inc., 193 F.R.D. 243, 250 (D. Md. 2000); Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b)). To satisfy this standard, plaintiffs “must, at a minimum, describe the time, place, and contents of the false representations, as well as the identity of the person making the misrepresentation and what he obtained thereby.” United States ex rel. Wilson v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 525 F.3d 370, 379 (4th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “These facts are often referred to as the ‘who, what, when, where, and how' of the alleged fraud.” Id. (quoting United States ex rel. Willard v. Humana Health Plan of Tex. Inc.,336 F.3d 375, 384 (5th Cir. 2003)). This requirement affords the Defendants notice of the basis for the plaintiff's claim, safeguards against frivolous ...


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