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Crawford v. Green Tree Services LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Gainesville Division

March 31, 2015



RICHARD W. STORY, District Judge.

This case comes before the Court for a frivolity review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), and on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [6] and Plaintiff's Motions for Sanctions [10, 12]. After reviewing the record, the Court enters the following Order.


On January 3, 1997, Plaintiff Shirley Crawford obtained a loan from Defendant Green Tree Servicing LLC in the amount of $26, 136.00 secured by the manufactured home that Plaintiff purchased with the funds. (Compl. ¶¶ 61-63). Smetime around September 2013, Plaintiff ceased making payments on the loan, apparently ready to release the manufactured home to Defendants in satisfaction of the debt. (Compl. ¶¶ 40-43). Defendants Green Tree Servicing LLC and Green Tree's Managers and Supervisors ("Defendants") then began to contact Plaintiff for late payments. (Compl. ¶¶ 45-48). Eventually, Defendants filed a Petition for Writ of Possession, which Plaintiff received on September 4, 2014. (Compl. ¶¶ 23). After Plaintiff filed an answer, a hearing was held in the Superior Court of Franklin County on November 12, 2014, where the Defendant's Writ of Possession was granted in their favor. (Compl. ¶¶ 28). Plaintiff then brought this action.

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that around the time of the foreclosure she received two letters from Defendants that she claims fraudulently led her to believe that she would obtain a loan modification or otherwise avoid foreclosure. (Compl. ¶¶ 19-25). Plaintiff also alleges that she made payments on the loan over the past 17 years totaling $53, 000.00, of which $40, 000.00 was interest, but that Defendants contend she still owes $26, 000.00-almost the entire principal of the original loan. (Compl. ¶¶ 67). Using these figures as evidence, Plaintiff states that she was "deceived" into entering the loan agreement and that Defendants "did skew, conceal, [and] misstate, the actual amount of interest" to be paid out on the loan. (Compl. ¶¶ 64, 68).

Based on the foregoing allegations, Plaintiff brings the following claims: (1) violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"); (2) conspiracy to violate RICO; (3) fraud; and (4) violation of the Fair Lending Act.

Defendants now move for dismissal of all claims, and Plaintiff has filed two motions for sanctions in which she argues that Defendants failed to serve her the motion to dismiss, which she says she did not know about until she received a copy of the Court's December 18, 2014 Order staying pretrial deadlines.


First, the Court notes that Plaintiff is proceedings in forma pauperis in this matter. After Magistrate Judge Clay Fuller granted Plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the Complaint [4] was submitted to the undersigned for a frivolity review. Defendants then filed a Motion to Dismiss [6]. Plaintiff later filed two motions for sanctions [10, 12], arguing that Defendants failed to serve her a copy of the Motion to Dismiss [6]. But because the Court had not yet conducted a frivolity review of Plaintiff's claims, those motions were premature. And as explained below, because the Court finds that Plaintiff's Complaint [4] is due to be dismissed, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [6] and Plaintiff's motions for sanctions [10, 12] are DENIED as moot.

I. Frivolity Review Standard

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), "the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." A claim is frivolous when it appears from the face of the complaint that the factual allegations are "clearly baseless" or that the legal theories are "indisputably meritless." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Carrol v. Gross, 984 F.2d 393, 393 (11th Cir. 1993).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." While this pleading standard does not require "detailed factual allegations, " "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

Because Plaintiff is acting pro se, her "pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed." Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998). "This leniency, however, does not require or allow courts to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to ...

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