United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
TERRY D. QUATTLEBAUM, Plaintiff,
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. et al., Defendants.
W. GRIMM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an action to quiet title. Plaintiff Terry D. Quattlebaum, who
has filed similar suits twice before, seeks an order
dismissing a pending foreclosure action in
state court and staying the sale of the property in question.
I conclude his suit is barred for two reasons. First. Mr.
Quattlebaum cannot bring a quiet title action under Maryland
law while a foreclosure action involving the same property
remains pending, as is the case here. See Md. Code
Ann., Real Prop. §14-108(a). Second, the doctrine of res
judicata bars his claim. I also conclude that the Complaint
fails to state a claim against the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development. Accordingly, the defendants'
motions to dismiss are granted, and this case shall be
dispute, like the ones that preceded it. concerns Mr.
Quattlebaum's residential property on Hanover Parkway in
Greenbelt, Maryland. Mr. Quattlebaum and his wife have called
the property their own. either individually or jointly, since
August 1999. See Compl. ¶ 7. ECF No. 1. Ex. 2.
The couple refinanced the property in January 2008. taking
out a mortgage loan from Dell Franklin Financial FIX
("OFF"). See Id. ¶ 5. The deed of
trust securing the loan named Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems. Inc. ("MERS") as beneficiary.
See Compl. ¶ 6: Deed of Trust, FCF No. 19, Ex.
A. Soon after the refinancing. DFF sold the loan to
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., a company that Bank of America
later acquired. See Quattlebaum v. Bank of America,
N.A. (Quattlebaum I). No. TDC-14-2688, 2015 WL 1085707.
at *1 (D. Md. Mar. 10. 2015).
January 31, 2012. Mr. Quattlebaum filed a petition for
Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief See ECF No. 1 9. Ex. C.
The bankruptcy court discharged his eligible debts on May 9,
2012. See Id. Mr. Quattlebaum's Complaint in the
case before me expressly acknowledges that the lien on his
residential property "survived the chapter 7
relief." Compl. ¶ 14.
August 7. 2012, just a few months after the discharge, MERS
assigned the deed of trust to Bank of America. See
Compl. ¶ 11: Assignment. FCF No. 19-3. Later, in 2013,
the Quattlebaum signed a subordinate note and deed
of trust in exchange for a $9, 481.36 loan from the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
("HUD"). See Compl. ¶ 12; ECF No. 27,
lawsuits have since followed. Mr. Quattlebaum filed the first
suit (" Quattlebaum I," as 1 will call it)
on May 22. 2014. in the District Court of Maryland for Prince
George's County. The complaint, as originally tiled,
sought to quiet title in the Hanover Parkway property.
See Quattlebaum 1 Compl., ECF No. 19. Ex. D. It
effectively alleged that the February 2008 sale and
subsequent transfer of the mortgage were fraudulent and that
Bank of America could not enforce the deed of trust because
it did not have the original promissory note. See
America and Countrywide, as two of three named defendants in
the action, promptly removed the suit to federal court.
See Quattlebaum I, 2015 WL 1085707. at *2. Judge
Theodore D. Chuang later granted their motion to dismiss the
complaint. .See id. at *8. His March 10. 2015 order
dismissed the quiet title claim with prejudice but allowed
Mr. Quattlebaum to amend the complaint to reassert claims he
had attempted to bring under the Truth in Lending Act, the
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. and the Uniform
Commercial Code. See Id. at *6, *8. Mr. Quattlebaum
did file an amended complaint, but Judge Chuang later
dismissed all of the newly asserted claims with prejudice,
just the same. See Quattlebaum v. Bank of Am., N.A..
No. TDC-14-2688, 2015 WL 7135438, at *3.
Quattlebaum filed a second lawsuit (Quattlebaum II)
on April 14. 2016, this time in the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County. See Quattlebaum II Compl., ECF
No. 19-6. The second suit, which likewise named Bank of
America and Countrywide as defendants, asserted an array of
new claims under state and federal law. including the
Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act and the federal Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act. See Id. History soon
repeated itself, with the defendants removing the case to
federal court and the case assignment going to Judge Chuang.
In a December 2016 memorandum opinion and order. Judge Chuang
agreed with the defendants that the new suit sought to
litigate issues that Mr. Quattlebaum had already raised (or,
at the very least, could have raised) in the first action.
See Quattlebaum v. Bank of Am.. N.A. (Quattlebaum
II). No. TDC-16-1711. 2016 WL 7174611. at *2-*3 (D. Md. Dec.
7, 2016). aff'd, 695 Fed.Appx. 59 (4th Cir.
2017). The court concluded the claims were barred by res
judicata and granted the defendants' motion to dismiss.
See Id. at *2, The Fourth Circuit affirmed the
dismissal in August 2017. Set Quattlebaum v. Bank of Am.,
N.A., 695 Fed.Appx. 59 (4th Cir. 2017) (per curiam).
January 9, 2018, the substitute trustees under the deed of
trust filed a foreclosure action in the Circuit Court for
Prince George's County. See Foreclosure Action
Docket Sheet, ECF No. 19-8. The circuit court has since
issued an order ratifying the foreclosure sale of the Hanover
Parkway property. See Id. The foreclosure action
remains pending. See Maryland Judiciary Case Search,
disclaimer and search case number "CAEF1 8-00132").
Quattlebaum brought this suit in the interim, lie fled his
complaint in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County
on May 2, 2018. naming Bank of America. MERS, and HUD as
defendants. See Compl. Bank of America removed the
case to this Court soon afterward. See Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 1.
Complaint, styled as a quiet title action, purports to seek
the following remedies: an order staying the sale of the
property and dismissing the foreclosure action; an order
quieting title in the property, releasing the deed of trust
in Mr. Quattlebaum's favor, and removing "any and
all derogatory reporting and/or filings with the credit
bureaus and HUD"; and, finally, and order
"resolv[ing] the matter of a Subordinate Deed of Trust
and stated principle amount with HUD." Compl.
¶¶ 20-22. Its allegations in support of these
demands for relief are not especially easy to parse. At the
outset. Mr. Quattlebaum states that the suit "rises
from" the pending foreclosure action. Compl 2
(introductory paragraph). The Complaint goes on to assert
that the "alleged adverse interest in his property [was]
actually defective, invalid or ineffective" when he
began to defend himself in the foreclosure action. Id.
¶ 6. It then states that although Mr. Quattlebaum
was initially confused by Bank of America's filings in
that action, he has since drawn the conclusion that
"[t]he assignment/lien appears to have been invalidly
created, or has become invalid or has been satisfied."
rest of the Complaint is less than entirely coherent. At one
point, it alleges that Bank of America failed to inform him
of DFF's "changed status" (presumably its
dissolution) either before or during the Chapter 7
proceedings. Id. ¶ 10. It then challenges
MERS's August 7, 2012 assignment of the deed of trust to
Bank of America on the grounds that the signatory was a
"robo-signer." Id. ¶¶ 10-11.
have since filed two motions to dismiss. Bank of America and
MERS (collectively, the "Corporate Defendants")
filed first, jointly arguing that the Complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See
Corporate Dels.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 19. Their joint
motion argues, specifically, that the doctrine of res
judicata bars the quiet title claim, that Mr. Quattlebaum
lacks standing to challenge the 2012 assignment, and that he
has otherwise failed to state a claim.See Corporate Defs.' Mem.. ECF No. 19-1. HUD
filed a separate motion to dismiss, arguing ...