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Taylor v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Western Division

December 1, 2017

GARY TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

          L. Scott Coogler United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint. (Doc. 29.) The Motion has been briefed and is ripe for review. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is due to be granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff alleges two tangentially related sequences of events he believes gives rise to Defendants' liability. On November 11, 2002 Plaintiff received a loan from non-party Homecomings Financial Network (“Homecomings”) for $93, 500 and granted a mortgage on his property for that amount. (Doc. 29-1). Homecomings then obtained a title insurance policy from former Defendant Fidelity National Title Insurance Company (“Fidelity”). Plaintiff does not allege he was party to that policy, (doc. 1 at 7), although Plaintiff argues he paid $235.00 for that policy.

         At some point prior to October 5, 2011, Plaintiff discussed a problem with the mortgage's legal description of his property with Colleen McCullough (“McCullough”), who represented nonparty GMAC Mortgage, LLC (“GMAC”). (Doc. 1 at 8.) GMAC and Homecomings were affiliated companies, and it appears from documents attached to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint that at some point the right to payment for Plaintiff's loan had been transferred from Homecomings to GMAC. (Doc. 20 at 6.) McCullough then raised the issue with Fidelity. (Doc. 1 at 2.) According to Plaintiff, Fidelity did not pay Homecomings or GMAC under the title insurance policy, or it did pay those entities but those entities did not record payment on the mortgage. (Id.) It appears that during Plaintiff's meeting with McCullough he also discussed a possible modification of the loan on the property. (Id.)

         Without any explanation, Plaintiff states “the failure of [Fidelity] to do due diligence on a claim that was a valid claim” was the reason for “6 years of legal actions” and a personal judgment against Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff appears to be referencing a judgment entered against him in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa, Alabama for breach of contract for his failure to pay the note that secured the mortgage on the property.[1] (Doc. 29-3.)

         After the filing of Plaintiff's Complaint, Defendants responded with Motions to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Court instructed Plaintiff that it did not understand his causes of action against Defendants. The Court warned Plaintiff that it would dismiss his Complaint in its current form and directed him to amend his Complaint if he wished to make additional arguments. (See Doc. 19.) Plaintiff moved to amend his Complaint in order to dismiss Defendant Fidelity and to add counts of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) violations and criminal fraud against the remaining Defendants in addition to the fraud and unjust enrichment claims he already asserted in his original Complaint. (Doc. 20.) He did not supplement the Complaint with additional factual allegations. The Court granted the motion in part, allowing Plaintiff to dismiss Defendant Fidelity and substitute the RICO violation for breach of contract against remaining Defendants but denied the motion to the extent Plaintiff attempted to assert criminal charges. (Docs. 23 & 26.)

         After Plaintiff's amendment, remaining Defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JP Morgan”) filed a new Motion to Dismiss, arguing Plaintiff's Amended Complaint yet again failed to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff responded in his Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 34.), by raising new factual allegations not present in his Complaint or Amended Complaint. In this second “strain” of allegations, Plaintiff argued that MERS' assignment of the mortgage on his property to the Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company as successor to JP Morgan constituted fraud, unjust enrichment, and violations of RICO statutes. (Doc. 34 at 2-3.) Plaintiff's argument appears to be that Defendants' liability arose from the violation of a court order in a wholly unrelated bankruptcy case in the Southern District of New York:

The plaintiff is not requesting review of the state court judgment due to a loss by the plaintiff, but the plaintiff is claiming that the judgment by the state court represents contempt for a federal bankruptcy court order awarding ownership of the note in question to Solutions Lending Services S.L.S. Plaintiffs claim is that he was not injured by the States judgment, but was injured by the contempt shown by the state court judge to a[n] order issued by a federal bankruptcy court. (I.E, )UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK BANKRUPTCY JUDGE MARTIN GLEEN[sic]. Case No. 12-1220 (MG) chapter 11.
The fraud claim against [MERS] [i]nvolves the transfer of real property immediately following a ruling that all mortgages held by [MERS] [w]ere not valid claims of title to those mortgages.

(Doc. 34 at 2.) Given the information stated in his Opposition, Plaintiff seems to cite In re Residential Capital, LLC, 12-12020 (S.D.N.Y.), in which Judge Martin Glenn presided over a number of adversary proceedings involving MERS. After extensive search, the Court has been unable to find any bankruptcy case in the Southern District of New York implicating Plaintiff or his property. Plaintiff appears to suggest that because a bankruptcy court in New York has held that attempted transfers of mortgages by MERS in specific cases were invalid under New York law, that MERS' transfer of Plaintiff's mortgage to JP Morgan constitutes fraud, unjust enrichment, and violations of RICO.

         II. Standard of Review

         A pleading that states a claim for relief 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). However, the facts alleged in the complaint must be specific enough that the claim raised is “plausible.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”). A claim for relief is plausible on its face when the complaint's “factual content . . . allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Resnick v. AvMed, Inc., 693 F.3d 1317, 1325 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Conclusory statements of law may “provide the framework of a complaint, ” but the plaintiff is required to support them with “factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         The process for evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint has two steps. This Court “begin[s] by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Conclusory statements and recitations of a claim's elements are thus disregarded for purposes of determining whether a plaintiff is entitled to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at 678. Next, this Court “assume[s] [the] veracity” of “well-pleaded factual allegations” and “determine[s] whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 679. A complaint's factual matter need not be detailed, but it “must . . . raise a right to relief above the speculative ...


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