United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
LEVY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is a diversity action between plaintiff Nationstar
Mortgage, LLC (“Nationstar”) and defendants Debra
Nelson and Susan Schuyler, in their capacities as Personal
Representatives of the Estate of Eric R. Nelson
(collectively, the “Estate”). See ECF
No. 1 at 1. Nationstar has sued the Estate for breach of
promissory note and other claims arising out of the alleged
nonpayment of a mortgage and promissory note. See
id. at 6-15. The Estate has moved for summary judgment,
alleging that the claim preclusion doctrine of res
judicata bars Nationstar's complaint. ECF No. 50 at
8-14. Specifically, the Estate contends that it has
previously prevailed against Nationstar in a state court case
concerning the same mortgage and promissory note at issue
here. Id. at 9-12. For the reasons explained below,
I grant the Estate's motion.
to Nationstar, in 2007, Eric Nelson executed a mortgage and
accompanying $225, 000 promissory note (the
“Note”) on property Nelson owned located in
Biddeford with First Magnus Financial Corporation. ECF No. 1
at 3. The mortgage was subsequently assigned to Aurora Loan
Services, LLC (“Aurora”), and ultimately to
Nationstar. Id. at 4-5. Nelson died in 2008.
Id. at 4. Nationstar alleges that his Estate has
failed to make mortgage payments since December 1, 2008.
September 4, 2009, Nationstar's counsel, writing on
behalf of Aurora, sent a Notice of Mortgagor's Right to
Cure (the “Right to Cure Notice”) to the Estate,
informing it that the loan was “in default for failure
to make payments of principal and interest when due.”
ECF No. 51-7 at 57. The notice itemized all past due amounts,
stated that the total amount due in order to cure the
Estate's default was $18, 155.40, and further stated that
“[y]ou have the right to cure the default within 35
days of receipt of this notice[.]” Id. at 58.
The letter also stated that “[i]f the default is not
cured within this time-frame, Aurora Loan Services, LLC shall
exercise it[s] right to accelerate payment of this
November 2009, Aurora filed a complaint of foreclosure
against the Estate in the Biddeford District Court (the
“State Court Complaint”). ECF No. 51-1. The
complaint asserted that as of October 31, 2009, the amount
due to Aurora under the terms of the mortgage and note
included a principal balance of $221, 248.60 and accrued
interest of $16, 040.52, which, together with other fees and
charges owed, resulted in a total amount due of $246, 192.29.
Id. at 2-3.
requested that the court “[d]etermine that there has
been a breach of condition in the Plaintiff's mortgage
and promissory note[, ]” and “[d]etermine the
amount due on said mortgage and promissory note[.]”
Id. at 3. Following assignment of the mortgage to
Nationstar, Nationstar was substituted for Aurora as the
plaintiff. ECF No. 51-3. In addition, the complaint was
amended to add a second count to assert a claim of
reformation by mutual mistake. ECF No. 51-3 at 2.
was held in the Biddeford District Court in November 2013.
ECF No. 51 at 3, ¶ 10; ECF No. 54 at 2, ¶ 10.
Nationstar's sole witness was Brian White, a litigation
resolution analyst employed by Nationstar. ECF No. 51 at 3,
¶ 11; ECF No. 54 at 2, ¶ 11. Nationstar sought to
introduce the promissory note into evidence by having White
testify that the business records of First Magnus and Aurora
had been integrated and incorporated into Nationstar's
own business records. ECF No. 51-11 at 11. This attempt
failed when the court sustained the Estate's hearsay
objection on the basis that the testimony failed to establish
the business records exception to the rule against hearsay.
ECF No. 51-7 at 107-110. Nationstar also attempted to
introduce the mortgage into evidence via White's
testimony. ECF No. 51 at 3, ¶ 13; ECF No. 54 at 2,
¶ 13. Although the court initially overruled the
Estate's hearsay objection, ECF No. 51-7 at 113, it
ultimately sustained the objection and the mortgage was
withdrawn from evidence for failure to satisfy the business
records exception, id. at 121. At the conclusion of
White's testimony, Nationstar rested its
case. See ECF No. 51-7 at 152. The
Estate then moved for a directed judgment, id.,
which the court granted, id. at 161; see
also M.R. Civ. P. 50(d). The judgment stated in part:
“Judgment for the Defendants on the Plaintiff's
Complaint for foreclosure.” ECF No. 51-8 at 1.
appeal, the Maine Law Court affirmed the judgment in a
Memorandum of Decision issued in September 2014. ECF No.
51-14. The Memorandum of Decision, which is central to the
issue presented here, states, in relevant part:
[T]he trial court did not err in excluding some of
Nationstar's witness testimony and documents for failure
to demonstrate compliance with the business records exception
to the hearsay rule pursuant to M.R. Evid. 803(6). Further,
Nationstar did not demonstrate that it had standing to seek
foreclosure of the mortgage. The entry is: Judgment affirmed.
Id. (citations omitted).
filed suit in this court in November 2014. See ECF
No. 1 at 17. The complaint contains six counts - quiet title,
breach of note, breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust
enrichment, and reformation of mortgage. Id. at
6-15. Nationstar also seeks a writ of assistance pursuant to
the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651. Id. at
13-14. The Estate has moved for summary judgment contending
that Nationstar's claims are barred by the doctrine of
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56
judgment is appropriate only if “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Ahmed v.
Johnson, 752 F.3d 490, 495 (1st Cir. 2014). In making
that determination, a court must view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. Johnson v.
Univ. ofP.R., 714 F.3d 48, 52 (1st Cir. 2013).
“[A] judge's function at summary judgment is not to
weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter ...