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Mullins v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

March 30, 2017

KOBI J. MULLINS, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on DEFENDANT WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (ECF No. 3), the MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT filed by the plaintiff (ECF No. 5), DEFENDANT WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.'S MOTION TO DEEM THE PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED (ECF No. 7), and DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIDAVIT OF FACT (ECF No. 13). For the reasons set forth below, the DEFENDANT WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. 'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (ECF No. 3) will be granted; the MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 5) will be denied; DEFENDANT WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. 'S MOTION TO DEEM THE PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED (ECF No. 7) will be denied as moot; and DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIDAVIT OF FACT (ECF No. 13) will be granted.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff, Kobi J. Mullins, filed a document entitled "Quiet Title Compliant" [sic] (ECF No. 1-4, pp. 13-15) in the Circuit Court of Chesterfield County to which was attached a document entitled "AFFIDAVIT OF FACT" (ECF No. 1-4, pp. 14-17). Together those documents will be referred to as the "Quiet Title Complaint." The action arises out of a promissory note as to which Mullins is in default and a foreclosure on the mortgaged property. Mullins attached to the Quiet Title Complaint over 100 pages of documents, a few of which pertain to the loan and most of which are nonsensical, concocted by Mullins (such as "Demands for Validation of Subscribed Oath of Office" and similarly irrelevant documents) of no legal import.

         The Quiet Title Complaint names as defendants: (1) Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"), the holder of the promissory note; (2) Samuel I. White, PC ("SIWPC"), the trustee on the Deed of Trust; (3) the law firm of Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddard & Morecock (the "Shuttleworth Firm"), as to whom no allegations are made in the Quiet Title Complaint[1]; and (4) Fidelity National Title Insurance Company ("Fidelity"), which has not been served and as to which no allegation is made in the Quiet Title Complaint.

         The allegations of the Quiet Title Complaint are conclusory, garbled, and nonsensical. Like many pro se complaints, these statements use flowery and meaningless phrases apparently thought by Mullins to have some legal import, but which, in reality, serve to obscure whatever claims are being made.

         Nonetheless, the defendants have sought to determine what they think this matter is about (to the extent that can be discerned). To some extent, the defendants have presented contextual information based on their dealings with Mullins through the course of a lengthy history of substantial defaults on his loan payments.

         As the defendants set it, Mullins seeks to quiet title to the mortgaged property by attacking the validity of a foreclosure sale that Wells Fargo and SIWPC initiated. In particular, Mullins seems to claim superior right to the mortgaged property under three theories: (1) that Wells Fargo "split" the promissory note from the Deed of Trust, thereby rendering the Deed of Trust null and void; (2) that there are defects in the securitization of the note that relieve Mullins of the obligation to repay his loan; and (3) the so-called "show me the note" theory, arguing that the inability of Wells Fargo to produce the original note relieves Mullins of the obligation to pay it.

         Mullins seems to agree that the defendants have accurately set out the bases for his "quiet title" claim. Hence, the Court will consider that to be the case.

         Also, the Quiet Title Complaint vaguely mentions a "fraudulent scheme" (Quiet Title Compl. ¶ 3) and alludes to "false representations" (Quiet Title Compl., Aff. of Fact ¶ 9). However, it is not possible to discern from the pleadings either the nature of the "fraudulent scheme" or the substance of the "false representations."

         Finally, the Quiet Title Complaint alleges, in conclusory language, that Wells Fargo and SIWPC violated several federal statutes, namely the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692(e), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 12 U.S.C. § 5533, the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, and the Uniform Commercial Code §§ 9-203(b) and 9-210. The Quiet Title Complaint is devoid of any factual allegations regarding how those federal statutes were violated.

         On September 2, 2016, Mullins filed an Amended Petition To Quiet Title To Realty (the "Amended Petition") (ECF No. 8-2, pp. 2-3) in which he proposed to add "Fannie Mae" as a defendant. The Amended Petition, however, makes no allegation that Fannie Mae acted either wrongfully or unlawfully. In fact, the Amended Petition makes no factual allegation about Fannie Mae's conduct except to state that "Fannie May claims ownership of my land and real estate." (ECF No. 8-2, p. 2). Nothing in the record shows that Fannie Mae has been served.

         This action was timely removed to this Court on October 14, 2016 (ECF No. 1).

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On February 1, 2008, Mullins entered into a loan agreement with Wells Fargo for the property located at 5346 Meadoway Road, Chesterfield, Virginia (the "Property"). (Quiet Title Compl. ¶ 3, Ex. A; Aff. of Fact ¶¶ 2-5) . The loan is evidenced by a promissory note (the "Note") in the amount of $285, 150.00. The Note is secured by a Deed of Trust. The Note, the Deed of Trust, and the accompanying documents collectively are referred to as the "Loan Documents" . (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. A, Ex. B) .[2] SIWPC, on behalf of Wells Fargo, is the trustee on the Deed of Trust.

         According to Mullins, he made mortgage payments to Wells Fargo from April 1, 2008 through April 2016. (Quiet Title Compl., Aff. of Fact ¶ 6) . It appears that Wells Fargo scheduled a foreclosure sale, but the Quiet Title Complaint makes no mention of Mull ins defaulting on his loan. See (Quiet Title Compl. ¶ 3). Nonetheless, it can be inferred that Mullins went into default by not making payments required by the Loan Documents and that Wells Fargo scheduled a foreclosure sale on the Property. That inference is supported by all the other briefing papers. This litigation, an apparent effort to forestall the foreclosure, ensued.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         In all civil cases, pro se or otherwise, a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) challenges the legal sufficiency of a Complaint. Jordan v. Alternative Resources Corp., 458 F.3d 332, 338 (4th Cir. 2006). Courts should assume the veracity of all well-pleaded allegations in the Complaint, and should deny a motion to dismiss where those well-pleaded allegations state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). A claim is "plausible" when the plaintiff pleads facts sufficient to allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) . The court should grant a motion to dismiss, however, where the allegations are nothing more than legal conclusions, or where they permit a court to infer no more than a possibility of misconduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.

         Although courts must typically construe a pro se plaintiff's pleadings liberally, see Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), a court is not required to accept a pro se plaintiff's legal conclusions that are presented as factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor should accept, as facts, "unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. T.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2) provides that "a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. Courts should freely give leave when justice so requires." "Leave to amend a pleading should be denied only when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing party, there has been bad faith on the part of the moving party, or the amendment would have been futile." Djenasevic v. Dep't of Justice, No. 16-6085, 2016 WL 4120669, at *1 (4th Cir. Aug. ...


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