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David Mead v. William Lindlaw

March 13, 2012

DAVID MEAD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM LINDLAW, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

(March 13, 2012)

Plaintiff David Mead, proceeding pro se, filed suit against Defendants William Lindlaw, Bruce Finland, Joel Aronson, Dorothy Bridges, Alison Rind, Ebelechukwu Agba, Edward Furash, City First Bank of D.C., N.A. ("City First Bank"), and MED Developers, LLC (collectively "Defendants"), asserting seven claims relating to certain loans taken out by Plaintiff and the subsequent foreclosure and auction of Plaintiff's property. Presently before the Court is Defendants' [6] Motion to Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for Failure to State a Claim upon which Relief may be Granted ("Defs.' Mot.").*fn1 The motion is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.*fn2 For the reasons stated below, the Court finds Counts Two of the Complaint is barred by collateral estoppel, and Counts Six and Eight*fn3 are barred by res judicata. Although the remaining claims are not precluded by Plaintiff's earlier litigation, the claims arise entirely under state law, and in its discretion, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over those counts. Therefore Defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, and this case is DISMISSED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Plaintiff's Complaint and Defendants' Motion detail the long and sordid history between the parties, much of which is irrelevant to the disposition of Defendants' motion. In short, Defendant City First Bank underwrote two loans for Plaintiff relating to two properties in northwest Washington, D.C., the North Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue properties. Compl. ¶¶ 20, 22. In June 2006, allegedly under pressure from City First Bank, Plaintiff transferred the loan relating to the New Jersey Avenue property to another institution. Id. at ¶¶ 60-62. Plaintiff alleges that in August 2007, under "great pain and financial duress," he agreed to modify the terms of the loan for the North Capitol Street property. Id. at ¶¶ 32-35. City First Bank purportedly disclosed the terms of the modification to Defendant Finland, who pressured Plaintiff to assign the loan to Finland so that Defendant Finland could proceed to develop the property. Id. at ¶¶ 37-38. Throughout 2008, Plaintiff attempted to obtain a construction loan from City First Bank to develop the North Capitol Property, and also tried to negotiate further loan modifications. Id. at ¶¶ 40-49. Plaintiff's attempts were unsuccessful on both accounts. Id. City First Bank subsequently foreclosed on the property, and noticed the foreclosure sale for September 17, 2008. Id. at ¶ 51. At the foreclosure sale, Defendant Finland purchased the property for $699,000, a price Plaintiff alleges was 50% of the fair market value of the property.

Id. at ¶ 119.

B. Plaintiff's Prior Litigation

On September 16, 2008, Plaintiff filed suit in this Court seeking a temporary restraining order enjoining the foreclosure sale scheduled for the following day.*fn4 Mead v. City First Bank of D.C., N.A., No. 08-1597, Compl., ECF No. [1]; id., Mot. for Temp. Restraining Order, ECF No.

[2]. Judge Ellen S. Huvelle held a hearing on Plaintiff's motion, but denied the motion as moot since the sale took place several hours before the hearing. Id., 9/17/08 Order, ECF No. [2]. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on March 5, 2009, asserting nearly identical allegations and claims to those pled in this case. Defs.' Ex. D. Judge Richard W. Roberts dismissed Count Two of the Amended Complaint-the only federal claim-for failing to state a claim, and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. Defs.' Ex. E. Plaintiff appealed Judge Roberts' decision, but the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for want of prosecution. Mead v. City First Bank of D.C., N.A., No. 08-1597, Mandate of USCA, ECF No. [45].

Plaintiff also filed suit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia ("D.C. Superior Court"). Defs.' Ex. A (Superior Ct. Compl.); Mead v. Aronson, No. 2010 CA 007273 (D.C. Sup. Ct., Sept. 28, 2010). Plaintiff's D.C. Superior Court complaint sought a declaratory judgment finding the foreclosure sale invalid on the grounds that Defendants failed to provide adequate notice of the sale. Defs.' Ex. A. Defendants filed a counterclaim seeking a judgment holding the foreclosure sale was valid. Defs.' Ex. I (5/12/10 Sup. Ct. Order). Judge Craig Iscoe granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, and declared that the foreclosure sale "was properly carried out under District of Columbia law." Id. at 4.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a party may challenge the sufficiency of a complaint on the grounds it "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). When evaluating a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the district court must accept as true the well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the complaint. Atherton v. D.C. Office of Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 2064 (2010). "[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted as true, "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

"Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice," Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e), and documents filed by pro se parties must be "liberally construed," Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam (internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover, "a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (internal quotation marks omitted). Nonetheless, "[a] pro se complaint, like any other, must present a claim upon which relief can be granted." Crisafi v. Holland, 655 F.2d 1305, 1308 (D.C. Cir. 1981). The district court "need not accept inferences unsupported by the facts alleged in the complaint or legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations." Kaemmerling v. Lappin, 553 F.3d 669, 667 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).Additionally, in deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider "'the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint,'" Ward v. D.C. Dep't of Youth Rehab. Servs., 768 F. Supp. 2d 117, 119 (D.D.C. 2011) ...


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