United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division
JAMES A. HEGEDUS, et ah Plaintiffs,
NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC, Defendant.
Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge
James and Virginia Hegedus ('Plaintiffs" or
"the Hegeduses"), appearing pro se,
brought this action against Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC
(Defendant" or "Nationstar"), alleging
misconduct related to Nationstar's servicing of a
mortgage and the subsequent foreclosure on a residence
previously owned by Plaintiffs in Sussex County, Delaware.
Nationstar filed the present Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim on April 4, 2018. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B), the court referred both motions to United
States Magistrate Judge Joel C. Hoppe for a report and
recommendation. After hearing oral argument from the parties
on June 26, 2018, the magistrate judge recommended granting
Nationstar's motion in full. The Hegeduses filed
objections to the report and recommendation on October 29,
reasons stated below, the court will
OVERRULE the Hegeduses' objections,
ADOPT the report and recommendation to the
extent consistent with this opinion, and
GRANT Nationstar's motion to dismiss.
72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party
to "serve and file specific, written objections" to
a magistrate judge's proposed findings and
recommendations within fourteen days of being served with a
copy of the report. See also 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). The Fourth Circuit has held that an objecting
party must do so "with sufficient specificity so as
reasonably to alert the district court of die true ground for
the objection." United States v. Midgette. 478
F.3d 616, 622 (4th Or. 2007), cert denied. 127 S.Ct.
To conclude otherwise would defeat the purpose of requiring
objections. We would be permitting a party to appeal any
issue that was before the magistrate judge, regardless of the
nature and scope of objections made to the magistrate
judge's report. Either the district court would then have
to review every issue in the magistrate judge's proposed
findings and recommendations or courts of appeals would be
required to review issues that the district court never
considered. In either case, judicial resources would be
wasted and the district court's effectiveness based on
help from magistrate judges would be undermined.
Id. The district court must determine de
novo any portion of the magistrate judge's
report and recommendation to which a proper objection has
been made. "The district court may accept, reject, or
modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence;
or return the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). "General objections that merely
reiterate arguments presented to the magistrate judge lack
the specificity required under Rule 72, and have the same
effect as a failure to object, or as a waiver of such
objection." Moon v. BWX Techs.. Inc., 742
F.Supp.2d 827, 829 (W.D. Va. 2010) (citing Veney v.
Astrue. 539 F.Supp.2d 841, 845 (W.D. Va. 2008)), affd,
498 Fed.Appx. 268 (4th Cir. 2012); see also Thomas v.
Am. 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985(3)) ("[I]he statute
does not require the judge to review an issue de
novo if no objections are filed.").
objections that only repeat arguments raised before the
magistrate judge are considered general objections to the
entirety of the report and recommendation. See
Veney, 539 F.Supp.2d at 845. As the court noted in
Allowing a litigant to obtain de novo review of her
entire case by merely reformatting an earlier brief as an
objection "mak[es] the initial reference to the
magistrate useless. The functions of the district court are
effectively duplicated as both the magistrate and the
district court perform identical tasks. This duplication of
time and effort wastes judicial resources rather than saving
them, and runs contrary to the purposes of the Magistrates
Act." Howard [v. Sec'y of Health &
Human Servs.], 932 F.2d , 509 [(6th Cir. 1991)].
539 F.Supp.2d at 846. A plaintiff who reiterates his
previously raised arguments will not be given "the
second bite at the apple he seeks." Id.
Instead, his re-filed brief will be treated as a general
objection, which has the same effect as a failure to object.
Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs'
Amended Pleading argues that the Delaware Court's ruling
precludes the Hegeduses' claims on both res judicata
(claim preclusion) and collateral estoppel (issue preclusion)
grounds. The Hegeduses' amended complaint
alleges that Nationstar breached its contractual and good
faith obligations by failing to apply their payments to the
loan interest and principal pursuant to the terms of the
agreement. Their original complaint included a claim
for conversion, arising from similar facts, which survived
Nationstar's first motion to dismiss. Nationstar brings
the pending motion to dismiss both claims under 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 a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiff must
plead sufficient facts "to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level" and "state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Bell Ad. Corp. v.
Twombly. 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). A plaintiff
establishes "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). In ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, the
court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the
complaint as true and draw all reasonable factual inferences
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Ibarra v.
United States. 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997).
However, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see