United States District Court, District of Columbia
D. BATES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mushala brings various federal and state claims against U.S.
Bank, National Association (“US Bank”),
Specialized Loan Servicing LLC (“SLS”), and BWW
Law Group, LLC (“BWW”) arising from their roles
in judicially foreclosing on her District of Columbia home.
Mushala alleges that because defendants had no rights in the
loan secured by the property, assessed invalid fees that she
did not owe, and reported misleading information about her
default to credit agencies, she is entitled to damages under,
inter alia, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., the Fair Credit
Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and
two District of Columbia statutes proscribing deceptive
practices. Defendants argue that res judicata bars most of
Mushala's claims, pointing to a D.C. Superior Court final
judgment in their favor following a nearly three-year long
foreclosure litigation involving the same parties, facts, and
pending before the Court are  and  defendants'
motions to dismiss Mushala's original complaint,  and
 defendants' motions to dismiss the amended complaint,
and  Mushala's motion for summary judgment. For the
reasons stated below, the Court will deny as moot  and 
the motions to dismiss the original complaint, grant in part
and deny in part  U.S. Bank and SLS's partial motion
to dismiss, grant  BWW's motion to dismiss, and deny
 Mushala's motion for summary judgment.
individual obtains a home loan from a lender, the debt,
memorialized in a “promissory note, ” generally
is secured with an interest in the underlying property.
Restatement (Third) of Property: Mortgages § 1.1 (Am.
Law Inst. 1997). The security interest may take the form of a
“deed of trust” which, like a mortgage,
“entitles the creditor to pursue foreclosure”-
i.e., “the process in which property securing
a mortgage is sold to pay off the loan balance due.”
Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP, No. 17-1307,
2019 WL 1264579, at *2 (U.S. Mar. 20, 2019) (quoting 2 Baxter
Dunaway, L. of Distressed Real Est. § 15:1
(2018)). If “the foreclosure sale does not yield the
full amount due, a creditor . . . may sometimes obtain a
deficiency judgment, that is, a judgment against the
homeowner for the unpaid balance of a debt.”
notes may either be held by the original lender, transferred
to a specific new “holder, ” or “[e]ndorsed
in blank”-that is, endorsed without reference “to
a specific party, ” making the note “payable to
the bearer.” Chase Plaza Condo. Ass'n, Inc. v.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 98 A.3d 166, 169-170 (D.C.
2014). In case of a default, the holder of the note “is
normally entitled to enforce [it], including through
foreclosure proceedings.” Id. at 169; see
also D.C. Code § 28:3-301. Under District of
Columbia law, this is true “even if [the note holder]
is not a successor in interest under the deed of trust,
because ‘the rights under the Deed of Trust follow the
Note.'” Chase Plaza, 98 A.3d at 170 n.2
(citation omitted). Although the note holder ultimately has
the right to enforce the terms of the note, a separate entity
called a loan servicer often “handles the day-to-day
tasks of managing [the] loan, ” including
“process[ing] loan payments” and
“initiat[ing] foreclosure.” Mohamed v. Select
Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 215 F.Supp.3d 85, 89 (D.D.C.
2016) (citations omitted).
other entities involved in extending credit or collecting
debt, note holders that seek to enforce their interests are
subject to statutory restrictions and duties designed to
protect borrowers. Here, Mushala brings claims under,
inter alia, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act
at ending “abusive debt collection practices, ”
the FDCPA prohibits “debt collector[s]” from,
among other things, making “false . . . representations
. . . in connection with the collection of any debt, ”
and using “unfair or unconscionable means to collect or
attempt to collect any debt.” 15 U.S.C. §§
1692(e), 1692e, 1692f; see Sheriff v. Gillie, 136
S.Ct. 1594, 1598 (2016). Categories of violative conduct
under sections 1692e and 1692f include, among other things,
the misrepresentation of “the character, amount, or
legal status of any debt, ” 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(2),
and “[t]aking or threatening to take any nonjudicial
action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if
. . . there is no present right to possession of the property
. . . through an enforceable security interest, ”
id. § 1692f(6). The Act provides harmed debtors
a private right of action to seek actual and statutory
damages. Id. § 1692k.
passed the FCRA to, among other things, “ensure fair
and accurate credit reporting.” Safeco Ins. Co. of
Am. v. Burr, 551 U.S. 47, 52 (2007). To that end, the
FCRA imposes a range of duties on agencies that evaluate
consumer creditworthiness (consumer reporting agencies or
“CRAs”), and on entities that
“furnish” information about borrowers to CRAs
(“furnishers”). See Armstrong v. Navient
Sols., LLC, 292 F.Supp.3d 464, 468 (D.D.C. 2018). As
relevant here, furnishers of credit information have two
general sets of duties. To “provide accurate
information to CRAs in the first instance, ” and, after
receiving notice from a CRA that a consumer has disputed
furnished credit information, to investigate the dispute and
correct any errors. Mohamed, 215 F.Supp.3d at 92;
see 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681s-2(a)(1), (b)(1).
Borrowers only have a private right of action against
furnishers for violating the latter set of duties, however.
