United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
W. Grimm United States District Judge
Ysola Ruiz seeks a declaration establishing that she remains
the owner of a residential property in Silver Spring,
Maryland, which has twice been the subject of foreclosure
proceedings. See Compl. 2-3, 8, ECF
NO... Deutsche Bank Trust Company
("Deutsche Bank"), the sole remaining defendant in
the suit, has filed an uncontested motion for judgment on the
pleadings. ECF No. 19. As I agree with Deutsche Bank that the
doctrine of res judicata bars Ms. Ruiz's claims, I am
granting the motion and dismissing the Complaint with
Ruiz obtained a mortgage secured by her principal residence,
12005 Remington Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20902 (the
"Property",, and executed a Deed of Trust on the
Property in favor of the note holder and Deutsche Bank.
Compl. On November 29, 2007, Deutsche Bank instituted
foreclosure proceedings in the Circuit Court for Montgomery
County ("First Foreclosure Action"). !d.
at ~ 2. The Property was sold to Deutsche Bank, but the court
later rescinded the sale due to a lack of notice to the
Internal Revenue Service, stating that "the parties are
hereby placed into the status quo ante and the
Substitute Trustees may resell the subject property."
Order to Vacate Foreclosure Sale, ECF No. 19-3.
September 30, 2015, Deutsche Bank initiated foreclosure
proceedings a second time, again in the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County ("Second Foreclosure Action"). As
the defendant in that case, Ms. Ruiz filed a motion to
dismiss, which was denied, ECF No. 19-5, as was her motion
for reconsideraiion of that denial. Docket Sheet 9-10, ECF
No. 19-7. Deutsche Bank purchased the Property, Compl. ~ 17,
and the court issued an Order for Judgment Awarding
Possession on May 10, 2018, ECF No. 19-9.
November 17, 2017, while the Second Foreclosure Case was
still pending, Ms. Ruiz brought the current action against
Nationstar Mortgage LLC  and Deutsche Bank. Compl. The
Complaint purports to bring three claims: (1) Quiet Title,
(2) breach of contract and violation of 12 C.F.R. S 1026.41
and 12 U.S.C. S 2605, and (3) breach of contract, failure to
restore status quo following the first foreclosure case.
Id. at 5-11.
the Court is Defendant Deutsche Bank's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings. Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 19.
Plaintiff has not filed an opposition brief, and the time to
do so expired on August 24, 2018. Scheduling Order, ECF No.
18. Deutsche Bank argues that Plaintiffs claims are barred by
res judicata, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine,
and the Anti-Injunction Act, 22 U.S.C. S 2283. Def.'s
Mem., ECF No. 19-1 at 1. Because I find that res
judicata precludes this litigation, I am granting
Defendant's motion without reaching Defendant's
alternative grounds for dismissal.
apply "the same standard for Rule 12(c) motions [for
judgment on the pleadings] as for motions made pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6)." Burbach Broadcasiing Co. of Del. v.
Elkins Radio Corp., 278 F.3d 401, 466 (4th Cir. 2002).
Under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint is subject to dismissal if
it "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A complaint must
contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,"
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and must state "a plausible claim
for relief," Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678~79 (2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. Rule 12(b)(6)'s purpose "is to test the
sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests
surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicabiitty of defenses." VelenGia v.
Drezhlo, No. RDB-12-237, 2012 WL 6562764, at *4 (D. Md.
Dec. 13, 2012) (quoting Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006)).
affirmative defense "clearly appears on the face of the
complaint," however, the Court may rule on that defense
when considering a motion to dismiss. Kalas v. Centennial
Sur. Assocs., No. CCB-12-1532, 2012 WL 6210117, at *2
(D. Md. Dec. 12, 2012) (quoting Andrews v. Daw, 201
F.3d 521, 524 n. 1 (4th Cir. 2000)). One such affirmative
defense is res judicata. When reviewing a motion for judgment
on the pleadings, I "may consider documents attached to
the complaint, as well as documents attached to the motion
... if they are integral to the complaint and their
authentictty is not disputed. Additionally, a federal court
may take judicial notice of documents from prior state court
proceedings . . . ." Sposato v.
First Mariner Bank, No. CCB-12-1569, 2013 WL 1308582, at
*2 (D. Md. Mar. 28, 2013) (citing Philips v. Pitt. Cty.
Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009)).
judicata "bars a party from suing on a claim that
has already been litigated to a final judgment by that party
or such party's privies and precludes the assertion by
such parties of any legal theory, cause of action, or defense
which could have been asserted in that action." Reid
v. New Century Mortg. Corp., No. AW-12-2083, 2012 WL
6562887, at *3 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2012) (quoting Ohio
Valley Envtl. Coal. v. Aracoma Coal Co., 556 F.3d 177,
210 (4th Cir. 2009)). When a federal court litigant asserts
res judicata based on a state court judgmen,,
"[the] federal court must give to [the] state court
judgment the same preclusive effect as would be given that
judgment under the law of the State in which the judgment was
rendered." Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. of
Educ, 465 U.S. 75, 81 (1984). Under Maryland law,
res judicata, or claim preclusion, provides grounds
for dismissal if a defendant establishes that "(1) the
present parties are the same or in privity with the parties
to the earlier dispute, (2) the claim presented is identical
to the one determined in the prior adjudication, and (3)
there has been a final judgment on the merits."
Capel v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No.
WDQ-09-2374, 2010 WL 457534, at *3 (D. Md. Feb. 3, 2010)
(citing Anne Arundel County Bd. of Educ. v.
Norville, 887 A, 2d 1029, 1037 (Md. 2005)).
Second Foreclosure Action, Ms. Ruiz was the defendant, and
substitute trustees appointed by Deutsche Bank were the
plaintiffs. See Compl. ¶¶ 16-17; ECF Nos.
19-4 at 2; 19-7 at 2-6. Ms. Ruiz does not ...