Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Peek v. Suntrust Bank, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 20, 2018

CHRISTOPHER EARL PEEK, Plaintiff,
v.
SUNTRUST BANK, INC. et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, United States District Judge

         Christopher Peek brought suit against SunTrust Bank, Inc., raising a variety of statutory and common law claims related to a purported agreement to modify a mortgage loan. Because Peek previously brought suit against SunTrust Bank's wholly-owned subsidiary in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the bank has moved to dismiss Peek's suit as barred by res judicata. The Court agrees that res judicata applies and will grant SunTrust Bank's motion.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         The Court draws the following factual background from the complaint, taking as true all well-pled factual allegations as it must on a motion to dismiss. See, e.g., Warren v. District of Columbia, 353 F.3d 36, 39 (D.C. Cir. 2004). In 2008, Plaintiff Christopher Earl Peek obtained a mortgage loan from SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. secured by his residence in Washington, D.C. See Compl. at 2, ¶¶ 4, 8. In late 2015, after suffering some economic hardships, Peek applied for modification of this loan. See id. at 2-3.

         By January 2016, Peek was under the impression that he and SunTrust Mortgage had “entered into [a] repayment modification agreement[].” Id. ¶ 13. According to Peek, that agreement involved a three-month trial payment plan. Id. at 3. But when Peek attempted to make these trial payments, SunTrust Mortgage erroneously returned them. Id. ¶¶ 16-39. After some continued communication, in June 2016 SunTrust Mortgage accepted the last of the three payments. Id. ¶ 30. On June 2, 2016, it notified Peek that the trial modification period had concluded and that he would receive final documents during the next 30 days. Id. ¶ 40. A few months later, however, SunTrust Mortgage changed course: on November 4, 2016 it initiated foreclosure proceedings in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. See id. ¶¶ 29.[1]

         B. Peek's Prior Civil Action in the Eastern District of Virginia

         Less than one week later, on November 10, 2016, Peek filed a civil complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (“the Virginia action”) against SunTrust Mortgage alleging violations of the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as a claim for breach of contract. See generally Def.'s Reply Mem. Support Mot. Dismiss, Ex. 1 (Complaint, Peek v. SunTrust Bank Mortgage, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-01415 (E.D. Va. Nov. 10, 2016)). He demanded a declaratory judgment and monetary damages. Id.

         In response, SunTrust Mortgage moved to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that it failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The district court granted the motion. See Peek v. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc., 2017 WL 3258729, at *5 (E.D. Va. Feb. 15, 2017). It held that “whatever merits claims plaintiff may have regarding SunTrust's disposition of his mortgage must be litigated in the foreclosure proceeding in D.C. Superior Court, ” and so resolution by declaratory judgment would be inappropriate. Id. at *2. In addition, the court stated that Peek failed to plead the necessary elements for his various claims, such as identifying “a federally-financed program from which he sought and was denied benefits” as required for Title VI or an employment relationship between the parties as required for Title VII. Id. at *3-4. In all, the district court concluded that “none of plaintiff's claims states a cognizable cause of action or seeks an appropriate form of relief.” Id. at *4. Peek appealed the district court's order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed in an unpublished per curiam decision. See Peek v. SunTrust Bank Mortgage, Inc., 693 Fed.Appx. 231, 232 (per curiam) (4th Cir. 2017).

         C. The Present Suit

         After the Fourth Circuit's ruling on appeal, in November 2017, Peek filed suit in this Court, this time against SunTrust Bank, Inc. As in the Virginia action, his complaint revolves around the alleged loan modification agreement. Compl. at 2-4. He alleges that as a result of SunTrust Bank's actions, he has sustained various harms, including “a decline in credit score, ” id.¶ 79, the inability to “secure a refinancing of the SunTrust loan, ” id., and difficulty in securing “employment due to the derogatory credit ratings, ” id.¶ 83. He claims that SunTrust violated the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and also asserts fraud and breach of contract claims. Peek again seeks a declaratory judgment, id. ¶ 52-54, and monetary damages, id. ¶¶ 69, 81, 84-87.

         Following service, SunTrust Bank filed a motion to dismiss, arguing primarily that Peek's suit is barred by res judicata in light of the Virginia action.[2] The Court agrees, and will dismiss this case with prejudice.

         II. Legal Standards

         A complaint survives a Rule 12(b)(6) motion if it provides “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), that “gives the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds on which it rests, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). Courts must construe complaints in a light most favorable to plaintiffs and “assume the truth of all well-pleaded allegations.” Warren, 353 F.3d at 39. The Court's consideration is limited to “the facts alleged in the complaint [and] documents either attached to or incorporated in the complaint, ” EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.