See Berlin v. Bank of Am., N.A., 101 F.Supp.3d 1, 23
Facts and Procedural History
2008, Mushala took out a home loan against her Washington,
D.C., residence (the “Property”). Am. Compl. [ECF
No. 7] ¶ 8. The lender memorialized the loan in a
promissory note and secured it with a deed of trust in the
Property. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. In December of the
same year, a different lender, Wells Fargo Bank, issued a
second home loan against the Property for a similar amount,
also memorialized in a promissory note (the
“Note”) and secured with a deed of trust in the
Property. Id. ¶ 9. At a date not specified in
the complaint, Wells Fargo declared the December 2008 loan in
default, alleging that Mushala had failed to make payments
for three months or more. Id. ¶¶ 14, 30.
2014, Wells Fargo endorsed the Note to a third party, and the
Note later was endorsed in blank. See id.
¶¶ 17-19. In March the same year, U.S. Bank sent
Mushala a letter informing her that it had acquired the Note
and that SLS would serve as the loan servicer. Id.
The Foreclosure Proceedings
December 2015, U.S. Bank filed a foreclosure action in D.C.
Superior Court to enforce the terms of the Note. Id.
¶ 24; see Foreclosure Compl. at
BWW, a law firm that collects mortgage debts on behalf of
loan servicers, represented U.S. Bank in the foreclosure
action. Am. Compl. ¶ 5; Foreclosure Compl. at 1, 9.
Mushala failed to appear, the Superior Court entered default
judgment and a decree for sale in favor of U.S. Bank.
See Order Granting [US Bank's] Mot. for Default
J. & Decree for Sale of Real Prop. (“Order Granting
Default J.”), Ex. B to BWW's Consolidated Reply in
Supp. of Its Mot. to Strike or, in the Alt., to Dismiss [ECF
No. 20-2] at 1-2. Shortly thereafter, Mushala appeared
pro se and moved to vacate the default judgment.
See Mot. to Vacate Default, U.S. ROF III Legal
Title Trust v. Mushala, 2015 CA 009830 R(RP) (D.C. Sup.
Ct. Nov. 18, 2016) [hereinafter
“Mushala”]. The Superior Court denied
Mushala's motion and, after the Property was sold to a
third party in July 2017, granted U.S. Bank's motion to
ratify the sale. See Min. Entries of Sept. 29, 2017
& June 30, 2017, Mushala, 2015 CA 009830 R(RP);
Order Granting Mot. to Ratify Sale of Real Prop.
(“Order Ratifying Sale”), Ex. 2 to Partial Mot.
to Dismiss Pl.'s Compl. [ECF No. 4-3].
attempt to unwind the foreclosure, Mushala-by then
represented by counsel- moved to dismiss on the grounds that
the Superior Court never had jurisdiction to effect the sale.
See Mem. in Supp. of [Mushala's] Mot. to
Dismiss, Ex. 3 to Partial Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Compl.
[ECF No. 4-4], at 3-4. No. jurisdiction existed, Mushala
argued, because U.S. Bank never legally possessed the Note,
and thus had no standing to foreclose. Id. Mushala
eventually withdrew the motion, however, and entered a
settlement with the third-party buyer. Am. Compl. ¶ 68;
Min. Entry of June 20, 2018, Mushala, 2015 CA 009830
Bank, meanwhile, moved to confirm a deficiency judgment and
the propriety of certain costs and fees assessed on the loan.
See Mot. to Ratify Accounting, Release Bond, and
Close Case (“Mot. to Ratify Accounting”),
Mushala, 2015 CA 009830 R(RP) (D.C. Sup. Ct. Feb.
16, 2018). Mushala challenged the deficiency amount and
requested a “breakdown or calculation” of the
assessed fees. See [Mushala's] Opp'n to Mot.
to Ratify Accounting, Mushala, 2015 CA 009830 R(RP)
(D.C. Sup. Ct. Mar. 3, 2018) at 1, 4. After U.S. Bank
responded with supplementary evidence, however, the Superior
Court granted U.S. Bank's motion and closed the case.
Order Granting Mot. to Ratify Accounting, Release Bond, and
Close Case (“Order Granting Mot. to Ratify
Accounting”), Mushala, 2015 CA 009830 R(RP)
(D.C. Sup. Ct. Oct. 9, 2018) at 1-2. Mushala did not appeal.
The Instant Lawsuit
2018, Mushala filed suit in D.C. Superior Court, and
defendants subsequently removed the case to this Court.
See Notice of Removal [ECF No. 1]; Compl. & Jury
Demand, Ex. 1 to Notice of Removal [ECF No. 1-2]. Mushala
brings claims under the FDCPA, the FCRA, the District of
Columbia Mortgage Lender and Broker Act of 1996
(“MLBA”), D.C. Code § 26-1101 et
seq., and the District of Columbia Consumer Protection
Procedures Act (“CPPA”), D.C. Code § 28-3901
relevant to her FDCPA, MLBA, and CPPA claims, Mushala alleges
that, although she took out a home loan in July 2008, she
never took out a December 2008 loan, and the Note
memorializing that loan was fraudulent. Am. Compl.
¶¶ 10, 29. Defendants therefore misled her
throughout the foreclosure proceedings, Mushala claims, by
falsely representing that the Note was legitimate, that U.S.
Bank had standing to foreclose, and that U.S. Bank had
satisfied the necessary conditions precedent for lawful
foreclosure. Id. ¶¶ 27, 29, 31, 33, 44,
71-73, 95, 100. Even if the Note was legitimate, Mushala
charges, defendants misrepresented that the Note was validly
endorsed to U.S. Bank. Id. ¶¶ 18-19,
22-23, 28, 73, 95, 101. Additionally, defendants ...