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English v. Federal National Mortgage Association

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 21, 2017



          CLAIRE C. CECCHI, U.S.D.J.


         This matter comes before the Court by way of Defendants Bank of America N.A. ("BANA") and Federal National Mortgage Association's ("Fannie Mae") motion to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint of pro se plaintiff Marilynn English ("Plaintiff"), ECF No. 43, and Defendant Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation's ("Freddie Mac" and together with BANA and Fannie Mae, "Defendants") motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint, ECF No. 44. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b), no oral argument was heard. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motions are granted.


         The following facts are accepted as true for the purposes of the instant motion. In 1988, Plaintiff purchased a residential property in Verona, New Jersey. Third Amended Complaint ("Compl." or "Third Amended Complaint"), ECF No. 39, at 2. In 2002, Plaintiff obtained a mortgage from America's Wholesale Lender, a division of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Countrywide"). Id. Freddie Mac was an investor in that loan. Id. In March 2003, Plaintiff refinanced her mortgage and obtained a loan from Countrywide, which paid off Plaintiffs 2002 loan. Id. This 2003 loan is the subject of the instant dispute.[1] Id.

         In exchange for the 2003 loan, Plaintiff executed a note for the benefit of America's Wholesale Lender (the "Note"). Compl. at Ex. 16.[2] The Note was secured by a mortgage (the "Mortgage") held by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"), as nominee for Countrywide and its successors and assigns. ECF No. 43 at Ex. 2. In 2011, MERS assigned the Mortgage to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP ("BAC"). Compl. at Ex. 9. BAC subsequently merged with BANA, and BANA is the current holder of the Mortgage and servicer of the loan. Id. at Ex. 13. As of 2012, Fannie Mae was the owner of the Note. Id. at 2.

         On February 27, 2013, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Essex County. ECF No. 1. On April 1, 2013, Defendants removed Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint to this Court. Id. On November 26, 2013, this Court granted BANA and Fannie Mae's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint without prejudice pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (the "2013 Opinion"). ECF No. 24. On May 29, 2014, this Court granted Freddie Mac's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint without prejudice (the "2014 Opinion"). ECF No. 37. On June 12, 2014, Plaintiff filed her Third Amended Complaint.

         ECF No. 39. Defendants moved to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint on July 17 and 18, 2014. ECF Nos. 43, 44. Plaintiff opposed the motions.[3] ECF Nos. 47, 48. On December 23, 2015, this Court ordered supplemental briefing on Plaintiffs fraud allegations. ECF No. 70.

         The Third Amended Complaint alleges claims for declaratory relief, fraud, and quiet title to Plaintiffs property based upon "fraud perpetrated by the Defendants" regarding the Mortgage and the Note and an invalid assignment. See Compl. at 3.


         A. Dismissal Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6)

         For a complaint to survive dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), it "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, 663 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twomblv. 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." Twomblv. 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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations omitted).

         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). 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 ...

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