United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Owens (“plaintiff”), proceeding pro se,
brings this action against Bank of America, N.A.
(“BANA”), Samuel I. White, P.C.
(“SIWPC”) and Harvey West Auctioneers,
It appears that each defendant played a role in the
foreclosure of real property plaintiff owned in the District
of Columbia. BANA and SIWPC have moved to dismiss the
complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
When the Court considers a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, it must
accept as true the well-pleaded factual allegations set forth
in a complaint, and it must hold a complaint drafted by the
plaintiff herself to a less stringent standard than one
prepared by lawyers. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam). But even judged by that
standard, plaintiff's complaint leaves much to be
desired. It consists almost entirely of conclusory
statements, and it is so lacking in factual allegations that
the Court has found it necessary rely upon plaintiff's
other submissions, including her oppositions to
defendants' motions, for context and to identify the
particular legal claims plaintiff seeks to bring. Cf.
Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 549 (D.C.
Cir. 1999). No. matter how liberally the Court construes
plaintiff's submissions in their entirety, see Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), she has not stated
any viable claim.
the complaint appears to be an effort to re-litigate and
essentially appeal a foreclosure that has been ruled upon by
the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and plaintiff may not
seek review of those determinations here. For the reasons
discussed in more detail below, then, the Court will grant
defendants' motions and dismiss the complaint in its
describes herself as a “[m]ember of a protected group
based on race, gender, and status[, ]” Compl. ¶ 8,
“[w]ith fee simple ownership rights, ”
id. ¶ 9, “[i]n federal private
property… known as 1325 Ingraham Street, N.W.,
Washington, DC 20011[.]” Compl. ¶¶ 10-11.
According to plaintiff, her ownership rights were
“[g]ranted by the U.S. federal government, ”
id. ¶ 12, and she “is the only person
listed on the deed or title with the U.S. federal
government.” Id. ¶ 13.
appears that plaintiff obtained a loan from Countrywide Home
Loans, Inc. (“Countrywide”) to refinance her
then-existing mortgage. See id. ¶ 15; Pl.'s
Opp'n to [SIWPC's] Mot. for Dismissal, ECF No. 20
(“Opp'n to SIWPC Mot.”) at 7. Plaintiff
alleges that she “timely exercised her right to
cancel” the loan, Compl. ¶ 15 (emphasis removed),
on or about December 27, 2006, before disbursement of the
loan proceeds. Id. ¶ 16; see Opp'n
to SIWPC Mot., Exs. K1-K3. Plaintiff denies having assigned
or transferred ownership in the property to Countrywide,
Compl. ¶ 17, and denies the existence of
“documents executed between [her] and the
defendants” named in this lawsuit. Id. ¶
21. Rather, plaintiff claims to have retained “[t]he
deed, title, or ownership rights” to the property,
id. ¶ 19, and to have “satisfied the
original mortgage” in January 2007. Id. ¶
18; see Opp'n to SIWPC Mot., Ex. L. She alleges
that the original “Note was released into her
possession, ” Compl. ¶ 18, and was filed with the
Recorder of Deeds on February 1, 2007. Opp'n to SIWPC
Mot. at 16.
acquired Countrywide in August 2008. See Compl.
¶ 22; Opp'n to SIWPC Mot. at 18. On March 7, 2013,
Jonnisha Brooks-Sims, a BANA Assistant Vice President,
executed an Affidavit of Lost Note. Opp'n to SIWPC Mot.,
Exs. N1-N2 (“Brooks-Sims Aff.”). According to Ms.
Brooks-Sims, BANA was the servicer with respect to the
Loan Number: [redacted] Borrower(s): SONYA L. OWENS Date of
Note: 12/22/2006 Original Principal Balance: $ 236, 000.00
Property Address: 1325 INGRAHAM ST NW, WASHINGTON, DC
Aff. ¶ 1. “Based on BANA's business records,
BANA, or its predecessor (as servicer or by merger) or the
custodian acquired possession of the Note on or before
December 28, 2006.” Id. ¶ 5 (emphasis
removed). However, Ms. Brooks-Sims averred, “the Note
ha[d] been lost, ” id. ¶ 4, and after
having made “a good faith effort . . . to locate”
it, id., “possession of the note [could not]
reasonably be obtained because the Note was destroyed, its
whereabouts [could not] be determined, or it [was] in the
wrongful possession of an unknown person.” Id.
¶ 6. Further, she stated, “the loss of possession
of the Note [was] not the result of a rightful transfer or a
lawful seizure of the Note.” Id. ¶ 7.
August 23, 2013, an Assistant Vice President with Countrywide
Home Loans, Inc. executed an Assignment of Deed of Trust for
the purpose of assigning and transferring to BANA the
“Deed of Trust from Sonya L. Owens to Countrywide Home
Loans, Inc. dated December 22, 2006 recorded among the Land
Records of District of Columbia, in Instrument # 2007010226
in the original principal amount of $236, 000.00.”
