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Edwards v. MTGLQ Investors L.P.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 5, 2018

SONJA EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
MTGLQ INVESTORS L.P., NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC, SUNTRUST MORTGAGE INC., MCCABE, WEISBERG, CONWAY P.C., RAS CITRON Defendants.

          OPINION

          Kevin McNulty, United States District Judge.

         Sonja Edwards, as borrower and property owner, brings this pro se action against mortgagees, MTGLQ Investors L.P. ("MTGLQ"), Nationstar Mortgage LLC ("Nationstar"), and SunTrust Mortgage Inc. ("SunTrust"). The attorneys for Nationstar-McCabe, Weisberg & Conway, P.C. and RAS Citron LCC-are named as defendants as well.[1] The action arises from a state court proceeding that resulted in a final judgment of foreclosure. Defendants MTGLQ and Suntrust move under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) to dismiss the complaint on Rooker-Feldman jurisdictional grounds, and in the alternative under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (ECF nos. 15, 23) Ms. Edwards asserts claims for improper foreclosure and to vacate the judgment of foreclosure. She also asserts claims for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, the Fair Credit Report Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, and common law fraud. For the reasons stated below, the motions to dismiss will be granted.

         I. Background

         a. Factual chronology and procedural history of the state foreclosure proceedings[2]

         The procedural history and key factual findings pertinent to the state foreclosure action are as follows:

1. Ms. Edwards purchased the property located at 98 South 12th Street, Newark, New Jersey 07107 ("the property") in 2006. She obtained a mortgage from SunTrust for $284, 000.00, which was secured by the property. The mortgage was recorded on May 31, 2006 in the Essex County Clerk's Office. (ECF 23-4, pp. 2-3)
2. SunTrust assigned the mortgage to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. on May 21, 2007, which subsequently assigned the mortgage to Nationstar on May 22, 2013. (ECF 23-4, p. 3)
3. On July 9, 2014, Nationstar filed a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Complaint with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County (the "state court") under Docket No. F-027945-14 (the "foreclosure action"), naming Ms. Edwards as a defendant. (ECF no. 15-2, pp. 2-7). McCabe, Weisberg & Conway, P.C. filed the complaint on behalf of Nationstar; at some point RAS Citron, LLC, took over the representation.
4. On June 23, 2016, the state court entered a final judgment of foreclosure and issued a Writ of Execution. (ECF no. 15-3, pp. 2-6).
5. On February 7, 2017, the Sheriff of Essex County sold the mortgaged property at a public auction.[3] Nationstar was the successful bidder and subsequently assigned its bid to MTGLQ. RAS Citron, LLC submitted the deed to the county register. (ECF no. 1-2, pp. 8-16, 20-22); (ECF 23-4, pp. 2-3)
6. On August 1, 2017, MTGLQ filed an ejectment action with the state court in relation to the property. (ECF no. 1-2, pp. 5-7)
7. On August 29, 2017, the state court issued a Writ of Possession, ordering any occupants of the property on the third floor to surrender possession to MTGLQ. (ECF no. 23-4, pp. 106-07)
8. On October 4, 2017, the state court issued another Writ of Possession, ordering any occupants of the property on the second floor to surrender possession to MTGLQ. (ECF no. 23-4, pp. 109-10)
9. On January 11, 2018, the state court in the foreclosure action issued orders staying eviction until February 7, 2018 and then April 1, 2018. (ECF no. 15-7)

         b. Allegations of the complaint

         On August 30, 2017, Ms. Edwards filed a complaint in federal court. (ECF no. I.)[4] The complaint asserts claims for improper foreclosure because the debt had been released and discharged; seeks to vacate the judgment of foreclosure; and claims that she moved to dismiss the foreclosure in March 2016 and did not receive notification of the February 2017 Sheriffs sale until December 25, 2016. She also asserts claims for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, the Fair Credit Report Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, and common law fraud.

         II. Standard on a motion to dismiss

         Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, citing the Rooker-Feldman doctrine (see infra). Rule 12(b)(1) governs jurisdictional challenges to a complaint. These may be either facial or factual attacks. See 2 Moore's Federal Practice § l2.3O[4] (3d ed. 2007); Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & LoanAss'n,549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). A facial challenge asserts that the complaint does not allege sufficient grounds to establish subject matter jurisdiction. Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC,800 F.3d 99, 105 (3d Cir. 2015); Jwanowa v. Ford Motor Co., 67 F.Supp.2d 424, 438 (D.N.J. 1999). A court considering such a facial challenge assumes that the allegations in the complaint are true, and may dismiss the complaint only if it nevertheless appears that the plaintiff will not be able to assert a colorable claim of subject matter jurisdiction. Iwanowa, 67 F.Supp.2d at ...


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