Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

White v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 17, 2017

JESSE WHITE & KIMBERLY WHITE, Plaintiffs,
v.
MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant.

         OPINION & ORDER (1) ACCEPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 REPORT & RECOMMENDATION (DKT. 15); (2) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. 9); (3) DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ORAL ARGUMENT (DKT. 17); (4) DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE; AND (5) ENJOINING PLAINTIFFS FROM FILING FURTHER COMPLAINTS WITHOUT FIRST SEEKING AND OBTAINING LEAVE OF COURT BY THE PRESIDING JUDGE AS DESCRIBED IN PART II

          MARK A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge.

         This is a mortgage foreclosure case. The facts and procedural history of this case are adequately summarized in the Magistrate Judge's September 9, 2016 Report & Recommendation (“R&R”) and need not be repeated here in full. Plaintiffs Jesse and Kimberly White were mortgagors, and Defendant Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) was the lender's nominee. See 9/9/2016 R&R at 2 (Dkt. 15). The Whites defaulted on their mortgage, and a sheriff's sale was held in 2004. Id. MERS was the winning bidder at that sale and received a judgment of possession. Id. At that point, the Whites began filing lawsuits - nine in total, including this one - that generally sought to set aside the foreclosure. See MERS Mot. At 4-7 (listing lawsuits) (Dkt. 9).[1]

         I. MERS's Motion for Summary Judgment

         The Whites' instant lawsuit claims that MERS violated 12 U.S.C. § 3757(3)(B) and Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.3204(c) by unlawfully seizing the property and thereby violating their rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. See Compl. at 1-2 (cm/ecf page) (Dkt. 1). Specifically, they assert that MERS did not have the right to foreclose on their property as a mere servicing agent, i.e., when it was not the lender. They further argue that MERS is a state actor capable of violating their rights under the Constitution because it filed documents with the state and seized property.

         MERS filed a motion for summary judgment on May 27, 2016 (Dkt. 9). Magistrate Judge Patti recommended that the motion be granted, because the Whites' claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, see Rooker v. Fid. Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923), and D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983).[2] The R&R accurately describes the legal background of the doctrine:

The Rooker-Feldman doctrine provides that inferior federal courts lack jurisdiction to review the final judgments of state courts. Hutcherson, 326 F.3d at 755. It applies in cases “brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005). The Sixth Circuit has explained the application of Rooker-Feldman as follows:
The inquiry then is the source of the injury the plaintiff alleges in the federal complaint. If the source of the injury is the state court decision, then the Rooker-Feldman doctrine would prevent the district court from asserting jurisdiction. If there is some other source of injury, such as a third party's actions, then the plaintiff asserts an independent claim.
McCormick v. Braverman, 451 F.3d 382, 393 (6th Cir. 2006). Federal jurisdiction is proper, therefore, “if a federal plaintiff presents an independent claim, ‘albeit one that denies a legal conclusion that a state court has reached in a case to which he was a party.”' Brown v. First Nationwide Mortgage Corp., 206 F. App'x 436, 439 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 293). An example of such an independent claim is one where “there is some other source of injury, such as a third party's actions . . . .” Id.

         R&R at 5-6. The R&R, cognizant of the Whites' assertion “that the source of their injury is not the state court foreclosure decision against them, ” id. at 6 (emphasis in original), nevertheless concluded that the instant action was, in fact, an attack on that state court judgment of possession. The Whites' complaint stated that they “would not have accepted the mortgage had they been told foreclosure could occur outside legislation with a hybrid foreclosure or be prepared by a party that cannot defend the facts contained in its paperwork in a court of law, ” see Compl. at 4 (cm/ecf page) (Dkt. 1), and the R&R interpreted this as an indication that the source of the Whites' alleged injury remains the state court judgment, see R&R at 7.[3]

         The Whites objected to the R&R, but their objections were not timely, having been filed 18 days after the issuance of the R&R. This fact constitutes a waiver of the right to further judicial review and permits this Court to accept the recommendation contained in the R&R and grant MERS's motion. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985) (“It does not appear that Congress intended to require district court review of a magistrate's factual or legal conclusions, under a de novo or any other standard, when neither party objects to those findings.”); Smith v. Detroit Fed'n of Teachers, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373-1374 (6th Cir. 1987) (failure to file objection to R&R “waived subsequent review of the matter”).[4]

         There is some authority that a district court is required to review the R&R for clear error. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 Advisory Comm. Note Subdivision (b) (“When no timely objection is filed, the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.” (emphasis added)). The Court has reviewed the R&R for clear error. On the face of the record, the Court finds no clear error and accepts the recommendation. Accordingly, MERS's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 9) is granted. A separate judgment will enter.

         II. MERS's Request for Pre-filing Restrictions

         MERS's motion for summary judgment included a request for a permanent injunction requiring the Whites to seek leave of court before filing any further complaints. See MERS Mot. at 19. The R&R recommends granting MERS's request for a pre-filing restriction. R&R at 12-14. Again, no objection to this portion of the R&R ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.