United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS, GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND DISMISSING CASE WITH PREJUDICE
DAVID M. LAWSON, District Judge.
Plaintiff Lorraine Dexter filed a pro se complaint against the defendants seeking a "Declaratory Judgment... in the amount of One Million Dollars for Pain and Suffering and intentional inflicted emotional distress, " and a declaration that the plaintiff is the rightful title holder of property on Tireman Street in Redford, Michigan. The Court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub for pretrial management. Thereafter, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, to which the plaintiff responded with a paper styled as an "objection." Judge Majzoub filed a report on May 30, 2014 recommending that the motion be granted and the case dismissed. The plaintiff filed an objection to the report and recommendation, and the matter is presently before the Court.
The complaint is not a model of clarity or detail. The factual allegations are rather terse, and are quoted below in full:
1. The loan was closed by Chase Manhattan Mortgage on November 4, 2003.
2. The loan was declared in default on December 20, 2012.
3. An Insurance benefit was paid out on or about January 20, 2012.
4. Chase completed the foreclosure on February 28, 2013 against property address 22717 Tireman Redford, MI 48239.
Compl. at 2. Those allegations are followed by legal citations and "argument." The plaintiff makes reference to standing requirements, asserts that cases can be brought only in the name of the real party in interest (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 17), and cites a section of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1710, which deals with payment of claims under mortgage insurance policies. Generously read, it appears that the plaintiff is alleging that the house on Tireman was subject to a mortgage, there was a default in the payments, the mortgagee applied for and was paid mortgage insurance proceeds, and then the bank (Chase) foreclosed the mortgage. The plaintiff then prayed for the relief recited above.
Based on information contained in the exhibits and the defendants' motion papers, the magistrate judge pieced together the following picture. The plaintiff is actually not the one who obtained the loan and mortgage that the defendant foreclosed; it actually was obtained by nonparty Rosemary Carter, who died on January 14, 2010. The plaintiff appears to be Rosemary Carter's sister and lived with her at the now foreclosed property. The plaintiff is listed as the Informant on Ms. Carter's Certificate of Death, which was also filed as an exhibit to the defendants' motion to dismiss. After a payment default occurred, the bank foreclosed by publication and held a sale. That led to a sheriff's deed, which was recorded on March 8, 2013, and the redemption period ended on August 28, 2013.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on November 7, 2013, alleging that the plaintiff does not have standing, is not the real party in interest, and the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. After hearing from the plaintiff, Judge Majzoub recommended that the motion be granted. She suggested that the sparse factual allegations in the complaint could not support any recognized cause of action, and that the plaintiff never accused the named defendants of doing anything, let alone anything that would entitle the plaintiff to relief. She rejected the plaintiff's argument that the defendants lacked "standing" to file their motion to dismiss, explaining that standing is a concept involving the right to sue, not the right to defend. And she noted that the plaintiff here failed to establish her own standing to sue, because she did not allege any facts suggesting that she has an interest in the foreclosed property. Judge Majzoub observed that the plaintiff appeared to be asserting Ms. Carter's rights, not her own. Finally, the magistrate judge suggested that the complaint should be dismissed because the plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that she is the real party in interest and therefore failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(a).
The plaintiff did not file timely objections to the report and recommendations, and the Court adopted it and entered judgment. However, it appeared that the clerk failed to mail the plaintiff a copy of the magistrate judge's report. Therefore, the Court vacated the judgment and permitted the plaintiff to file her objections, which have now been received.
Objections to a report and recommendation are given fresh review. "A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the ...