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English v. Federal National Mortgage Association

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 26, 2013



CLAIRE C. CECCHI, District Judge.


This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Bank of America, N.A. and Federal National Mortgage Association's (collectively, "Defendants") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Marilynn English's ("Plaintiff') Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions from each party. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. R. 78(b), no oral argument was heard, [1] Based on the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted without prejudice. Plaintiff is granted thirty (30) days in which to file an Amended Complaint that cures the pleading deficiencies discussed below,


Plaintiff owns a residential property located at 97 Pease Avenue, Verona, New Jersey (the "Property"), (Compi. 2.[2]) On September 19, 1988, Plaintiff acquired the property. (Compi. 4.) On March 21, 2003, Plaintiff refinanced her mortgage loan with Countrywide, America's Wholesale Lender ("AWL"). (Compl. 4.) Plaintiff brings this suit to Quiet Title to her property. (Compi. 4.) Plaintiff alleges that the assignment of her mortgage is "null and void" because of the appearance of a robo-signer. (Compl. 14.)

On February 27, 2013, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Essex County. (Notice of Removal 2.) Defendants removed Plaintiff's Complaint to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1446 and 1441. (Notice of Removal 1.)

On April 8, 2013, Defendants Bank of America, N.A. and Federal National Mortgage Association filed this Motion. (Defs.' Mot.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff fails to state a claim for relief. (Defs.' Mot. 1.) On April 16, 2013, Plaintiff sent Defendants a Memorandum of Law in Support of Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, (Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Opp'n Mot.) On April 29, 2013, Defendants' filed a Reply Brief in Further Support of their Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. (Defs.' Reply Br.) Plaintiff has since filed three Supplemental Answers.


A. Defendants' Motion To Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12B)(6)

For a complaint to survive dismissal pursuant to Fed, R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), it "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " Ashcrofl v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (quoting Bell AtI. Cow. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Phillips v. City of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Furthermore, "[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement, " Igbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations omitted).

The burden of proof for showing that no claim has been stated is on the moving party. Hedges v. U.S. , 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc. , 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)). During a court's threshold review, "[t]he issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. , 311 F.3d 198, 215 (3d Cir. 2002). If a claim is dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiff may be granted leave to amend or reassert the claim. In re Burlington Coat Factory Litjg. , 114 F.3d 1410, 1434 (3d Cir. 1997).

B. Liberal Pleading Standard for Pro Se Litigants

A pro se litigant's complaint is held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Courts have a duty to construe pleadings liberally and apply the applicable law, irrespective of whether a pro se litigant has mentioned it by name. Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc. , 704 F.3d 239, 244 (3d Cir. 2013); Dluhos v. Strasberg , 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003); Higgins v. Beyer , 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d Cir. 2002). A pro se complaint "can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (citing Haines , 404 U.S. at 520-21); Bacon v. Minner , 229 F.App'x 96, 100 (3d Cir. 2007).


Plaintiff pleads eight Counts pursuant to her quiet title action. These are: (1) failure to state a claim to subject property, (2) identity of true creditor is unkno slander of title, (4) Quia Timet, (5) conspiracy to commit fraud, (6) use of robo-signer violates RICO and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (7) notary fraud, and (8) violation of U.C.C. §§ 501(b)(2) and 3-203(d). Additionally, Plaintiff claims New Jersey's quiet title statute was violated.

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts that can be construed as entitling Plaintiff to relief. (Defs.' Mot. 2.) Plaintiff argues that she has sufficiently plead her quiet title claim. (Compl. 16.)

A. Plaintiff Did Not Properly Plead a Quiet Title Action

Plaintiffs complaint alleges a quiet title action. In support of this claim, Plaintiff alleges that "the chain of title on her property is broken." (Compl. 16.) Plaintiff generally alleges that the assignment is fraudulent because of the appearance of a robo-signer and that she does not know the owner of her mortgage. (Compl.) ...

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