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Hopper v. Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

March 9, 2018

BRANDACE J. HOPPER, Executor, Plaintiff,
v.
MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., and QUICKEN LOANS INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Defendants', Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) and Quicken Loans Inc., Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 4), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 4) is GRANTED. Furthermore, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc. No. 13) and Motion for Sanctions (Doc. No. 12) are DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, initiated this action by filing a summons and complaint with the Clerk of Court for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on December 18, 2017. (Doc. No. 1, p. 1). The complaint purports to bring an action to quiet title, contesting the validity of a deed of trust and its subsequent assignment. (Doc. No. 1-2, p. 10). Defendants removed the case to this Court on January 19, 2018, and filed a joint Motion to Dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff's complaint on January 26, 2018. (Doc. No. 4). In recognition of the unique challenges facing pro se plaintiffs, the Court, sua sponte, issued a Roseboro Order directing Plaintiff to respond on or before February 16, 2018. (Doc. No. 11). Plaintiff timely responded and filed additional motions requesting sanctions and remand.

         Upon reviewing the exhibits and difficult-to-decipher Complaint, the Court gathers that Plaintiff seeks to use the court system to prevent foreclosure on a personal residence. Plaintiff requests an order voiding a deed of trust on Plaintiff's property and quieting title in Plaintiff's name. (Doc. No. 1-2, p. 10). On December 22, 2012, Plaintiff executed and delivered a note to Quicken Loans for $187, 218.00 secured by a deed of trust recorded on December 28, 2012 (the “Deed of Trust”). The Deed of Trust named MERS as the beneficiary, “solely as nominee for Lender . . . and Lender's successors and assigns.” (Doc. No. 1-4, p. 2). Subsequently, MERS, as nominee for Quicken Loans, assigned the Deed of Trust to Quicken Loans (“the Assignment”), who recorded it with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds on October 11, 2016. (Doc. No. 1-7, p. 4). Plaintiff alleges a “[v]oid and fraudulent deed of trust was created with the unlawful business entity unregistered Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.” and that “such an instrument creates a cloud by which someone or anyone may attempt to make an adverse claim to owner's title.” (Doc. No. 1-2, p. 8-9). Plaintiff concludes that the Deed of Trust is now “rescinded . . . by estoppel, res judicata, on the grounds of false representation, and fraud, ” and thus seeks an order from this Court “canceling the instrument in Book 31244, ASSIGNMENT OF MORTGAGE (Exhibit D-1), and the instrument in Book 27946, DEED OF TRUST (Exhibit D-2) as well as any other such instrument of which casts a cloud over [Plaintiff's] Title[.]” Id. at 8-10.

         Defendants' Motion to Dismiss asserts Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and accordingly should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). The Court agrees.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the “legal sufficiency of the complaint” but “does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992); Eastern Shore Markets, Inc. v. J.D. Assoc. Ltd. Partnership, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss will survive if it contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 697 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Robinson v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 551 F.3d 218, 222 (4th Cir. 2009). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. At 678. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. The Supreme Court has also opined that

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” In addition, when ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.

Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56) (internal citations omitted). Conclusory allegations are "not entitled to be assumed true." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681. Furthermore, "[i]n all averments of fraud or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity." Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). Rule 8(a) requires that a plaintiff's complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). While a high level of factual detail is not required, a complaint needs more than "an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants contend Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed for the following reasons: (1) the Complaint does not meet the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2); (2) Plaintiff lacks standing to challenge the Assignment of the Deed of Trust; and (3) Plaintiff's legal theories have no valid basis in North Carolina law. The Court addresses each of these arguments in turn.

         A. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         As stated above, pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 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.” While the Supreme Court has determined pro se complaints shall be reviewed liberally, nevertheless district courts may dismiss a complaint if it is evident that no set of facts exist which would entitle the plaintiff to relief. See Cornish v. Schaefer, 809 ...


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