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Costley v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 17, 2018

NATHANIEL M. COSTLEY, SR., et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen Lipton Hollander United States District Judge

         This Memorandum resolves a post-judgment motion to alter or amend.

         In 2013, plaintiffs Nathaniel M. Costley, Sr, and the Estate of Mary Jane Costley (the "Estate") initiated suit against defendants Bank of America, N.A., Individually and as Successor By Merger to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP ("BANA"); Nationstar Mortgage, LLC ("Nationstar"); and Green Tree Servicing, LLC, predecessor to Ditech Financial, LLC ("Ditech"). See ECF I ("Complaint"); see also ECF 79 ("Second Amended Complaint"). The suit was rooted in two loans obtained by Ms. Costley with respect to residential property located in Westminster, Maryland. ECF 79, 22; ECF 119-1 at 3; ECF 119-1 at 5. At the time of Ms. Costley's death in 2009, BANA was servicing both loans. ECF 79. ¶ 21; ECF 119-1 at 5. In the Second Amended Complaint, plaintiffs sought damages based on claims of fraud, conversion, breach of contract, violation of the Truth In Lending Act ("TILA"). codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601, et seq., and violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA"), codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq.

         On May 5, 2017, Judge J. Frederick Motz, to whom the case was then assigned, granted the motion for summary judgment (ECF 118) filed by Ditech. See ECF 129 (Memorandum signed May 5, 2017); ECF 130 (Order signed May 5, 2017). On October 19, 2017, the case was reassigned from Judge Motz to me. See Docket.[1] By Memorandum Opinion (ECF 131) and Order (ECF 132) of November 20, 2017, I granted the motion for summary judgment filed by BANA and Nationstar (ECF 119), and directed the Clerk to close the case. See ECF 132.

         On December 18. 2017, Mr. Costley filed a "Motion to Stay And Set Aside Judgment And Order Pending Appeal" (ECF 133, "Motion to Stay"). And, on that same date, on behalf of himself and the Estate, Mr. Costley filed a "Verified Motion to Alter Or Amend Judgment Granting Defendants', Bank of America, N.A. And Nationstar Mortgage, LLC's Motion For Summary Judgment...." See ECF 134 ("Motion").[2] BANA and Nationstar oppose the Motion. See ECF 135. Mr. Costley has not filed a reply, and the time to do so has expired. See Local Rule 105.2.a. Additionally, BANA and Nationstar have not filed an opposition to the Motion to Stay, and their time to do so has expired. See id.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rule 105.6. The Court is mindful of its obligation to construe liberally the filings of a pro se litigant, which are held to less stringent standards than filings drafted by an attorney. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989). Nevertheless, for the reasons that follow, I shall deny the motions.

         Discussion

         A.

         As indicated, Mr. Costley has filed a Motion to Stay. See ECF 133. He seems to be of the view that it is necessary to stay the case in this Court in order for him to pursue his appeal. In the Motion to Stay (ECF 133), Mr. Costley states, id at 1:

1. Plaintiff is in the process of seeking reconsideration from this Court and will file an Appeal to the Fourth Circuit should the outcome remain unchanged.
2. The Appeal will be done timely and not prejudice defendants.
3. The Appeal is not frivolous and being done in the interest of justice.
4. Plaintiff will suffer more damages and injuries should this Court not Grant Plaintiff s Motion.

         A district court has broad discretion to stay proceedings as part of its inherent power to control its own docket. Landis v. North American,299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). But, that discretion is not without limits. In re Sacramento Mun. Utility Dist.,395 Fed.Appx. 684, 687 (Fed, Cir. 2010). But, a court must ''weigh competing interests and maintain an even balance." Landis, 299 U.S. at 255; see also United Stales v. Ga. Pac. Corp.,562 F.2d 294, 296 (4th Cir. 1977) ("The determination by a district judge in granting or denying a motion to stay proceedings calls for an exercise of ...


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