United States District Court, D. Columbia.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Gregory Walsh, Plaintiff, Pro se, Fairfax , VA.
Christina Walsh, Plaintiff, Pro se, Fairfax , VA.
For Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Hsbc Bank, USA, NA, Defendants: Syed M. Reza, LEAD ATTORNEY, TROUTMAN SANDERS LLP, Tysons Corner , VA.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs Gregory and Christina Walsh purchased their Virginia home with a variable-rate mortgage in 2006. When their interest charges increased beyond their ability to pay, the Walshes brought suit in the Eastern District of Virginia in 2011, asserting procedural defects in the sale and subsequent transfer of their mortgage. After the case was dismissed with prejudice, the Walshes brought suit anew in this Court, asserting the same claims as well as a claim to enforce a Consent Judgment entered in this Court between the United States and defendant Bank of America. Because private citizens, such as the Walshes, cannot enforce the terms of a judgment obtained by the federal government, the Court will dismiss this claim. And because the events surrounding the Walshes' mortgage and foreclosure have no connection to the District of Columbia, the Court will dismiss all but one of the remaining claims for improper venue. The Court will transfer the lone surviving claim to the Eastern District of Virginia.
Gregory and Christina Walsh are homeowners in Fairfax, Virginia who purchased their home under a variable-rate mortgage prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Compl. ¶ 2 & Ex. A. As with many other mortgages from this period, the Walshes' interest rate ballooned within a few years, and they fell behind on their payments. In 2011, the Walshes brought claims in Virginia state court against Bank of America, which then held their mortgage, and others asserting fraud, violations of the Truth in Lending Act (" TILA" ), Pub L. No. 90-321 (1987), and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims. Am. Compl., Walsh v. Bank of America, NA, No. 11-cv-1168 (E.D. Va. Oct. 22, 2011). After the defendants removed the case to the Eastern District of Virginia, the District Court granted their motion to dismiss because (1) the Walshes had failed to oppose the motion; (2) their fraud, TILA, and breach of fiduciary duty claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations; and (3) the Walshes had failed to assert sufficient facts to state a claim as to their remaining counts. Order, Walsh v. Bank of America, NA, No. 11-cv-1168, (E.D. Va. Feb 15, 2012). After the Walshes amended their complaint, the District Court granted the defendants' renewed motion to dismiss for failure to oppose and failure to state a claim and dismissed the suit with prejudice. Order, Walsh v. Bank of America, NA, No. 11-cv-1168 (E.D. Va. Apr. 26, 2012).
Undeterred, the Walshes then sued in this Court, seeking damages and an injunction to prevent foreclosure of their home. They assert claims against Bank of America and HSBC Bank, which now holds their mortgage as trustee for Luminent Mortgage Trust 2006-5. The Walshes have also named Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, their current loan servicer, and the
law firm Shapiro, Brown & Alt, which apparently represented Bank of America in foreclosure proceedings against the Walshes. Am. Compl. at 3, 7. The Walshes seek to enforce a Consent Judgment entered into between Bank of America and the federal government in a prior case in this district, which settled allegations that Bank of America and other banks engaged in a host of deceptive and illegal practices in servicing mortgages and initiating foreclosure proceedings. See Consent Judgment, [ECF. No. 11], United States v. Bank of America Corp, No. 12-cv-361, (D.D.C. Apr. 4, 2012) (" Consent Judgment" ). As in the former case in the Eastern District of Virginia, the Walshes allege violations of TILA, contending that the company that originally sold them the mortgage did not accurately describe the anticipated interest rate, and that the entities who have since bought and sold their mortgage over the years have not followed procedures required by TILA. They also bring Virginia common law claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress based on the same behavior. The served defendants--Nationstar Mortgage and HSBC--have moved to dismiss the case for improper venue and failure to ...