United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Virginia.
MICHAEL D. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
SAMUEL I. WHITE, P.C., et al., Defendants.
ROBERT E. PAYNE, Senior District Judge
The matter is before the Court on: (1) MOTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF (Docket No. 5) filed by Michael D. Davis; (2) MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT (Docket No. 13) filed by Samuel I. White, P.C., MOTION TO DISMISS (Docket No. 16) filed by OneWest Bank, F.S.B. and Federal National Mortgage, RONALD J. GUILLOT, JR.'S MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT (Docket No. 25), DEFENDANT AMY MILLER'S MOTION TO DISMISS PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1) AND (6) (Docket No. 29), and ERIC WHITE'S MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT (Docket No. 45); (3) MOTION FOR EXPEDITED DISCOVERY AND NOTICE OF DEFENDANTS' FAILURE TO RESPOND TO MOTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF (Docket No. 20) filed by Michael D. Davis; (4) MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 48) filed by Michael D. Davis, MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST RONALD GUILLOT AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 50) filed by Michael D. Davis, MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST SAMUEL I. WHITE, PC AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 51) filed by Michael D. Davis, MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST ONEWEST BANK AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 58) filed by Michael D. Davis, MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST ERIC WHITE AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 59) filed by Michael D. Davis, MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST AMY MILLER AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 49) filed by Michael D. Davis, and MOTION TO WITHDRAW THE MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST AMY MILLER AS PER RULE 37 (Docket No. 62) filed by Michael D. Davis; and (5) MOTION TO CORRECT (Docket No. 56) filed by Michael D. Davis.
As a preliminary matter, the Court will begin its analysis with the defendants' motions to dismiss, because the plaintiff fails to state any actionable claims and many claims are barred on jurisdictional grounds. As a result, the Court need not reach a decision on the other matters.
The dispute before the Court dates back to 2007 when Michael D. Davis obtained a construction loan from IndyMac Bank, FSB ("IndyMac") to construct a home in Columbia, Virginia. In July 2008, the Office of Thrift Supervision closed IndyMac. All of IndyMac's assets were transferred to IndyMac Federal Bank, FSB, and then all of the deposits of IndyMac Federal Bank were transferred to OneWest Bank, F.S.B. ("OneWest"). Davis v. OneWest Bank, F.S.B., No. 3:09cv699, 2010 WL 538760, at *1 (E.D. Va. Feb. 12, 2010).
At some point, Davis made late payments on the loan and OneWest demanded payment. In 2009, Davis filed an action in the Circuit Court for Goochland County against OneWest and the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") seeking to quiet title among other claims. The defendants in that case removed the action to this Court. In an opinion authored by Judge Hudson, the Court dismissed each of the claims: "For all of the foregoing reasons, the Complaint neither states a viable claim against any of the Defendants nor a legal basis to invalidate the Note or Deed of Trust." OneWest Bank, 2010 WL 538760, at *4. Davis did not appeal that adverse decision.
Instead, Davis filed a second action in the Circuit Court of Goochland County on February 25, 2010, which was styled as a "Request for Order to Compel Production of Documents." Complaint, Davis v. OneWest, FSB, No. CL10-24 (Va. Cir. Ct. Feb. 25, 2010) (Goochland County). As he had in the first action that was removed to federal court, Davis again asserted that the note was invalid and that OneWest was not entitled to enforce it. In addition, Davis vaguely alluded to misconduct by OneWest's representatives. The Circuit Court for Goochland County heard oral argument and issued an order dismissing the claims on June 10, 2010. Davis v. OneWest, FSB, No. CL10-24 (Va. Cir. Ct. June 22, 2010) (Goochland County). The court denied Davis' motion to amend his complaint.
On July 30, 2012, the Columbia property was sold at a foreclosure sale, and Fannie Mae obtained the title to the property. (Compl. Ex. E.) On October 5, 2012, Fannie Mae initiated an unlawful detainer action against Davis in the General District Court for Goochland County, Virginia. See Fed. Nat'l Mortg. Ass'n v. Davis, No. 3:12cv781, 2013 WL 4061644, at *1 (E.D. Va. Aug. 9, 2013) (Payne, J.). That action briefly came before this Court after Davis filed a Notice of Removal and filed numerous counterclaims alleging violations of the Truth in Lending Act and numerous state law claims. However, the Court found that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the Davis' claims and granted Fannie Mae's motion to remand. Id. at *1, *10.
