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Reid v. New Century Mortgage Corp.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 20, 2018

ANGELE ROSE REID, Plaintiff
v.
NEW CENTURY MORTGAGE CORPORATION, et al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAULA XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Angele Rose Reid (“Plaintiff” or “Reid”) brings this pro se action against New Century Mortgage Corporation a/k/a Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“Deutsche Bank”) and BWW Law Group, LLC (“BWW”) to quiet title on the real property located at 2305 Norlinda Avenue, Oxon Hill, Maryland 20745 (“the Property”). Pending before the Court are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the Complaint for Failure to State a Claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), ECF Nos. 9, 15, and Plaintiff's Motion Requesting the Court to Appoint a Mediator, ECF No. 20. The issues have been briefed, ECF Nos. 9, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, and no hearing is required, see Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons explained below, the Motions to Dismiss are granted and the Motion Requesting the Court to Appoint a Mediator is denied as moot.

         I. Overview[1]

         Plaintiff is the former owner of the Property. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 2, 17 (“Compl.”). On October 26, 2006, the Property was conveyed via warranty deed to Cheryl Johnson. See ECF No. 9-3. To purchase the Property, Johnson secured a loan from New Century Mortgage Corporation for $403, 750.00 and executed a deed of trust conveying legal title to the Property and the right to foreclose upon default. See ECF No. 15, Ex. B. This deed of trust was later assigned to Defendant Deutsche Bank, as trustee for a securitized pool of loans.[2] See Compl. ¶¶ 8, 9; ECF No. 15, Ex. C.

         Soon after Johnson purchased the Property, she became delinquent on her loan. Compl. ¶ 80. As a result, Deutsche Bank began sending foreclosure notices to the Property, where Reid still resided. Id. ¶¶ 80-91. In May 2007, Reid recorded a Notice of Revocation of Power of Attorney and Rescission and Cancellation of Foreclosure Consultant Contract and Foreclosure Conveyance Deed, pursuant to which she purportedly rescinded the warranty deed that had transferred title to Johnson. See ECF No. 15, Ex. D.

         Johnson ultimately defaulted on her loan with Deutsche Bank. Compl. ¶ 80. In response, BWW and Deutsche Bank initiated formal foreclosure proceedings on the Property in September 2015. WBGLMC v. Johnson, CAEF15-26303 (Cir. Ct. Prince George's Cty., Md. Sept. 15, 2015).[3] The Property was sold at a foreclosure sale to Deutsche Bank and Plaintiff was evicted from the Property on January 2, 2018. Compl. ¶ 99. Throughout the period from conveyance to foreclosure sale, however, several lawsuits ensued. Each is recounted below.

         a. First Lawsuit

         Deutsche Bank filed suit against Reid and Johnson in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County on June 16, 2011. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust v. Reid, CAE11-14694 (Cir. Ct. Prince George's Cty., Md. June 22, 2011) (the “First Lawsuit”).[4] In the First Lawsuit, Deutsche Bank sought declaratory judgment to confirm that the Deed of Trust which Johnson assigned as security “is a valid and enforceable interest/encumbrance/lien against the Property;” that Reid maintained “no claim or rescissionary interest in the Property affecting Deutsche Bank's interest;” and that “Deutsche Bank (as secured party under the Deed of Trust) has superior, right, title, and interest.” See ECF No. 9-6. Reid filed counterclaims against Deutsche Bank and cross-claims against Johnson, requesting declaratory and injunctive relief for quiet title. ECF No. 9-7. Specifically, Reid sought confirmation that she “is the absolute owner of the property, ” that “any deed recorded by defendant Cheryl R. Johnson as a result of the purported transfer of the property is void ab initio, ” and that “[Reid] has complete, sole, and uninterrupted ownership and rights in the property. . . .” See id. at 23-24.

         Thereafter, Reid, through counsel, entered into a settlement agreement with Deutsche Bank on or about February 23, 2012. ECF No. 9-9 at 3-4. The parties agreed that Reid would release her claims against Deutsche Bank and would pay monthly forbearance fees of $1, 500 for four months. Reid also was permitted to refinance the loan at any time prior to July 1, 2012. Id. The settlement agreement further provided that if Reid failed to make timely forbearance payments, Reid would withdraw her Notice of Rescission, ratify her conveyance to Johnson, release to Deutsche Bank any claim, right, title and interest in the Property, and vacate the Property. Id. at 4.

         Reid failed to remit the forbearance payments as required. Id. at 4. Consequently, on June 15, 2012, Deutsche Bank moved in the Circuit Court to enforce the agreement, which the court granted. Id. at 5. In particular, the court struck Reid's May 2007 Notice of Rescission, ratified the conveyance to Johnson, dismissed Reid's claims against Deutsche Bank with prejudice, and directed Reid to vacate the property. ECF No. 9-8. Reid unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration and then appealed the court's decision. ECF No. 9-9 at 2. On June 4, 2014, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued a thirteen-page opinion affirming the Circuit Court. Id.

         b. Second Lawsuit

         On July 12, 2012, Reid filed suit in this Court against Deutsche Bank, Cheryl Johnson, and BWW's predecessor in interest, the firm of Bierman, Geesing, Ward & Wood, LLC.[5] See Reid v. New Century Mortg. Corp., Civ. No. AW-12-2083, 2012 WL 6562887, at *1 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2012) (the “Second Lawsuit”).[6] In this action, Reid sought to quiet title on the Property and also asserted federal statutory claims against BWW under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et. seq. (“FDCPA”). ECF No. 9-10 at 18, 19, 22. This Court dismissed the claims as barred on res judicata grounds because the First and Second Lawsuits involved the same parties and “essentially equivalent” claims. ECF No. 9-11 at 5. In so doing, this Court rejected Reid's contention that the state court's judgment did not amount to adjudication on the merits because the prior court merely enforced a settlement agreement. Id. This Court reasoned:

Instead of litigating these claims, Plaintiff opted to settle the case. The settlement gave Plaintiff a chance to keep the property. Plaintiff squandered this opportunity by failing to make the agreed-upon mortgage payments even though she received an option to pay off the second mortgage for an amount that was no greater than her original one. Consequently, [Deutsche Bank] moved to enforce the settlement agreement, which the state court granted. The state court also ratified the conveyance to Johnson and dismissed Plaintiff's counterclaims with prejudice. Thus, the state court's decision had substantive impact and reflects a final resolution of all issues in the suit.

See id. at 5-6. This Court also dismissed the FDCPA claims against BWW as time-barred and otherwise not pleaded with sufficient specificity to survive challenge, and closed the case with prejudice. ECF No. 9-11 at 7, 9.

         c. ...


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