United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Beth Ann Roberts, proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint naming the Federal National Mortgage Association,
its CEO Timothy Mayopoulos, CFO David Bensen, and COO Pascal
Boillat as defendants. Plaintiff asks to proceed in forma
pauperis. Based upon the information in the Application
to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, the Court, under 28
U.S.C. § 1915, GRANTS plaintiff in forma
pauperis status. For the reasons that follow, however,
the complaint will be dismissed for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 (e)(2) a Court may dismiss a complaint at any
time if it determines that the case is frivolous or
malicious, that the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. A complaint
"is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Moreover, a federal court is always
“under an independent obligation to examine their own
jurisdiction, ” FW/PBS, Inc. v. City of
Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 231 (1990), and a federal court
may not entertain an action over which it has no
jurisdiction. See Insurance Corp. of Ireland, Ltd. v.
Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 701
(1982). Indeed, a court is required to dismiss an action at
any time if it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); See Wagenknecht v.
United States, 533 F.3d 412, 416 (6th Cir. 2008)
(“a district court may sua sponte dismiss an
action when it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.”).
Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint may be dismissed if construing the
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff,
the complaint fails to contain “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
Court must read pro se complaints indulgently,
see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and
accept plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are
clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
Court has reviewed the complaint. From what can be gleaned,
plaintiff is a tenant under a “lease agreement”
at property located at 18420 Wildemere Street in Detroit,
Michigan. The property was owned by Otis Williams and has
gone into foreclosure. Plaintiff says Williams challenged the
foreclosure against defendants in state court. Plaintiff
further says that while the state court litigation has been
pending, representatives of defendants and others have
harassed her and told her she must leave the property.
Plaintiff asserts several claims under state law, all of
which challenge defendants' right to foreclose on the
property or remove her from the property. They include: (1)
lack of standing to foreclose, (2) fraud in the concealment,
(3) trespassing, (4) intentional infliction of emotional
distress, and (5) slander of title. She seeks money damages
and appears to ask the Court to title the property in her
complaint is subject to dismissal for several reasons. First,
plaintiff has alleged that jurisdiction is based on
diversity. However, the complaint does not state the
citizenship of the corporate or individually named
defendants. Thus, the complaint is subject to dismissal for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction for failure to establish
diversity of citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
plaintiff is clearly challenging a foreclosure over property
in which she is a tenant. Several cases have held that
tenants, like plaintiff, lack standing to challenge the
validity of a foreclosure of that property. See Young v.
Fannie Mae, 2013 WL 1284232, at *2 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 27,
2013) (“At the outset, the Court finds that Mr. Little
does not have standing with respect to any of the claims
asserted in the Complaint, as it is undisputed his interest
in the real property at issue was as a tenant only.”);
Mitchell v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc.,
2012 WL 1094671, at *2 (W.D. Mich. Mar.30, 2012) (“A
non-borrower may not challenge a foreclosure or
assignment.”); Hurst v. Fed. Nat. Mortg.
Ass'n, 2015 WL 300275, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 22,
2015), aff'd, 642 Fed.Appx. 533 (6th Cir. 2016),
and aff'd, 642 Fed.Appx. 533 (6th Cir. 2016)
(plaintiff as a tenant may not challenge a foreclosure).
Thus, plaintiff, being only a tenant, cannot bring claims
challenging the foreclosure.
to the extent plaintiff is attacking actions which took place
in state court, the complaint is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, federal courts lack
jurisdiction to review a case litigated and decided in state
court. District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 & n. 16 (1983);
Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415-16
(1923). To the extent plaintiff is seeking federal court
review of what has occurred or is occurring in state court,
her claims are barred by Rooker-Feldman.
her claims are barred by res judicata. This doctrine requires
that (1) the first action be decided on its merits, (2) the
matter being litigated in the second case was or could have
been resolved in the first case, and (3) both actions
involved the same parties or their privies. Here,
plaintiff's claims in this case and the claims in the
state court case filed by Williams are related as they seek
redress from the same basic alleged wrong, i.e., the
mortgage foreclosure. All of ...