Opp'n to SIWPC Mot., Ex. 01. This document was filed with
the District of Columbia's Recorder of Deeds. See
id., Ex. 02.
to plaintiff, the Deed of Trust “(#2007010226) filed in
the D.C. Deeds Office is incomplete, unsigned, or
cancelled.” Opp'n to SIWPC Mot. at 6. She deems the
document “fraudulent, ” id.;
see Compl. ¶¶ 31-36, having been
“filed several weeks after [she] canceled or voided
it[.]” Opp'n to SIWPC Mot. at 6. She also asserts
that this Deed of Trust “falsely names [SIWPC] as
trustee.” Id.; see id., Ex. L. Yet,
based on these falsified or ‘“missing'
documents, ” Compl. ¶ 40, BANA initiated
foreclosure proceedings in the Superior Court of the District
of Columbia, id. ¶ 39, by filing a Complaint
for Mortgage Foreclosure on July 30, 2014. See
Samuel I. White P.C.'s Reply in Support of its Mot. to
Dismiss, ECF No. 21 (“SIWPC Reply”), Ex. A
(docket sheet) at 1; Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot.
to Dismiss, ECF No. 9 (“Opp'n to BANA Mot.”)
at 1. At that time, plaintiff alleges, BANA “did not
have possession of the Note and did not know of its
whereabouts, ” Opp'n to SIWPC Mot. at 10, and
therefore could not “prove it had the right to proceed
with [the] foreclosure action” in the Superior Court.
Id. at 17.
pursuant to the Superior Court's December 17, 2015 Order
and Decree for Sale of Real Property, see SIWPC
Reply, Ex. A at 5, substitute trustees sold the property at
auction on February 21, 2017. Emer. Mot. for Inj. Relief, ECF
No. 15 at 5; see id., Exs. B, G. The Superior Court
issued an Order Granting Motion to Ratify Sale on May 30,
2017. SIWPC Reply, Ex. A at 8. Plaintiff sought relief in the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which dismissed
plaintiff's appeal and motion for a stay of Superior
Court's May 30, 2017 Order. See Order, Owens
v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 17-CV-638 (D.C. Ct. of
App. Oct. 3, 2017). The Superior Court issued an Order
Granting Plaintiff's Motion to Ratify Accounting, thus
closing the foreclosure case, on May 25, 2018. SIWPC Reply,
Ex. A at 10; Def. [BANA's] Response to Pl.'s Emer.
Mot. for Inj. Relief, ECF No. 18, Ex. B. By then, BANA
already had “recorded a trustee's deed transferring
title to the proposed purchaser of [the property].”
Opp'n to SIWPC Mot. at 29. Plaintiff filed a Notice of
Appeal on June 12, 2018. SIWPC Reply, Ex. A at 10.
complaint in this court, filed on October 11, 2017, sets
forth five counts related to the foreclosure action. In Count
One, entitled “Fraud, ” plaintiff states that
“[t]he defendants are accused of robo-signing”
documents, Compl. ¶ 31, and thus engaging in
“[m]ortgage fraud, ” id. ¶ 32, by
“creating . . . [f]alse documents . . . [s]tating
Countrywide . . . had transferred or assigned a loan debt
instrument” to BANA granting it “a secured
interest in [Plaintiff's] federal private
property.” Id. ¶¶ 33-36. Further,
plaintiff asserts that defendants have “[a]ttempted to
unlawfully seize and [sell her] property at public auction,
” id. ¶ 41, without “any evidence
to support their claims.” Id. ¶ 44.
Count Two, entitled “Predatory Lending, ”
plaintiff accuses defendants of discrimination and disparate
treatment, id. ¶¶ 46-47; “[u]nfair,
deceptive, unlawful or fraudulent practices . . . during the
loan origination process, ” id. ¶ 49;
“imposing unfair and abusive loan terms…,
” id. ¶ 50; failure “to disclose
the terms of a debt instrument assigned or transferred to
them (whether or not true), ” id. ¶ 51;
violation of the Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”),
id. ¶ 52; and
“[m]isrepresentation.” Id. ¶ 56.
Count Three, entitled “Predatory Servicing, ”
plaintiff alleges “[u]nfair, deceptive, unlawful, or
fraudulent practices during the . . . mortgage servicing
process, ” id. ¶ 58, and
“[w]rongful [c]onduct [r]elated to
[f]oreclosures.” Id. ¶ 59. She also
alleges violations of “National Mortgage Settlement
servicing standards, ” id. ¶ 60, the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
id. ¶ 62, and unspecified consumer protection
and financial privacy laws, id. ¶¶ 62-63.
Count Three also includes defamation, id.
¶¶ 64-65, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress, id. ¶ 66, in its list of alleged
Four and Five, entitled “Violation of Federal Court
Order and Settlement Agreement” and “Conspiracy,
” respectively, set forth no additional factual
allegations and simply “re-plead and re-allege”
the preceding paragraphs in the complaint. The Court presumes
that Count Four harkens back to Count Three and its
allegation of a violation of “National Mortgage
Settlement servicing standards.” Id. ¶
60. Further, the Court presumes that Count Five pertains to
the fraud claims set out in Counts One and Two.
initially demanded monetary damages, litigation costs, and
injunctive relief ordering defendants to stop mortgage
servicing activity and to expunge “all negative
information . . . reported to Equifax, TransUnion, and
Experian[.]” Id. ¶ 70. Subsequently,
among other relief, she demanded an injunction
“prohibiting the possession, transfer of title, or
foreclosure sale” of the property, and a declaration
“[a]ll documents executed or filed by the Defendants
pursuant to the sale or ratification of sale of [her] home on
February 21, 2017 are [void].” Opp'n to SIWPC Mot.
plaintiff need only provide a “short and plain
statement of [her] claim showing that [she] is entitled to
relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), that “give[s] the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson, 551
U.S. at 93 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted). To
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
The Court “must construe the complaint in favor of the
plaintiff, who must be granted the benefit of all inferences
that can be derived from the facts alleged.”
Hettinga v. United States, 677 F.3d 471, 476 (D.C.
Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted);
see Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271,
1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). While the Court must accept as true
the facts alleged in the complaint, it “need not accept
inferences drawn by plaintiff if such inferences are
unsupported by the facts set out in the complaint.”
Kowal, 16 F.3d at 1276. The Court need not accept
“a legal ...