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Spencer v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 17, 2017




         Alicia Spencer El, the self-represented plaintiff, filed suit against a loan servicer, Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (“SPS”), and Matt Hollingsworth, in his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of SPS.[1] Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, that defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq.; failed “to produce the wet-ink signature of the original instrument of indebtedness in its original form”; committed one or more unspecified “FTC Violations”; violated the “1987/1789 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the Moroccan Empire . . . and the United States Republic ratified in 1836” (“Treaty”); and committed “default of estoppel by silent acquiescence.” ECF 1. Plaintiff appended several exhibits to her Complaint. See ECF 1-2 through ECF 1-11.

         On May 26, 2017, SPS and Hollingsworth moved to dismiss the complaint, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for failure to comply with Rule 8(a) and for failure to state a claim. ECF 12. The motion to dismiss is supported by a memorandum of law. ECF 12-1 (collectively, “Motion”). The Clerk promptly sent a letter to plaintiff on May 30, 2017, informing her of the right to respond to the Motion within seventeen days. ECF 13. In addition, the letter warned: “If you do not file a timely written response, the Court may dismiss the case or enter judgment against you without further notice.” Id.

         On June 14, 2017, the Court received correspondence from plaintiff requesting an extension of time to respond to the Motion. See ECF 14. Because plaintiff did not affix a certificate of service to her correspondence, plaintiff's request was returned to her. Id. Nevertheless, I extended until July 14, 2017, the time for plaintiff to respond to the Motion. ECF 15. Plaintiff did not respond, and the time for her to do so has expired. See docket.

         Although the Motion is unopposed, the Court “has an obligation to review” it “to ensure that dismissal is proper.” Stevenson v. City of Seat Pleasant, Md., 743 F.3d 411, 416 n.3 (4th Cir. 2014) (collecting cases); accord Thana v. Bd. of License Commissioners for Charles Cty., Maryland, No. PWG-14-3481, 2017 WL 57211, at *1 (D. Md. Jan. 5, 2017), on appeal, No. 17-1192 (4th Cir. 2017). Moreover, the Court must construe liberally the pleadings of a pro se litigant, which are “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989).

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant the Motion.

         I. Factual Background

         Spencer El's claims appear to stem from several communications directed to her from SPS and from “Atlantic Law Group, LLC” (“Atlantic”), pertaining to a default on plaintiff's mortgage, in the original amount of $189, 000, payable to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee. See ECF 1; see also ECF 1-2 (correspondence from SPS); ECF 1-3 (correspondence from Atlantic); ECF 1-4 (correspondence from SPS). With reference to the communications from SPS, plaintiff states, ECF 1 at 5 (emphasis in original):

I totally deny I owe a debt to the Debt Collectors/Servicers SPS. I don't know what they are talking about; I never received a loan from SPS; I have no proof that I received a loan from SPS; I don't know who they are; I don't know if they have capacity or standing at law via FDCPA 1692 to sue me; and even if what they are saying is right, they have to prove that they are the persons that have a right to collect any debt from me and it is still a question as to why the Debt Collectors/Servicers refuse to prove that they are the holders in due course.

         Plaintiff alleges that after she received SPS's letter dated November 18, 2016 (ECF 1-4), which notified her that her mortgage loan payment was past due, she asked “this servicer . . . to identify themselves.” Id. at 6. According to plaintiff: “They failed to verify or validate the debt or provide admissible evidence of this alleged debt. I don't recall any particular transaction with this servicer/debt collector and the identity is unknown to me.” Id. In addition, plaintiff asserts: “Debt Collectors/Servicers have no information to prove that I owe them this amount of money; therefore, because I'm the only competent fact witness that was there when this consumer transaction took place, I, Alicia Yolonda Spencer El am truly the only competent fact witness to be able to state the facts thereof.” Id. (emphasis in original). Further, plaintiff states: “Judge, I just need an order saying that they violated the FDCPA by sending me this ambiguous letter.” Id. at 7.

         According to plaintiff, SPS committed “FTC Violations” by misrepresenting the amount that she allegedly owed for her mortgage. Id. With reference to the FDCPA, plaintiff claims, id.:

1) “Debt Collectors/servicers falsely represented the character, amount, or legal status of my debt and violated 1692 g(b) disputed debts: validation of debt according to the FDCPA.
2) “Debt Collectors/servicers communicated or threatened to communicate credit information which was known to be false or should have been known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a debt was disputed by me. This is further proof of misrepresentation.”
3) “Debt Collectors/servicers used false representations or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect a debt, or to obtain information concerning myself and (1692a (6) (4)--they are debt collectors and not the creditors and are pretending that I owe them a debt when I do not.”

         Furthermore, plaintiff claims that SPS violated the Treaty by “violating amendment V of the Constitution/contract between the Moroccan Empire and the United States by trying to deprive a Moroccan Indigenous Aboriginal Autochthonous flesh and blood being from her life, liberty, and most of all PROPERTY, without due process of law.” Id. at 8 (emphasis in original).

         II. ...

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