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Lindauer v. U.S. Bank NA

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 17, 2017

John H. Lindauer, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
U.S. Bank NA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DOUGLAS L. RAYES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff is John H Lindauer, Trustee of The Jacqueline S. Lindauer Trust. Defendants are the U.S. Bank National Association, Trustee for Pass Through Certificates, Series 2007-2 ("U.S. Bank") and Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC ("Ocwen"). Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint or, in the Alternative, Motion to Transfer to the District of Maryland. (Doc. 9.) The motion is fully briefed and neither party requested oral argument. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted in part and this matter is transferred to the District of Maryland.

         I. Background

         This case presents a dispute over the impending foreclosure of a residential property owned by non-party Susan Lindauer and located in Maryland ("the Property"). Lindauer purchased the Property in 2001 and later received two loans from Plaintiff, one for $65, 000 and another for $10, 000, both of which were secured by deeds of trust encumbering the Property.[1] (Doc. 8 ¶¶ 7, 9-10.) The deeds of trust were recorded in the land records of Montgomery County, Maryland. (¶ 10.)

         In 2007, Lindauer refinanced her home through American Heritage, which established a refinance loan escrow with Ecom Title Agency ("Ecom"). (¶ 11.) Ecom contacted Plaintiff and explained that, as part of the refinancing process, his liens on the Property would be paid off and released so that American Heritage could be the first lienholder on the Property. (¶ 12.) Ecom told Plaintiff that he would receive in the mail documents necessary to release the deeds of trust, and that he should execute those documents and send them back to Ecom along with payoff amount for each of the loans. (¶¶ 14-16.) Plaintiff claims that he signed documents releasing the deeds of trust in February 2007 and returned them to Ecom along with the requested payoff information, but never received payments satisfying either loan. (¶¶ 18, 23.) Ecom nonetheless recorded the deed of trust releases signed by Plaintiff in the Montgomery County land records shortly after the close of refinancing escrow. (¶ 19.)

         After Lindauer defaulted on her refinanced mortgage, U.S. Bank, which is alleged to be the holder of the American Heritage note and deed of trust, obtained a money judgment and an order authorizing foreclosure of the Property. (¶ 25.) Although Plaintiff's complaint fails to specify the nature of his claim against Defendants, he complains that U.S. Bank did not name him as a defendant in the foreclosure case. (¶ 26.) Plaintiff claims that the deeds of trust securing the loans he made to Lindauer remain valid liens on the Property and are superior to the deed of trust securing the refinance loan. (Id.)

         Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint or, in the alternative, to transfer this case to the district of Maryland. (Doc. 9.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed because it was filed in an improper venue, Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, and Plaintiff failed to join a necessary party (Ecom). In the alternative, Defendant argues that this matter should be transferred to the District of Maryland because it arises solely out of a dispute involving real property located in Maryland.

         II. Legal Standard

         A district court must dismiss or transfer a case that is brought in the wrong district. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b):

A civil action may be brought in-
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or
(3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.

         For venue purposes, a corporation "shall be deemed to reside, if a defendant, in any judicial district in which such defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to the ...


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