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English v. BAC Home Loans Servicing LP

United States District Court, D. Maine

January 29, 2016



JOHN H. RICH, III, Magistrate Judge.

The defendant moves to dismiss this action in which the pro se plaintiff, Marilynn English, asserts various claims arising out of a loan and mortgage on real property located in Milbridge, Maine. I recommend that the court grant the motion.

I. Applicable Legal Standard

The Supreme Court has stated:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations and internal punctuation omitted). This standard requires the pleading of "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

In ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court assumes the truth of all of the well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Román-Oliveras v. Puerto Rico Elec. Power Auth., 655 F.3d 43, 45 (1st Cir. 2011). Ordinarily, in weighing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, "a court may not consider any documents that are outside of the complaint, or not expressly incorporated therein, unless the motion is converted into one for summary judgment." Alternative Energy, Inc. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 267 F.3d 30, 33 (1st Cir. 2001). "There is, however, a narrow exception for documents the authenticity of which are not disputed by the parties; for official public records; for documents central to plaintiffs' claim; or for documents sufficiently referred to in the complaint." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, " Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of "conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant legal standard[, ]" Young v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs "is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim").

II. Factual Background

The complaint sets forth the following relevant factual allegations.[1] The plaintiff, a resident of New Jersey, purchased a second home in Milbridge, Maine, on April 22, 2003. Plaintiff's Initial Complaint ("Complaint") ECF No. 1) ¶¶ 1 & [6]. She financed the purchase with a 15-year mortgage in the amount of $76, 000.00 from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. Id. ¶¶ [6] & [7]. In 2012, the defendant informed the plaintiff that the owner of the loan at that time was the Bank of New York Mellon. Id. ¶ 7. She then obtained a copy of the assignment of the loan from the Washington County Registry of Deeds. Id.

On June 18, 2012, the plaintiff "filed" a "Notice of Default" that stated that failure to respond to the notice would render the loan null and void. Id. ¶ [8]. Neither the defendant nor Bank of New York Mellen responded to the notice. Id. The plaintiff then filed an action in the Maine Superior Court (Washington County) alleging fraudulent conveyance and seeking to quiet title to the subject property. Id. The defendants unsuccessfully attempted to remove that action to federal court. Id. ¶ [10].

At some point, the plaintiff paid the loan in full, and the state-court case was dismissed. Id. ¶ [11]. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal, which was affirmed by the Law Court. Id. The complaint in this action was filed on August 24, 2015. ECF No. 1.

III. Discussion

The defendant[2] argues that this action is barred by, inter alia, the doctrine of res judicata. Bank of America, N.A.'s Motion to Dismiss ("Motion") (ECF No. 7) at 5-8. That doctrine prevents the relitigation of issues that were or could have been dealt with in an earlier litigation. Isaac v. Schwartz, 706 F.2d 15, 16 (1st Cir. 1983). "Federal courts ...

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