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Maines v. Guillot

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division

June 16, 2016

MARSHA LAMBERT MAINES, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD J. GUILLOT, JR., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. GLEN E. CONRAD CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Marsha Lambert Maines, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against Ronald J. Guillot, Jr.; Kimberly E. Hartin; Johnie R. Muncy; American Mortgage Investment Partners ("AMIP"); and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"). Guillot, Muncy, AMIP, and MERS have moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, the motions will be granted and the complaint will be dismissed as to all defendants.[1]

         Background

         The following facts are either set forth in the complaint, supported by documents referenced or relied upon in the complaint, or are matters of public record of which the court is permitted to take judicial notice. See Phillips v. Pitt County Mem. Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009) ("In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, we may properly take judicial notice of matters of public record. We may also consider documents attached to the complaint, as well as those attached to the motion to dismiss, so long as they are integral to the complaint and authentic") (internal citations omitted).

         On September 12, 2005, the plaintiff obtained a loan from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Countrywide") for property located at 102 Dinwiddie Court in Stephens City, Virginia. The loan was secured by a deed of trust on the property in favor of MERS as beneficiary and nominee for Countrywide. In 2010, MERS assigned the deed of trust to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP. The deed of trust was later assigned to Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, D/B/A Christina Trust as Trustee of the Residential Credit Opportunities Trust ("Wilmington").

         On May 6, 2015, the plaintiff filed a voluntary Chapter 13 petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia. On July 24, 2015, the bankruptcy case was converted to one under Chapter 7. Thereafter, Wilmington filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay imposed by 11 U.S.C. § 362. On October 13, 2015, the bankruptcy court entered an order granting Wilmington's motion and permitting "Wilmington and its successors and assigns to proceed under state law as it pertains to the real property located at 102 Dinwiddie Court, Stephens City, VA 22655-5901." In re Maines. No. 15-60865 (Bankr. W.D. Va. Oct. 13, 2015). The plaintiff moved to stay the bankruptcy court's order pending appeal to this court.[2] The bankruptcy court denied the plaintiffs motion, and the subject property was sold at a foreclosure sale on November 24, 2015.

         On February 1, 2016, the plaintiff filed the instant action against Guillot, Hartin, Muncy, AMIP, and MERS. According to the complaint, Guillot, Hartin, and Muncy are attorneys employed by the law firm of Samuel I. White, P.C., which served in the capacity as substitute trustee for the foreclosure proceedings. The defendants indicate that AMIP is the servicing agent for the underlying loan.

         While the plaintiffs allegations are difficult to follow, she appears to assert the following claims in the instant action: (1) that the defendants unlawfully foreclosed on the property after receiving notice of her intent to rescind the loan pursuant to the Truth in Lending Act; (2) that the defendants violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act; (3) that the defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; and (4) that the defendants engaged in identity theft. The plaintiff seeks to recover statutory damages, actual damages, and attorney's fees and litigation costs.

         Guillot, Muncy, AMIP, and MERS have moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court notified the plaintiff of the defendants' motions as required by Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975). The motions are now ripe for decision.

         Standard of Review

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to move for dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff must establish "facial plausibility" by pleading "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). "At bottom, a plaintiff must 'nudge [her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible' to resist dismissal." Wag More Dogs. LLC v. Cozart. 680 F.3d 359, 364-65 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). While a pro se litigant's pleadings are liberally construed, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), a pro se complaint must still contain sufficient facts "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level" and "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly. 550 U.S. at 555, 570.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which applies to cases filed iri forma pauperis, the court must dismiss a case "at any time" if the court determines that the complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The standards for reviewing a complaint for dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) are the same as those which apply when a defendant moves for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6). De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003).

         Discussion

         I. Truth ...


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