United States District Court, District of Columbia
PAULA V. WHITING, Plaintiff,
SUNTRUST MORTGAGE, INC., Defendant.
N. McFADDEN, U.S.D.J.
six years ago, SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.
(“SunTrust”) successfully foreclosed on Paula V.
Whiting's home in the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County, Maryland. On July 12, 2019, Whiting, who
is proceeding pro se, sued SunTrust in the Superior
Court for the District of Columbia to rescind the foreclosure
and obtain money damages. SunTrust removed the case to
federal court based on diversity jurisdiction and has moved
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
See Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1; Mot. to Dismiss,
ECF No. 5. Whiting has filed an opposition. See
Opp'n, ECF No. 8. For the reasons explained below, the
Court will grant SunTrust's motion and dismiss the case.
cryptically worded complaint, Whiting challenges the
foreclosure of her former home located at 5827 Barnes Drive
in Clinton, Maryland. See Compl. 1,  ECF No. 1-2.
Whiting seems to ground her foreclosure challenge in the
allegation that the Independent Foreclosure Review
“said that SunTrust Mortgage cause[d] Robo-signing and
Fraud” in the sale of her house. Id. To
support this allegation, Whiting attached a letter dated
August 8, 2016 that she received from a paying agent retained
by the Federal Reserve to administer payments to borrowers
who qualified for relief under the Federal Reserve's
Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement. See
id.The letter states that Whiting
qualified for payment under the Federal Reserve's plan to
redistribute remaining unclaimed Payment Agreement funds.
See Compl. 4. Along with the letter, Whiting also
received a check for $124.30. Id. Whiting seeks
“to have the foreclosure rescinded” and the
following monetary damages: $404, 000 for “equity in
the house”; $1 million for “stolen
property”; and $100 million “because I'm
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs
motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and it is
“presumed that a cause lies outside this limited
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). To survive a Rule
12(b)(1) motion, a plaintiff must establish the factual
predicates of jurisdiction by a preponderance of the
evidence. See Erby v. United States, 424 F.Supp.2d
180 (D.D.C. 2006) (citing Lujan v. Defs. of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992)). “When ruling
on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the court must treat the
complaint's factual allegations as true and afford the
plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived
from the facts alleged.” Jeong Seon Han v.
Lynch, 223 F.Supp.3d 95, 103 (D.D.C. 2016) (internal
quotations omitted). In this context, courts may also
“consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed
facts evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented
by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of
disputed facts.” Banneker Ventures, LLC v.
Graham, 798 F.3d 1119, 1129 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (internal
quotations omitted). If the Court finds that it lacks
jurisdiction, it must dismiss the claim or action.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), 12(h)(3).
Rooker-Feldman abstention doctrine “prevents
lower federal courts from hearing cases that amount to the
functional equivalent of an appeal from a state court.”
Gray v. Poole, 275 F.3d 1113, 1119 (D.C. Cir. 2002)
(citing D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S.
462, 482 (1983) and Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co.,
263 U.S. 413 (1923)). Only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction
to review final state-court judgments. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1257; Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 463
case “falls squarely within the confines of the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine.” See
Barnes-Duncan v. Liebner & Potkin, LLC, No. CV
17-02818 (ABJ), 2018 WL 6200975, at *3 (D.D.C. Nov. 28,
2018). First, Whiting was “a party to the underlying
state-court proceeding.” Lance, 546 U.S. at
464. Second, Whiting's claim against foreclosure is
“inextricably intertwined with the state-court
judgment.” Id. at 462. SunTrust has shown that
it pursued foreclosure proceedings in the Circuit Court for
Prince George's County, Maryland, and obtained a final
judgment on February 5, 2013. See Mot. to Dismiss,
Ex. A (case docket for Geesing v. Whiting, No.
CAE12-25259 (Cir. Ct. Prince George's Cnty. Feb. 5,
2013), ECF No. 5-2. Finally, this lawsuit was filed after
judgment was entered in the state-court action. See Exxon
Mobil, 544 U.S. at 284. The Maryland court entered an
Order of Judgment for Possession on June 17, 2013, which
Whiting did not appeal. Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. A at 2-3. In
other words, this is a case “brought by [a] state-court
loser complaining of injuries caused by [a] state-court
judgment rendered before the federal district court
proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and
rejection of those judgments.” See Exxon
Mobil, 544 U.S. at 281.
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to hear this case. See Gray, 275 F.3d
at 1119 (citations omitted). Even if Whiting's claim is
based on information discovered after the Maryland
court's judgment, this Court still lacks jurisdiction to
consider, much less vacate, a state court's judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). See Salazar
v. District of Columbia, 633 F.3d 1110 (D.C. Cir. 2011)
(“Rule 60(b)(6) relief is not a substitute for appeal .
. . .” (internal quotations omitted)); cf. United
States v. Choi, 818 F.Supp.2d 79, 85 (D.D.C. 2011) (a
district court “generally lacks appellate jurisdiction
over other judicial bodies, and [it] cannot exercise
appellate mandamus over other courts”). Therefore, this
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate
reasons stated above, SunTrust's motion to dismiss will
be granted. A separate order accompanies this Memorandum