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Jung v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

December 19, 2018

BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., et al., Defendants.

         Re Document Nos. 19, 23, 29, 33, 37, 41, 57


          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge

         Granting Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, Sua Sponte Dismissing All Claims Against All Remaining Defendants, Denying Motion for Sanctions, and Denying All Other Pending Motions as Moot


         After over half a decade of litigation surrounding the foreclosure of her home, Plaintiff Gloria Sun Jung brought this case in April 2018, alleging a wide range of civil and criminal acts by Defendants, all individuals and entities involved at some level in the loan and foreclosure process. Most defendants have now moved to dismiss Jung's claims on a number of grounds, including, as relevant here, lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Several defendants have also moved for sanctions, while Jung has moved to strike multiple motions and for default judgment. Because this Court finds that it has no subject matter jurisdiction over any of Jung's claims, it grants the motions to dismiss and sua sponte dismisses all claims against all remaining defendants. The Court denies the motion for sanctions because it finds that Jung's first-time filing in this Court is not sufficient to warrant the imposition of sanctions. All other pending motions are denied as moot.


         In February 2008, Plaintiff Gloria Sun Jung (“Jung”) obtained a $697, 000 loan from Defendant Countrywide Bank FSB (“Countrywide”) and executed a promissory note and mortgage with Countrywide, identifying property located at 16 Rising Meadow Way, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania (the “East Stroudsburg property”) as the collateral securing the loan. See BANA's Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 19; February 11, 2008 Note, Am. Compl. Ex. 1 at 23-24, ECF No. 6-1; February 11, 2008 Mortgage, BANA's Mot. Dismiss Ex. B, ECF No. 19-2. Jung contends that she was “not aware that she was getting into the contract with ‘security'” by executing the note and mortgage with Countrywide. Am. Compl. at 10, ECF No. 6. Following Countrywide's bankruptcy in 2008, the note and mortgage were assigned to Defendant Bank of America (“BANA”). See Id. at 7.

         After Jung defaulted on her mortgage, BANA began a foreclosure action in June 2012. See BANA's Mem. Supp. at 2. Jung also contends she had no knowledge of what “foreclosure” meant at the time of signing the note. Am. Compl. at 10. On April 17, 2015, the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Pennsylvania entered a Default Judgment in BANA's favor. See BANA's Mem. Supp. at 2; Am. Compl. at 11. After Defendant Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB (“Wilmington”) substituted in as BANA's successor in interest to the East Stroudsburg property, a Sheriff's deed was recorded against the property in Wilmington's favor on August 26, 2016. See BANA's Mem. Supp. at 2; Sheriff's Deed, Am. Compl. Ex. 1 at 27-30.

         Following the default judgment and Sheriff's sale, but before Wilmington took possession of the property, Jung appealed directly to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, asking for an injunction against her eviction. See Am. Compl. at 12; BANA's Mem. Supp. at 2. The Supreme Court denied the appeal and transferred the case to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. See Am. Compl. at 12; BANA's Mem. Supp. at 2-3. The Superior court denied the injunction and allowed the eviction proceedings to continue. See Am. Compl. at 12. On September 1, 2017, the Court of Common Pleas issued a Writ of Possession in Wilmington's favor. See BANA's Mem. Supp. at 2; Writ of Possession, Am. Compl. Ex. 1 at 36-38.

         Jung then declared bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and initiated an adversary proceeding to challenge the Default Judgment and Sheriff's Sale. See Am. Compl. at 12; BANA's Mem. Supp. at 3. The bankruptcy and related adversary proceeding were subsequently dismissed, see BANA's Mem. Supp. at 3, with the Bankruptcy Court granting relief from the automatic bankruptcy stay on March 20, 2018, see Bankruptcy Order, Am. Compl. Ex. 1 at 40.

