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Brissey v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division

June 19, 2017

LIA BRISSEY, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the Court for review of Plaintiff's pro se Complaint and Motions to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. After review, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, (docs. 2, 5, 6). For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis status on appeal.


         Plaintiff filed her Complaint on March 6, 2017. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) The Court deferred ruling on Plaintiff's Motion and directed Plaintiff to file another Motion within fourteen (14) days of the Court's Order. (Doc. 4.) In response, Plaintiff filed two Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Docs. 5, 6.)

         In her Complaint, Plaintiff asserts she entered into a loan repayment and security agreement with Defendant Accredited Home Lenders in the amount of $247, 500.00 on September 26, 2006, for real property located in Jesup, Georgia, by virtue of a power of sale contained in a security deed from Plaintiff to Mortgage Registration System. (Doc. 1, p. 4.) Plaintiff contends this security deed was last “sold, assigned and transferred to” Defendant Deutsche Bank Trust Company as trustee for Morgan Stanley Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-1. (Id.) Plaintiff contends “the defendant” acted in “an unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent manner” during the loan origination process and “imposed unfair and abusive loan terms” on her. (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff contends Mortgage Registration System is a robo-signer with no firsthand knowledge of the contents of the assignment to Defendant Accredited Home Lenders. Plaintiff maintains Defendants Accredited Home Lenders and Deutsche Bank falsified information regarding Plaintiff's income in order to qualify Plaintiff for this loan, even though all of the financial records she submitted revealed the loan was too high for Plaintiff to pay. Plaintiff avers she has contacted Defendant Deutsche Bank over the past several years, but Defendant Deutsche Bank has “refused to help correct this fraudulent loan.” (Id. at p. 5.) Instead, Plaintiff contends Defendants Select Portfolio Servicing and Deutsche Bank have continued to assess payments, fees, interest, and penalties against her.

         Plaintiff also alleges Defendant Deutsche Bank's refusal to assist her is a violation of the Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”), the purpose of which is to assist homeowners, such as Plaintiff, who are in default on their mortgages and at risk of default to avoid foreclosure. Plaintiff also alleges Defendant Deutsche Bank has made no effort to mitigate against its losses resulting from her default. Accordingly, Plaintiff asserts Defendant Deutsche Bank should be enjoined from pursuing foreclosure or authorizing another entity to pursue foreclosure proceedings against her. (Id. at p. 6.) Plaintiff also requests that Defendant Deutsche Bank be enjoined from naming a substitute trustee. Plaintiff seeks summary judgment in her favor and damages in the amount of $400, 000.00 for the pain and suffering Defendant Deutsche Bank has caused her.


         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all of his assets and shows an inability to pay the filing fee and also includes a statement of the nature of the action which shows that he is entitled to redress. Even if the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the action if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii); Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 113 n.19 (3d Cir. 2002) (non-prisoner indigent plaintiffs are “clearly within the scope of § 1915(e)(2)”); Dutta-Roy v. Fain, No. 1:14-CV-280-TWT, 2014 WL 1795205, at *2 (N.D.Ga. May 5, 2014) (frivolity review of indigent non-prisoner plaintiff's complaint).

         When reviewing a Complaint on an application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court is guided by the instructions for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (“A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10 (requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs, each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a claim is frivolous under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).

         Section 1915 also “accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251 F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)). Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 F.App'x 675, 678 (11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         In its analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and, therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006) (“Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys.”) (emphasis omitted) (quoting Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However, Plaintiff's unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes regarding procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”).


         I. Whether Plaintiff can Pursue a Cause of Action Pursuant to HAMP

         Congress authorized HAMP as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, (“EESA”) see 12 U.S.C. § 5219a(a), which has the stated purpose of giving the Secretary of the Treasury the “authority and facilities” necessary “to restore liquidity and stability to the financial system of the United States[.]” 12 U.S.C. § 5201(1). The EESA “was not passed for the ‘especial benefit' of struggling homeowners, even though they may benefit from HAMP's incentives to loan servicers.” Miller v. Chase Home Fin., LLC, 677 F.3d 1113, 1116 (11th Cir. 2012). Under the EESA, the Secretary is charged with, inter alia, acting in a manner that “preserves homeownership and promotes jobs and economic growth[.]” 12 U.S.C. § 5201(2)(B). The Act provides for: oversight of the Secretary's actions by a “Financial Stability Oversight Board[;]” oversight of the Troubled Assets Relief Program[1] (“TARP”) by the Comptroller ...

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