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Haynes v. Navy Federal Credit Union

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

June 10, 2014

JAMES R. HAYNES, Plaintiff,

JAMES R. HAYNES, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, Defendant: Amy Sanborn Owen, Nicholas V. Cumings, LEAD ATTORNEYS, BRIGLIAHUNDLEY, P.C., Fairfax, VA.

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COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff James R. Haynes (" Haynes" or " Plaintiff" ) brings this action pro se [1] against Defendant Navy Federal Credit Union (" NFCU" or " Defendant" ), asserting a variety of claims arising out of a home mortgage loan extended to him by NFCU. Presently before the Court is Defendant's [85] Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. Upon consideration of the pleadings [2], the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS IN PART and HOLDS IN ABEYANCE IN PART Defendant's [85] Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. Specifically, Plaintiff's claims for (1) Breach of Contract and (2) Accounting and Mandatory Injunctive Relief are dismissed. The Court holds in abeyance a decision on Plaintiff's claims for (1) Intentional Damage to Credit and (2) Defamation, pending supplemental briefing from the parties.


A. Factual Background

On or about May 16, 2003, Plaintiff obtained a home mortgage loan (the " Loan" ) from Defendant, secured by property located at 5601 16th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20011 (the " Property" ). Def.'s

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Stmt. ¶ 1. The Loan was governed by a Note dated May 16, 2003 (the " Note" ) and Deed of Trust dated May 16, 2003 and recorded in the District of Columbia land records at Document No. 2003088532 (the " Deed of Trust" ). Id. ¶ 2. The Deed of Trust provides that Plaintiff shall pay to NFCU funds necessary to pay " Escrow Items" which includes, among other costs, taxes and insurance premiums for the Property. Id. ¶ 3. The Deed of Trust also provides that NFCU may waive the borrower's obligation to pay costs for Escrow Items at any time and that the waiver must be provided in writing. Id. ¶ 4. The Deed of Trust does not set out the criteria which NFCU must use when determining whether to waive the escrow requirement. Id. ¶ 5. At closing, Plaintiff signed a " District of Columbia Escrow Disclosure and Agreement Authorization" permitting the payment of taxes to the D.C. Government by NFCU. Id. ¶ 6.

In 2009, the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue erroneously determined that Plaintiff claimed two homestead exemptions for the years 2007 and 2008. The D.C. Government assessed $20,451.13 in back taxes for the Property and increased the amount of tax owed in the future for the property. Id. ¶ 8. NFCU was not responsible for the tax exemption error and made no representations to the District of Columbia regarding Plaintiff's homestead exemption. Id. ¶ 9. NFCU received notice of the D.C. Government Assessment from the District of Columbia Office of Taxation. Id. ¶ 10. NFCU was authorized to pay, and did pay, the D.C. Government Assessment of $20,451.14. Id. ¶ ¶ 11-12.

After NFCU paid the D.C. Government Assessment, Plaintiff's escrow account was in arrears and the required amount due to maintain the escrow account was $21,252.82. Id. ¶ 13. NFCU sent Plaintiff a notice that the D.C. Government Assessment had been paid and gave Plaintiff the option of paying the entire increase of $21,252.82 within 30 days, or spreading the payments over the next 12 months, increasing his total monthly payments by $1,771.07 to $6,761.07 for 12 months. Id. ¶ 14. Subsequently, apparently having been alerted to its error by Plaintiff, the District of Columbia refunded the tax over-payments to NFCU, which totaled $22,247.97, on August 26, 2010. Id. ¶ 15. The refunded payments were applied to Plaintiff's escrow account and he was issued two checks due to the excess funds in his escrow account as a result of the tax refund. Id. ¶ 16.

Beginning in September 2010, Plaintiff stopped making escrow payments as required under the Deed of Trust and instead attempted to pay taxes and insurance directly to the D.C. Government and insurance company. Id. ¶ 17. On September 9, 2010, Plaintiff sent Defendant a fax stating " [t]he purpose of this memorandum is to inform you that I will pay directly the escrow payments for the referenced property." Def.'s MSJ, Ex. J (Haynes Fax). He cited as reasons for this decision, " (a) under DC law I have a legal right to pay my own real estate taxes; and (b) NFCU has continually miscalculated the amount the [sic] escrow taxes to be paid." Id. Plaintiff tendered monthly payments to NFCU of $3,930.24 for each month after August 2010. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 19. That amount is equal to the principal and interest he owed monthly, but does not include any escrow payments. Id.

The Deed of Trust includes the following language regarding partial payments:

Lender may return any payment or partial payment if the payment or partial payments are insufficient to bring the Loan current. Lender may accept any payment or partial payment insufficient

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to bring the Loan current, without waiver of any rights hereunder or prejudice to its rights to refuse such payment or partial payments in the future, but Lender is not obligated to apply such payments at the time such payments are accepted. If each Periodic Payment is applied as of its scheduled due date, then Lender need not pay interest on unapplied funds. Lender may hold such unapplied funds until Borrower makes payment to bring the Loan current. If Borrower does not do so within a reasonable period of time, Lender shall either apply such funds or return them to Borrower.

Def.'s MSJ, Ex. B (Deed of Trust) at 4. NFCU, operating pursuant to the language entitling a Lender to hold or return funds insufficient to bring the loan current " until Borrower makes payment to bring the loan current," began (a) placing these funds into a suspense account, (b) returning them to Plaintiff, or (c) applying them to the balance of his loan. Def.'s Resp. Stmt. ¶ 20.

On September 9, 2010, Plaintiff requested a waiver of his escrow payments. Pl.'s Opp'n at 10. The Deed of Trust provides that:

Borrower shall pay Lender the Funds for Escrow Items unless Lender waives Borrower's obligation to pay the Funds for any and all Escrow Items. Lender may waive Borrower's obligation to pay to Lender Funds for any and all Escrow Items at any time. Any such waiver may only be in writing. In the event of such waiver, Borrower shall pay directly, when and where payable, the amounts due for any Escrow Items for which payment of Funds has been waived by Lender and, if Lender requires, shall furnish to Lender receipts evidencing such payment within such time period as Lender may require.

Def.'s MSJ, Ex. B (Deed of Trust) at 4-5. Plaintiff's request for a waiver of his escrow payments was denied. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 23; Pl.'s Opp'n at 4.

NFCU reported information to credit bureaus regarding the status of Plaintiff's loan. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 33. Defendant states that this information was automatically produced by NFCU's computer system using data from Plaintiff's account. Id. ¶ 36. Plaintiff subsequently disputed the accuracy of this reporting through the credit agencies. Def.'s Ex. R (Aff. of Kenneth D. Huggins) ¶ 4. Defendant states that, upon receiving these objections, it performed an investigation into the accuracy of the information and confirmed the results. Id.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff commenced this action on March 24, 2011, bringing various claims against Defendant concerning the mortgage on his property. See Haynes v. Navy Federal Credit Union, 825 F.Supp.2d 285, 288 (D.D.C. 2011). On November 23, 2011, this Court granted-in-part and denied-in-part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Id. at 298. Plaintiff's first claim of Breach of Contract was permitted to proceed in part. In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged the following:

On or about May 23, 2003, Plaintiff entered in a mortgage contract with the Defendant Loan Number 8010498296 collateralized by the Plaintiff's home. Under this contract payment[s] made by the Plaintiff were first to be applied to escrow accounts and $3,390.34 applied to interest and principal. NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION (" NFCU" ) has breached this contract by not applying payments as agreed but either shifting payments into a " ...

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