United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
LINDA S. ELAM, FREDERICK J. ELAM, Plaintiffs,
AURORA SERVICES LOAN, LLC, AURORA COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., LEHMAN BROTHERS, WEIL, SOTSALL AND MANGESS ATTORNEYS, COLLETTE FARLEY, NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SERVICES, REALTY MORTGAGE CORPORATION, FIRST BANK, Defendants.
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND, AND
GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS
L. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
motions, including Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and
Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend their Complaint, were
referred to the Magistrate Court for a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”). (ECF No.
In a comprehensive decision, the Magistrate Court recommended
denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend and granting
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. (ECF No. 85.) Plaintiffs
filed timely objections to the R&R. (ECF No. 86.) Now,
after reviewing each parties' filings, the Court adopts
the R&R, denies Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend and
grants Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.
14 days after being served with a copy of the recommended
disposition, a party may serve and file specific written
objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). The
“failure to properly file objections constitutes a
waiver of appeal.” See Howard, 932 F.2d at 508
(citing United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947, 950
(6th Cir. 1981)). But, when a timely objection is filed,
“[t]he district judge must determine de novo
any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has
been properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
After conducting a de novo review, a district court
need not articulate all the reasons it that rejects a
party's objections. Tuggle v. Seabold, 806 F.2d
87, 92 (6th Cir. 1986).
did not object to the R&R's Findings of Fact. This
Court reviewed the record and finds the R & R's
thorough recitation of facts is correct and complete. (R
& R, ECF 85, PageID 818-826.) Accordingly, this Court
ADOPTS the R&R's proposed Findings of Fact.
object to the R&R on these grounds-(1) the Magistrate
Judge misapplied the doctrine of res judicata (2)
improperly barred Plaintiffs' claims under the applicable
statutes of limitation and (3) generally erred in
recommending a denial of Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend and
a grant of Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. (ECF No. 86.)
The Court takes each of these arguments in turn.
Plaintiffs' Claims are Barred by the Doctrine of Res
Court must apply Tennessee law on res judicata.
See Perez v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 150 F.3d 550, 555
n. 5 (6th Cir. 1998); Gen. Elec. Med. Sys. Europe v.
Prometheus Health, 2010 WL 3521918, at *5 n. 1
(6th Cir. 2010). The Tennessee Supreme Court and the Sixth
Circuit both adopt the Second Restatement's definition of
res judicata. See Creech v. Addington, 281
S.W.3d 363, 380-81 (Tenn. 2009); J.Z.G. Res., Inc. v.
Shelby Ins. Co., 84 F.3d 211, 215 (6th Cir. 1996);
Wheeler v. Dayton Police Dep't, 807 F.3d 764,
767 (6th Cir. 2015). The Second Restatement's conception
of res judicata, thus, frames our discussion.
doctrine of res judicata addresses previous
adjudication. Under res judicata, a court will bar a
claim if that claim was “definitively settled by [a
prior] judicial decision” (a final judgment on the
merits). Res Judicata, Black's Law Dictionary
(10th ed. 2014); see Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S.
880, 882 (2008); Restatement (Second) of Judgments
§§ 17, 24 (1982). The doctrine thus accomplishes a
twofold goal-giving full faith and credit to other courts of
competent jurisdiction and conserving judicial resources by
barring plaintiffs from getting a second bite at the apple
when the cases arise out the same transaction or series of
transactions. See 28 U.S.C. § 1738; Restatement
(Second) of Judgments § 18. Though res judicata
outlines the general preclusive effects of prior
adjudications, it really encompasses two separate
concepts-claim preclusion and issue preclusion. See
Restatement (Second) of Judgments §§ 17, 24 (1982).
preclusion “foreclose[es] any litigation of matters
that never have been litigated because of the determination
that they should have been advanced in an earlier
suit.” Charles Alan Wright & Mary Kay Kane, Law of
Federal Courts 722-23 (5th ed. 1994); see
Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 17; Kane v.
Magna Mixer Co., 71 F.3d 555, 560 (6th Cir. 1995). If
the plaintiff prevailed in a prior judgment, “[t]he
plaintiff cannot thereafter maintain an action on the
original claim or any part thereof . . . and [i]n an action
upon the judgment, the defendant cannot avail himself of the
defenses he might have interposed, or did interpose, in the
first action.” Restatement (Second) of Judgments §
18. If the defendant prevailed in the prior judgment, the
judgment “bars another action by the plaintiff on the
same claim.” Id. at § 19.
preclusion “foreclose[es] relitigation of matters that
have once been litigated and decided.” Wright at 722-23
supra; see Kane, 71 F.3d at 560;
Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 17. In other words,
“[w]hen an issue of fact or law is actually litigated
and determined by a valid and final judgment, and the
determination is essential to the judgment, the determination
is conclusive in a subsequent action between the parties,
whether on the same or a different claim.” Restatement
(Second) of Judgments § 27.
action concerns a dispute over title to a piece of
property-50 Brierwood Circle, Piperton, Tennessee 38107
(“Brierwood”)-specifically who owns Brierwood.
Plaintiffs' Complaint “request[s] the court to have
the property remain in the name of [Plaintiffs' trust] .
. . and have all mortgages and liens removed . . . .”
(ECF No. 1 at PageID 6.)
previously litigated the state of Brierwood's title in
Fayette County, Tennessee, Chancery Court. See Nationstar
Mort., LLC v. Elam, No. 15895 (Tenn. Ch. Ct. May 8,
2015). The Chancery court found that Plaintiffs received a
mortgage in which “the intent of the parties to the
transaction was that [Brierwood] would be collateral for the
loan.” Id. at 3-4. Thus, the Chancery Court
reformed Brierwood's title “to reflect that the
interest of [Plaintiffs' trust] . . . was effectively
conveyed” through a deed of trust that ...