United States District Court, D. Maryland
LYNETTE M. HARRIS Plaintiff,
GREGORY N. BRITTO ET AL., Defendants.
J. MESSITTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 28, 2017, Lynnette Harris, pro se, filed a
Complaint against Gregory Britto of Shapiro & Brown LLP
(“Shapiro & Brown”), Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
(“Wells Fargo”), the Secretary of Housing &
Urban Development (“HUD”), and TZ 101, LLC
(“TZ 101”) (hereinafter, collectively
“Defendants”) alleging that Defendants violated
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., and committed common
law fraud in connection with the foreclosure of her property
located at 1703 Pine Cone Court, Bowie, Maryland 20721 (the
“Property”). She seeks, among other things,
actual and punitive damages, reversal of the foreclosure
proceeding, and a declaratory judgment stating that Shapiro
& Brown did not have legal or equitable interest that
allowed them to foreclosure on the Property.
Defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss. On December 11,
2017, Wells Fargo filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 4. On
January 24, 2018, TZ 101 filed a Motion to Dismiss, EDC No.
8, followed by Britto, who filed a Motion to Dismiss on
January 29, 2018, ECF No. 10.
following reasons, the Motions to Dismiss are
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
about November 30, 2007, Harris borrowed $313, 635.00 from
Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services L.P. (the
“Note”) to purchase the Property. Exhibit B,
Britto's Motion to Dismiss; ECF No. 10-3. She secured the
Note with a deed of trust, which was recorded in the Lands
Records of Prince George's County, Maryland on December
19, 2007 (the “Deed of Trust”). Exhibit C,
Britto's Motion to Dismiss; ECF No. 10-4.
the time when Harris took out the mortgage in 2007 and
November of 2012, the Note and Deed of Trust were assigned to
Wells Fargo. See Exhibit D, Britto's Motion to
Dismiss; ECF No. 10-5. On November 2, 2012, Wells Fargo filed
an Appointment of Substitute Trustees with the Land Records
of Prince George's County, naming the law firm of Shapiro
& Brown, at which Britto is a partner, as Trustees on the
Deed of Trust. Id. Harris subsequently defaulted on
her Note, and on December 14, 2012, Wells Fargo, through
Shapiro & Brown, initiated foreclosure proceedings in the
Circuit Court for Prince George's County, captioned as
Brown, et al., v. Lynette M. Harris, Case No.
CAE12-38886. Exhibit E, Britto's Motion to Dismiss; ECF
No. 10-6. Although the foreclosure case was stayed as a
result of multiple bankruptcy filings by Harris,
Property was eventually sold on April 22, 2014, and the sale
was ratified by the Prince George's County Circuit Court
on November 3, 2014. Id.
2, 2016, Harris filed a Motion in the Circuit Court to Reopen
the Case and Void Judgment, which the Circuit Court denied.
Id. On February 7, 2017, Harris filed a Second
Motion to Reopen the case with that court, which was also
than appeal the Circuit Court's judgment, on September
28, 2017, Harris filed the present Complaint in federal
court, alleging that Shapiro & Brown, through Britto,
violated the FDCPA by making false statements to her in an
attempt to collect on the Note, and that their communications
to her constitute common law fraud. ECF No. 1. She seeks,
among other things, a declaratory judgment that Shapiro &
Brown had no legal standing or interest in either the Note or
Deed of Trust and therefore could not have properly executed
the foreclosure proceeding, a reversal of the foreclosure
decision, damages “for the slander of Plaintiff's
title to land” and “for libel to Plaintiff's
credit, ” and compensatory damages for emotional
October 11, 2017, summonses were issued for Britto, Wells
Fargo, the Secretary of HUD,  and TZ 101. ECF No. 3. While
Britto, Wells Fargo and TZ 101 have entered appearances in
the case, the Secretary has not, nor has any proof of service
upon him been filed.
December 11, 2017, Wells Fargo filed a Motion to Dismiss,
arguing that the Complaint fails to assert any allegations
regarding either it or its representatives, nor does it
allege with appropriate specificity that Wells Fargo
committed fraud or violated the FDCPA. ECF No. 4. On December
14, 2017, the Clerk of this Court mailed Harris a Rule 12/56
letter advising her that the Motion had been filed and
providing her instructions as to the filing of an Opposition.
ECF No. 6. When Harris failed to respond in timely fashion,
the Court issued a letter directing her to respond within
fifteen (15) days or risk having the Motion considered
without the benefit of her arguments. ECF No. 7.
Harris responded, Defendants TZ 101 and Britto filed their
own Motions to Dismiss. ECF Nos. 8 & 10. TZ 101 argues
that the Complaint is devoid of any factual allegations
against it, while Britto argues that the allegations against
him and Shapiro & Brown are entirely conclusory in nature
and fail to articulate an actionable claim. Id.
Copies of both Motions were mailed to Harris with Rule 12/56
letters, again advising Harris of her right to respond to the
Motions. ECF Nos. 9 & 11.
February 12, 2018, Harris responded to all three Motions,
asking for a seventeen (17) day extension of time to file
oppositions and to seek counsel, as well as for leave to file
an amended pleading, which the Court received and docketed on
February 14, 2018. ECF No. 14. On March 9, 2018, the Court
granted Harris' Motion and gave her thirty (30)
additional days from February 14, 2018 (i.e. by no later than
March 14, 2018) to file responses to the pending Motions, and
seventeen (17) days from February 12, 2018 (i.e. by no later
than March 1, 2018) to file an amended pleading and find
representation. ECF No. 17.
March 9, 2018, rather than file responses to the Motions or
an amended pleading, Harris again requested an extension of
time to file her responses to the Motions and for leave to
file an amended complaint. ECF No. 18. The Court, recognizing
that Harris may not have received a copy of its Order
granting her first request, consented to giving her an
additional seventeen (17) days to file an amended complaint,
and thirty-one (31) days to file any responses to
Defendants' outstanding Motions. ECF No. 20. Harris's
responses were due on April 23, 2018.
the date of this Opinion, May 2, 2018, Harris has filed
neither responses nor amended pleadings either with the Court
or Defendants. Accordingly, the Court considers the arguments
that are on the ...