United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
& 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
A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge.
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).
MERS's Motion for Summary Judgment
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.
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). 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
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
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.
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
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”).
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.
MERS's Request for Pre-filing Restrictions
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 ...