United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action, pro se plaintiff Danny Ferguson contends
that an employee of defendant Quicken Loans coerced him to
sign a promissory note. Mr. Ferguson asserts state law claims
against Quicken Loans for breach of contract and void
contract. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), Quicken Loans asks the Court to dismiss
Mr. Ferguson's claims. For the reasons explained below,
the Court dismisses Mr. Ferguson's claims without
prejudice and offers Mr. Ferguson an opportunity to amend his
STANDARD OF REVIEW
12(b)(6) enables a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss tests the sufficiency of a complaint against the
“liberal pleading standards set forth by Rule
8(a)(2).” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), 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). “Generally, to survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)]
motion to dismiss and meet the requirement of Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), a complaint need not contain ‘detailed factual
allegations, ' but rather ‘only enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Maledy v. City of Enterprise, 2012
WL 1028176, *1 (M.D. Ala. March 2012) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)).
“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need
only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . .
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555).
the pleading standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8 evaluates the plausibility of the facts alleged,
and the notice stemming from a complaint's
allegations.” Keene v. Prine, 477 Fed.Appx.
575, 583 (11th Cir. 2012). “Where those two
requirements are met . . . the form of the complaint is not
significant if it alleges facts upon which relief can be
granted, even if it fails to categorize correctly the legal
theory giving rise to the claim.” Id.
particularly true with respect to pro se complaints.
Courts must liberally construe pro se documents.
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. “‘[A] pro
se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Id. (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also
Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th
Cir. 1998) (“Pro se pleadings are held to a
less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys
and will, therefore, be liberally construed.”).
Cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be
construed so as to do justice.”). Still, the Court may
not “serve as de facto counsel for a party, or
… rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading” to
“sustain an action.” Campbell v. Air Jamaica
Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165, 1168-69 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal
quotations and citations omitted).
evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a district
court accepts as true the allegations in the complaint and
construes the allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. See Brophy v. Jiangbo Pharms. Inc., 781
F.3d 1296, 1301 (11th Cir. 2015).
complaint, Mr. Ferguson alleges that an employee of defendant
Quicken Loans “coerced” him to sign a promissory
note “without providing full disclosure.” (Doc.
1, p. 8, ¶¶ 1-2). According to Mr. Ferguson, the
Quicken Loans employee who “induced” him into the
contract “read over the promissory note and its clause
stating the [p]romissory note was a negotiable instrument
covering the full estimated amount of alleged credit of $162,
975.00.” (Doc. 1, p. 8, ¶ 2). Mr. Ferguson asserts
that he “never saw the alleged amount of the required
consideration alleged by whomever is alleging the right to
respond on the behalf of the alleged HOLDER of the
note.” (Doc. 1, p. 8, ¶ 3) (emphasis in
complaint). Mr. Ferguson contends that Quicken Loans used
deceptive business practices to induce him to promise to
repay the promissory note. (Doc. 1, p. 9, ¶ 5).
According to Mr. Ferguson, Quicken Loans has tried to enforce
the promissory note, but Quicken Loans has not provided
evidence that it is the holder of the promissory note. (Doc.
1, p. 9, ¶ 5).
Ferguson alleges that the promissory note is separated from
an accompanying mortgage because Mortgage Electronic System
or MERS holds the mortgage or deed. (Doc. 1, p. 9, ¶ 6).
Mr. Ferguson contends that separating the promissory note
from the mortgage demonstrates Quicken Loans's
“lack of good faith in violating the UCC which [Mr.
Ferguson] ha[s] followed” to “make [his] decision
in regards to [his] commercial contracting with companies
such as Quicken Loans.” (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10, ¶ 9).
Ferguson believed that Quicken Loans would access a strawman
account “to access the credit of [Mr. Ferguson's]
[s]trawman ‘Danny Ferguson.'” (Doc. 1, p. 10,
¶ 8). According to Mr. Ferguson, Quicken Loans acted as
a third party lender “only in the sense that Quicken
Loans accessed the [strawman] account in order to complete
the loan between DANNY FERGUSON and Danny: Of the family name
‘Ferguson' (Nul Tiel Corporation).” (Doc. 1,
p. 10, ¶ 8).
on these facts, Mr. Ferguson asserts state law contract
claims against Quicken Loans. (Doc. 1, p. 11-12). Under the
heading “breach of contract, ” Mr. Ferguson
Due to all information listed above [Quicken Loans] is guilty
of breach of contract due to failing to provide full
disclosure, good faith and fair dealing in regards to the
negotiations, contract/Promissory Note possessing legalese
not used in initial negotiations as required by law, no
evidence of loss, damages, injury, or standing as Quicken
Loans or alleged Owner not being present upon entering of any
contracts or negotiations between Danny: Of the family name
“Ferguson” and those alleging to act on behalf of
the alleged company.
(Doc. 1, p. 12, ¶ 11). Under the “void
contract” heading, Mr. Ferguson states:
Due to all information listed above the contract is void due
to failing to provide full disclosure, good faith and fair
dealing in regards to the negotiations, contract/Promissory
Note possessing legalese not used in initial negotiations as
required by law, no evidence of loss, damages, injury, or
standing as Quicken Loans or alleged Owner not being present
upon entering of any contracts or negotiations between Danny:
Of the family name “Ferguson” and those alleging
to act on behalf of the alleged company.
(Doc. 1, p. 13, ¶ 12).
Ferguson seeks “relief of Mortgage termination/void
contract, compensatory relief of $100, 000.00 for damages as
well as any reliefs/remedies seen fit by the court.”
(Doc. 1, p. 12, ¶ 13). Quicken Loans argues that the
Court must dismiss Mr. Ferguson's claims pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of ...