         In parallel to the formal foreclosure and eviction process, Jung filed a number of proceedings challenging the foreclosure, both in state and in federal court. Between 2015 and 2018, she initiated six lawsuits challenging the foreclosure in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. See Wilmington Mem. Supp. Mot. Sanctions at 3-5, ECF No. 41-2 (listing cases). All federal lawsuits were dismissed or otherwise closed. See id.[1] In 2017, Jung also sued 10 defendants in state court in Pike County for wrongful foreclosure. See Id. And on April 19, 2018, Jung filed another complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, seeking quiet title to the property and asking for the prior judgments to be voided. See Am. Compl. at 14; BANA's Mem. Supp. at 3. That lawsuit was resolved on June 12, 2018 with Jung being barred from pursuing any further pro se litigation against related defendants and for related claims without first obtaining leave of court. See Wilmington Mem. Supp. Mot. Sanctions at 2; June 12, 2018 Order, Wilmington Mot. Sanctions Ex. 1 at 332-33, ECF No. 41-1.

         On April 24, 2018, Jung was evicted. See Am. Compl. at 15. Just two days after the eviction on April 26, 2018, Jung filed the present case in this Court. See Compl., ECF No. 1. On May 2, 2018, Jung filed an amended complaint. See Am. Compl. In the amended complaint, Jung brings claims against Countrywide; BANA; Wilmington; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania judges and judicial employees who presided over her legal proceedings;[2] the Sheriff's office that conducted her eviction and several of its employees;[3] as well as multiple other Defendants who at one point or another were involved in the loan generation, loan servicing, or legal proceedings surrounding the East Stroudsburg property.[4] See Id. Jung reasserts claims previously litigated and brings various additional allegations for constitutional violations, fraud, criminal acts, and violations of several civil statutes. See id.

         Defendants BANA, Shauna Morie Smith, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and Reed Smith LLP filed a Motion to Dismiss on May 24, 2018. See BANA's Mot. Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 19. Wilmington, Selene Financial LP, and Stern & Eisenberg, P.C. (the “Wilmington Defendants”) filed their own Motion to Dismiss on May 25, 2018. See Wilmington Mot. Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 23. Most of the Pennsylvania judicial defendants moved to dismiss shortly thereafter, see Pennsylvania Judicial Defs. Mot. Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 29, followed by Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, see Ocwen Mot. Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 33; Commonwealth Mot. Dismiss at 1, EFC No. 37. On December 4, 2018, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge John Thomas moved to dismiss. See Thomas Mot. Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 57. A number of defendants also moved for sanctions pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 and demanded the withdrawal of Jung's complaint. See Wilmington Mot. Sanctions at 1, ECF No. 41. Jung has moved for default judgment and has sought a variety of additional relief, including striking most of the Defendants' briefs. See generally Docket, Jung v. Bank of America, No. 18-cv-962-RC (D.D.C.).

         On October 17, 2018, Jung filed a “Notice of Separate Claim” described as an “Affidavit for Stolen items by Defendants[.]” Pl's Notice of Separate Claim, ECF No. 50. In the notice, Jung again relays the facts surrounding the seizure of the East Stroudsburg property and lists furniture and belongings that were inside of the property and that she alleges the Defendants stole from her upon the foreclosure and her eviction. See Id. at 8-16. Jung requests over $3, 500, 000 in supplemental relief, which she explicitly states is separate from the relief sought in her amended complaint. See Id. at 17. On October 22, 2018, the Notice of Separate Claim was followed by a “Notice of Joinders[, ]” in which Jung purports to add additional defendants to the litigation. Pl.'s Amended Notice of Joinders, ECF No. 53.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides for the dismissal of an action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and it is generally presumed that “a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Accordingly, it is the plaintiff's burden to establish that the court has subject matter jurisdiction over his or her claims. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). In determining whether the plaintiff has met this burden, a court must accept “the allegations of the complaint as true, ” Banneker Ventures, LLC v. Graham, 798 F.3d 1119, 1129 (D.C. Cir. 2015), and “construe the complaint liberally, granting the plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged[, ]” Barr v. Clinton, 370 F.3d 1196, 1199 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “the plaintiff's factual allegations in the complaint . . . will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion than in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim.” Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9, 13-14 (D.D.C. 2001).

         If a federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it cannot reach the merits of the case, and must either dismiss it or transfer it to another court. Amerijet Int'l Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 43 F.Supp.3d 4, 20 (D.D.C. 2014). As a court of limited jurisdiction, it is imperative that this Court “begin, and end, ” with an examination of its jurisdiction. Gen. Motors Corp. v. EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004). The Court has a continuing duty to examine its subject matter jurisdiction and must raise the issue sua sponte ...

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