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McCray v. White

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 26, 2019

RENEE L. MCCRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
SAMUEL I. WHITE, P.C., et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          A. DAVID COPPERTHITE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Defendants Samuel I. White, P.C., et al, move this Court for summary judgment ("Defendants' Motion") (ECF No. 174). Defendants seek summary judgment on the single remaining claim alleging violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the "Act"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692g. Plaintiff, Renee L. McCray, filed an opposition to Defendants' Motion (ECF No. 178) and a cross-motion for summary judgment ("Plaintiffs Cross-Motion") (ECF No. 176). In her response, Plaintiff alleges she has met her burden as to the remaining count and in her summary judgment motion has included arguments on previously dismissed counts.

         After considering the motions and responses thereto (ECF Nos. 174, 176, 177, 178), the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See Loc.R. 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). In addition, having reviewed the pleadings of record and all competent and admissible evidence submitted by the parties, the Court finds that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to the single remaining claim asserted. Accordingly, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion (ECF No. 174) and DENY Plaintiffs Cross-Motion (ECF No. 176).

         Factual Background

         This lawsuit arises out of a controversy surrounding the foreclosure proceedings on Plaintiffs residence when Plaintiff stopped paying her mortgage in 2011. Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated the Act during the foreclosure process on her mortgage. Plaintiff does not contest that she failed to make her mortgage payments, but instead alleges the foreclosure was illegal. Plaintiff unsuccessfully litigated the foreclosure proceeding in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and was also unsuccessful on appeal to both the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Plaintiff also unsuccessfully litigated her claims in the United States Bankruptcy Court and filed three actions in this Court as well as the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

         Plaintiff alleges in this single remaining count that Defendants initiated the foreclosure and then continued to foreclose on the property without providing verified evidence that Defendants had a legal right to do so in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692g.

         Procedural Background

          This case has an extensive history captured in the parties' pleadings (ECF Nos. 174, 176) and the Court's Memorandum Opinion (ECF No. 97). Since that opinion, Plaintiff has filed a Fourth Amended Complaint (ECF No. 102), which was corrected (ECF No. 105) and further amended (ECF No. 109), There has been substantial discovery conducted and there remains pending motions (ECF Nos. 163, 165) which will become moot for the reasons stated in this Opinion. The parties have traveled the many side roads of litigation, but at this time there remains only one claim as to each Defendant to resolve. Before this Court, the issue is whether Defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b) by failing to validate the admitted debt owed by Plaintiff on her mortgage.

         Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Rule 56, a movant is entitled to summary judgment where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. Fed, R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The Supreme Court has clarified that not every factual dispute will defeat a motion for summary judgment but rather, there must be a genuine issue of material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) ("[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." (emphases in original)). An issue of fact is material if, under the substantive law of the case, resolution of the factual dispute could affect the outcome. Id. at 248. There is a genuine issue as to material fact "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id; see also Dulaney v. Packaging Corp. of Am., 673 F.3d 323, 330 (4th Cir. 2012). On the other hand, if after the court has drawn all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, "the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson, 477 U.S.at 249-50 (internal citations omitted).

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of either establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists or that a material fact essential to the non-movant's claim is absent. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-24. Once the movant has met its burden, the onus is on the non-movant to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., A15 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In order to meet this burden, the non-movant "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleadings," but must instead "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Bouchat v. Bait. Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

         Here, both parties moved for summary judgment. "When faced with cross-motions for summary judgment, the court must review each motion separately on its own merits to determine whether either of the parties deserves judgment as a matter of law," and in considering each motion "the court must take care to resolve all factual disputes and any competing, rational inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing that motion." Rossignol v. Voorhaar, 316 F.3d 516, 523 (4th Cir. 2003) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see also United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962) (per curiam) ("On summary judgment the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts contained in such materials must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion."). At the same time, the court also must abide by the "affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to trial." Bouchat, 346 F.3d at 526 (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993)). The fact that both sides moved for summary judgment "neither establish[es] the propriety of deciding a case on summary judgment nor establish[es] that there is no issue of fact requiring that summary judgment be granted to one side or another." Cont 'I Airlines, Inc. v. United Airlines, Inc., 277 F.3d 499, 511 n.7 (4th Cir. 2002) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). "The court must deny both motions if it finds there is a genuine dispute of material fact, 'but if there is no genuine issue and one or the other party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law, the court will render judgment.'" Rashid v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., No. DKC 17-0726, 2018 WL 1425978, at *4 (D.Md. Mar. 22, 2018) (citation omitted).

         B. Plaintiffs Cross-Motion

         In her motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff again alleges violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692c, 1692e, 1692f, 1692g, 16921, and 1692j. ECF No. 176-1. This Court has previously dismissed all allegations except § 1692g(b) and therefore will not address those allegations already dismissed. ECF No. 97. The Court also notes that § 1692i does not allege an actual violation; it merely determines jurisdiction for filing an action authorized under the statute. There is no allegation that jurisdiction in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland is not correct. Therefore, the only issue ...


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