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Lett v. Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 2, 2019

RICKEY LETT, Plaintiff,



         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) this case was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for review and submission of a report with recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law. Doc. 4. Plaintiff Rickey Lett asserts a breach of contract claim against Defendant Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC. Doc. 1. Pending before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Doc. 6. After careful consideration of the parties' submissions, the applicable law, and the record as a whole, the undersigned Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6) be GRANTED.

         Additionally pending before the court are four Motions for Judgment on the Merits filed by Plaintiff. Docs. 15 & 17-19. The Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that those motions be DENIED.


         The court has subject matter jurisdiction over the claims in this lawsuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or that venue is proper in the Middle District of Alabama. The court finds adequate allegations to support both.


         Rickey Lett resides in Montgomery, Alabama. Doc. 1 at 1. Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC (hereinafter Bayview) is located in Coral Gables, Florida. Doc. 1 at 1. On January 18, 2006, Lett took out a mortgage from CitiFinancial Corporation LLC (“CitiFinancial”). Doc. 1 at 3. The “Disclosure Statement, Note and Security Agreement” Lett signed set his annual percentage rate at 11.75%. Doc. 1 at 3. In May 2017, Lett's mortgage account was transferred from CitiFinancial to Bayview. Doc. 1 at 3. From May 3, 2017 until August 31, 2018 Bayview charged Lett monthly interest at the rate of 11.292%. Doc. 1 at 3. This is 0.458% less than his stated annual percentage rate.

         Lett alleges that Bayview owes him a duty to charge 11.75% interest each month, per the Disclosure Statement, Note and Security Agreement he signed with CitiFinancial in January 2006. Doc. 1 at 4. As a result of Bayview's breach of duty, Lett was denied financial rights to a contractual agreement (the Disclosure Statement, Note and Security Agreement). Doc. 1 at 4. Bayview deceived Lett by charging him 11.292% interest each month, as opposed to the agreed upon 11.75%. Doc.1 at 4. Lett additionally alleges that he suffered a pattern of illegal extortion in his house payments from May 3, 2017 to August 31, 2018. Doc. 1 at 4. Lett made all relevant payments in a timely manner, as required by his contract with Bayview. Doc. 1 at 4. He claims that he suffered damages, loss of money, time, opportunity, and a host of other losses. Doc. 1 at 5.


         In considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must “take the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v. McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is “plausible on its face” if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The complaint “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations need not be detailed, but “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[s]” will not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         In addition to the pleading requirements of Twombly and Iqbal, a plaintiff's pro se status must be considered when evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint. “A document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and ‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Yet any leniency cannot serve as a substitute for pleading a proper cause of action. See Odion v. Google Inc., 628 Fed.Appx. 635, 637 (11th Cir. 2015) (recognizing that although courts must show leniency to pro se litigants, “this leniency does not give a court license to serve as de facto counsel for a party, or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to sustain an action”) (internal quotation marks omitted). “While the pleadings of pro se litigants are liberally construed, they must still comply with procedural rules governing the proper form of pleadings.” Hopkins v. St. Lucie Cnty. Sch. Bd., 399 Fed.Appx. 563, 565 (11th Cir. 2010) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).


         A. Collateral Estoppel

         Lett is collaterally estopped from litigating this action. “Collateral estoppel . . . has the dual purpose of protecting litigants from the burden of relitigating an identical issue with the same party or his privy and of promoting judicial economy by preventing needless litigation.” Parklane Hosiery Co., Inc. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 326 (1979). The elements of collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion, are: “(1) the issue at stake is identical to the one involved in the prior litigation; (2) the issue was actually litigated in the prior suit; (3) the determination of the issue in the prior litigation was a critical and necessary part of the judgment in that action; and (4) the party against whom the earlier decision is asserted had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the earlier proceeding.” Miller's ...

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