Subsequently, on November 25, 2013, the General District Court for Goochland County awarded Fannie Mae possession of the property and ordered the Davises to vacate it by January 31, 2014. On the same day, Davis filed this action alleging thirteen claims against the defendants. Davis avers in his Complaint that eleven of the thirteen claims "identical to those argued upon in 3:12cv781.... [T]hey were left in their original position as to remove any misconception that these are new issues which need to be re-argued." (Compl. ¶ 18.) The two new claims allege: (1) that Amy E. Miller, who represented OneWest and FannieMae in the previous lawsuits, engaged in "attorney misconduct" and (2) a "federal question" involving "bad faith legal practices." (Compl. ¶¶ 47-62, 151-74.)
1. Standard of Review
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 provides that "a pleading that states a claim for relief must contain... a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A court must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
To overcome a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff's complaint "must provide enough facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Robinson v. Am. Honda Motor Co. , 551 F.3d 218, 222 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "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) (citing Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556). Although a court assumes that the facts alleged in a complaint are true, a court need not consider unsupported legal conclusions or legal conclusions "couched as a factual allegation." Id. at 678. As the Fourth Circuit has explained, "naked assertions of wrongdoing necessitate some factual enhancement within the complaint to cross the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Francis v. Giacomelli , 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009).
A pleading must also contain "a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1). "A federal court's entertaining a case that is not within its subject matter jurisdiction is no mere technical violation; it is nothing less than an unconstitutional usurpation of state judicial power." 13 Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Edward H. Cooper et al., Federal Practice & Procedure, Jurisdiction § 3522 (3d ed.). The party seeking to adjudicate in federal court has the burden of establishing that the federal court possesses jurisdiction over the matter. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. , 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
Finally, the Court remains mindful that "a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers...." Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
2. Claim Preclusion
As our sister district has noted, this is not the first time an individual "has attempted to use multiple causes of action to delay foreclosure." Canterbury v. J.P. Morgan Acquisition Corp. , 958 F.Supp.2d 637, 647 (W.D. Va. 2013). Nor will it be the last. But, when a court has issued a final judgment in one of the actions, then "courts have applied res judicata to bar parallel and subsequent litigation." Id.
The doctrine of res judicata precludes subsequent litigation on the matters actually and necessary resolved in a previous adjudication. Orca Yachts, LLC v. Mollicam, Inc. , 287 F.3d 316, 318 (4th Cir. 2002). The doctrine encompasses two conceptual branches: (1) claim preclusion and (2) issue preclusion. Id . "Claim preclusion generally refers to the effect of a prior judgment in foreclosing successive litigation of the very same claim, whether or not relitigation of the claim raises the same issues as the earlier suit." New Hampshire v. Maine , 532 U.S. 742, 748 (2001). On the other hand, "[i]ssue preclusion generally refers to the effect of a prior judgment in foreclosing successive litigation of an issue of fact or law actually litigated and resolved in a valid court determination." Id. at 748-79.
Claim preclusion may bar "litigation of matters that have never been litigated or decided." 18 Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Edward H. Cooper et al., Federal Practice & Procedure, Jurisdiction § 4406 (2d ed.). As the Fourth Circuit has explained, claim preclusion provides that, "if the later litigation arises from the same cause of action as the first, then the judgment bars litigation not only of every matter actually adjudicated in the earlier case, but also of every claim that might have been presented." In re Varat Enter., Inc. , 81 F.3d 1310, 1315 (4th Cir. 1996); Martin-Bangura v. Va. Dep't of Mental Health , 640 F.Supp.2d 729, 738 (E.D. Va. 2009); see Taylor v. Sturgell , 553 U.S. 880, 892 n.5 (2008) (noting that "[c]laim preclusion describes the rules formerly known as merger' and bar'"). "[F]ederal courts generally have also ...