United States District Court, D. Maryland
RENEE L. McCRAY, Plaintiff,
SAMUEL I. WHITE, P.C., SARA K. TURNER, JOHN E. DRISCOLL, III, ARNOLD HILLMAN, ROBERT H. HILLMAN and DEENA L. REYNOLDS, Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG JUDGE
Renee L. McCray, who is self-represented, has filed suit
against Defendants Samuel I. White, P.C. ("Samuel
White"), a law firm; and Sara K. Turner, John E.
Driscoll, III, Arnold Hillman, Robert H. Hillman, and Deena
L. Reynolds, all of whom are employed by Samuel White
(collectively, "Defendants"). McCray asserts that,
as part of efforts to foreclose on her home, Defendants
violated certain provisions the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act ("FDCPA",, 15 U.S.C. SS 1692-1692p
(2018). Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, which McCray
opposes. Having reviewed the submitted materials, the Court
finds no hearing necessary. See D. Md. Local R.
105.6. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants'
Motion, treated as a Motion to Dismiss, will be GRANTED.
2005, McCray took out a mortgage loan for 109 North Edgewood
Street in Baltimore, Maryland ("the Property"). At
some point, McCray defaulted on the mortgage, and in February
2013, Samuel White initiated foreclosure proceedings in the
Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland. Driscoll, III
v. McCray, No. 24-0-13000-528 (Cir. Ct. Balt. City).
Over the ensuing several years, that continuing foreclosure
proceeding spawned a number of other lawsuits in which McCray
asserted claims based on Defendants' allegedly unlawful
collection efforts related to the foreclosure. See, e.g.,
McCray v. Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp., No. GLR-13-1518
(D. Md.); McCray v. Wells Fargo, No. GLR-14-3445 (D.
Md.); McCray v. Samuel I. White, No. GLR-16-0934 (D.
present suit, McCray makes various allegations, stretching
back to 2012, about Defendants' conduct prior to and
during the foreclosure action. Although McCray recites at
length the history of the foreclosure action, her present
claims focus on 2017 communications from Defendants related
to the foreclosure, which McCray has attached to the
Complain.. Specifically, McCray asserts that on April 21,
2017, she received a letter from Defendants that included a
copy of a newspaper advertisement notifying the public of the
foreclosure sale of the Property scheduled for May 17, 2017.
The mailing included a letter from Samuel White stating that
it was providing McCray with a copy of the advertisement
pursuant to foreclosure notice requirements set forth in
Maryland law. At the bottom of the letter was a section
entitled "NOTICE," which stated that, pursuant to
the FDCPA, Samuel White was advising McCray that it was a
debt collector attempting to collect a debt.
response, on May 12, 2017, McCray sent a letter to Defendants
stating that she wished them to cease all communication with
her pursuant to 15 U.S.C. S 1692c(c), which provides that
upon notice from a consumer to cease further communication, a
debt collector shall not communicate with the consumer about
the debt except in certain specific circumstance.. After
receiving McCray's letter, Defendants sent McCray three
other communications-on July 24, 2017; August 22, 2017; and
October 17, 2017-each of which was the same in substance as
the April 2017 letter and foreclosure notice and notified
McCray of specific rescheduled dates for the foreclosure
November 15, 2017, the Property was sold at a foreclosure
sale. On December 11, 2017, a Notice of Report of Sale was
docketed with the state court. The state court issued an
Order ratifying the sale, which became final on November 26,
209.. McCray has since filed an appeal of that Order to the
Maryland Court of Special Appeals, where it remains pending.
November 13, 2018, McCray filed this action, asserting three
FDCPA claims based on the 2017 foreclosure notices. First,
she asserts a claim for a violation of 15 U.S.C. S 1692c(c),
on the theory that Defendants were required, but failed, to
cease communications with her after they received her May 12,
2017 letter. Second, she asserts a claim for a violation of S
1692e(5), which makes it unlawful for a debt collector to
make a false or misleading representation in the collection
of a debt by threatening to "take any action that cannot
legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken."
15 U.S.C. S 1692e(5). McCray asserts that the 2017
foreclosure notices violated this section because Defendants
could not prove that they had a legal right to foreclose on
the Property and thus could not lawfully threaten to
foreclose. Third, she asserts a claim for a violation of S
1692f(6), which makes it unlawful for a debt collector to
take or threaten to take "any non-judicial action to
effect dispossession" of property if the debt collector
has "no present right of possession to the
property." 15U.S.C. S 1692f(6)(A). As to this cause of
action, McCray adopts the argument advanced for her S 1692e
assert a number of arguments for dismissal, including that
McCray lacks standing to pursue her FDCPA claims because her
mortgage debt was discharged in bankruptcy and thus she no
longer has any personal obligation for the mortgage debt;
that based on the United States Supreme Court's recent
holding in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP,
139 S.Ct. 1029 (2019), they are not debt collectors within
the meaning of the FDCPA; that McCray's claims are barred
by res judicata or collateral estoppl; and that
McCray fails to state a claim as to her three causes of
Motion is styled as a motion to dismiss, under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for
summary judgment, under Rule 56. Typically, when deciding a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court considers
only the complaint and any documents "integral to the
complaint." Sec'y of State for Defence v.
Trimble Navigation Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir.
2007). Here, McCray has attached as part of her Complaint the
correspondence that she alleges was sent in violation of the
FDCPA. Defendants, in turn, attach to their Motion docket
sheets and court opinions, of which the Court may take
judicial notice. Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2). Where the Complaint
and other court records provide a sufficient record for this
Court to adjudicate Defendants' Motion, the Court sees no
need to convert the Motion to one for summary judgment and
will thus treat the filing as a Motion to Dismiss.
defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint
must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim for
relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the
Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.
Although courts should construe pleadings of self-represented
litigants liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007), legal conclusions or conclusory statements do
not suffice, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court must
examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual
allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the
factual allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268
(1994); Lambeth v. Bd of Comm'rs of Davidson
Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).