United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jones, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, brings this
pro se, in forma pauperis action against
Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, alleging that the
Defendant wrongfully foreclosed on her property in violation
of federal and state law. (Compl., Doc. No. 1.) The plaintiff
appears to appeal a Writ of Restitution entered by the Sixth
Circuit Court for Davidson County, Tennessee. She seeks
damages as well as injunctive and declaratory relief.
Required Screening of the Complaint
Plaintiff proceeds as a pauper in this action, the Court must
conduct an initial review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and dismiss it, or any portion of it,
that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. In assessing
whether the Complaint in this case states a claim for which
relief may be granted, the Court applies the standards under
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as
construed by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79
(2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-57 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d
468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that “the
dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and
Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a
claim under [§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant
statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6)”). “Accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true, the Court
‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint
to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d
380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
681) (alteration in original). “[P]leadings that . . .
are no more than conclusions are not entitled to the
assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the
framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see
also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket
assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual
allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant
could satisfy the requirement of providing not only
‘fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also
‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”).
se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should
therefore be liberally construed.” Williams,
631 F.3d at 383 (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt
from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th
Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F.
App'x 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot
create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his
pleading”) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 F.
App'x 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua
sponte dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the
district court is required to create Payne's claim for
her”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231
(2004) (“District judges have no obligation to act as
counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”);
Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F. App'x 506, 510
(6th Cir. 2011) (“[W]e decline to affirmatively require
courts to ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf
of pro se litigants. Not only would that duty be
overly burdensome, it would transform the courts from neutral
arbiters of disputes into advocates for a particular party.
While courts are properly charged with protecting the rights
of all who come before it, that responsibility does not
encompass advising litigants as to what legal theories they
Background and Factual Allegations in Complaint
at least the fourth action filed by Plaintiff challenging the
foreclosure of real property located at 3013 Chateau Valley
Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37207 (“the Property).
Plaintiff identifies 3013 Chateau Valley Drive as her current
address in her present Complaint. (Compl. at 1.)
first lawsuit challenging the foreclosure was filed in this
Court in December 2014. Jones v. Ocwen Loan Servicing,
Inc.., No. 3:14-cv-2328 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 4, 2014)
(Compl., Doc. No. 1). The plaintiff did not proceed in
forma pauperis, and the matter was referred to a
magistrate judge. In January 2015, the plaintiff amended her
Complaint to name additional defendants,  but she omitted
from the Amended Complaint allegations establishing federal
jurisdiction. The action was dismissed without prejudice in
July 2015 based on the plaintiff's failure to plead a
federal question or to plead facts establishing diversity
months later, in November 2015, Plaintiff filed a second
action in this Court, again challenging the same foreclosure
and naming only Ocwen Financial Corporation and Ocwen Loan
Servicing, LLC as defendants. Jones v. Ocwen Fin'l
Corp., No. 3:15-cv-01272 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 18, 2015).
Plaintiff paid the filing fee, and the matter was referred to
the magistrate judge, who filed a Report and Recommendation
on September 29, 2017, recommending that the defendants'
Motion to Dismiss be granted based on the failure of the
Complaint to assert sufficient factual material to state a
claim for which relief may be granted. The magistrate judge
observed that Plaintiff alleged
‘misconduct related to the servicing of [her] single
family residential mortgages' by Ocwen, based upon the
acts of Homeward Residential, Inc., and Litton Loan
Servicing, LP before they were acquired by Ocwen. (Doc. No.
1, PageID# 1, ¶¶ 1-2.) Jones states that this
misconduct “resulted in premature and unauthorized
foreclosures, violation of [her] homeowners' rights and
protections, and the use of false and deceptive affidavits
and other documents.” (Id. at ¶ 2.)
Jones's complaint is a near-verbatim recitation of a
complaint filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(CFPB) and the Attorneys General of all states except
Oklahoma in the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia against the same defendants. (Compare Doc. No. 1
with Doc. No. 1, Complaint, Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau, et al., v. Ocwen Financial Corp. and Ocwen Loan
Servicing, LLC, Case No. 1:13-cv-02025-RMC (D.D.C. Dec.
19, 2013).) That lawsuit resulted in a consent decree under
which Ocwen agreed to provide, among other relief, $2 billion
to consumers who had been harmed by its loan servicing
practices. (Doc. No. 12, Consent Decree, Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, et al., v. Ocwen Financial Corp. and Ocwen
Loan Servicing, LLC, Case No. 1:13-cv-02025-RMC (D.D.C. Feb.
26, 2014).) Jones does not state whether she was eligible for
or received relief as part of that action.
Repeating the allegations of the CFPB action in her own
complaint, Jones states that Ocwen engaged in a number of
unfair lending practices . . . . Jones's complaint does
not include any specific allegations regarding her own loan
or misconduct by Ocwen in its servicing.
Jones v. Ocwen Fin'l Corp., No. 3:15-cv-01272
(M.D. Tenn. Sept. 29, 2017) (Doc. No. 30, at 2-3).
December 2015, the plaintiff filed her third Complaint
challenging foreclosure on the same Property, this time in
the Circuit Court for Davidson County, Tennessee. The
defendants in that case, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, Homeward
Residential, Inc. (formerly known as American Home Mortgage
Services, Inc.), and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as
Trustee for Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee
for Ameriquest Mortgage Securities Inc., Asset-Backed
Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2005-R4, removed the case
to federal court on February 22, 2016. That action asserted
claims for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). Other
than alleging that she had executed a mortgage with a
different mortgage company and that the defendants therefore
lacked standing to foreclose on the Property, the complaint
in that action did not contain any specific factual
allegations pertaining to Plaintiff's own mortgage or the
circumstances that supported her own claims against the
defendants. The Complaint was dismissed in June 2016 for
failure to plead sufficient factual content to support the
claims for relief. Jones v. Ameriquest Mortg., No.
3:16-cv-00361 (M.D. Tenn. June 21, 2016) (Order, Doc. No.
characterizes her most recent lawsuit, filed in this Court on
September 28, 2017, as an “Appeal from Sixth Circuit
Court Doc. 16C56, A new case.” (Doc. No. 1, at 1.) The
only named defendant is “Deutsche Bank c/o of Machie
Wole Zientz 5217 Maryland Way, Ste 404, Brentwood, Williamson
County, TN 37027.” (Doc. No. 1, at 2.) The body of the
form Complaint contains no factual allegations; instead,
Plaintiff states only “see attachment” in the
space reserved for the Statement of Claim. (Id. at
2.) The referenced attachment is titled “Plaintiff
Appeal the Writ of Restitution: Motion for Plaintiff
Relief.” (Doc. No. 1, at 4.) Attached to this document
is an Order issued on August 30, 2017 by the Sixth Circuit
Court for Davidson County, Tennessee in Case No. 16C56,
approving plaintiff ...