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Akins v. U.S. Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

December 17, 2019

JOHN AKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION; and J.P. MORGAN MORTGAGE ACQUISITION TRUST, 2006-WMC3, ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-WMC3, Defendants.

          ORDER

          SAMUEL H. MAYS, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff John Akins sued Defendant U.S. Bank, National Association, in its capacity as trustee of Defendant J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust, 2006-WMC3, Asset Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-WMC3 (collectively, “U.S. Bank”) for fraud and wrongful foreclosure. (ECF No. 1-1.) On April 4, 2019, the Court dismissed Akins's claims and entered judgment. (ECF Nos. 25-26.)

         Before the Court are two post-judgment motions: (1) Akins's May 6, 2019 Motion for Relief from Judgment Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 60(b)(2) and 60(b)(6); and (2) Akins's May 6, 2019 Motion to Amend the Complaint. (ECF Nos. 27-28.) U.S. Bank responded to both motions on May 24, 2019. (ECF Nos. 33-34.)

         For the following reasons, Akins's post-judgment motions are DENIED.

         I. Background

         This action arose from U.S. Bank's attempted foreclosure on Akins's home. (ECF No. 1-1 ¶ 6.) Akins represented that a foreclosure sale was “imminent” and sought to enjoin the sale. (Id.)

         On May 24, 2006, Akins obtained a $64, 000 mortgage loan from WMC Mortgage Corporation (“WMC”). (Id. ¶ 3; ECF No. 9-2 at 1.) Akins executed a promissory note in favor of WMC (the “Promissory Note”). (ECF No. 9-2.) An undated endorsement in blank purportedly signed by Alex Arguello, an assistant secretary for WMC, appears on the last page of the Promissory Note.[1] (Id. at 4.) Akins also executed a deed of trust that identified WMC as the lender and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as the nominee for the lender and as the beneficiary of the deed of trust (the “Deed of Trust”). (ECF No. 9-3 at 1-2.)

         On June 14, 2009, Akins filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee. (See Bankr. ECF No. 1.)[2] On July 31, 2009, Chase Home Finance LLC (“Chase”) filed a proof of claim. (ECF No. 9-5.) Chase represented that it was filing “as servicing agent for U.S. Bank National Association, MERS as nominee.” (Id. at 1.) The claim amount was $69, 664.17, including $12, 672.65 in arrears. (Id.) Chase attached copies of the Promissory Note and the Deed of Trust to the claim. (Id. at 3-25.) Akins did not object to Chase's proof of claim. See Docket Sheet for In re Akins, No. 09-26363-DSK (Bankr. W.D. Tenn.). On September 4, 2009, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed the Chapter 13 plan. (Bankr. ECF No. 14.) Based on Akins's failure to make plan payments, however, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed the bankruptcy case on August 5, 2010. (Bankr. ECF No. 24.)

         On August 4, 2015, MERS executed a Corporate Assignment Deed of Trust assigning the Deed of Trust to “U.S. Bank National Association as trustee for J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust, 2006-WMC3, Asset Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-WMC3 . . . .” (ECF No. 9-7 at 1.) On October 10, 2018, Akins filed his Complaint in the Tennessee Chancery Court for the Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis. (ECF No. 1-1.) Akins disputed the legality of the assignment of the Deed of Trust and contended that U.S. Bank has no authority to foreclose on his home. (See generally id.) He brought claims for fraud and wrongful foreclosure. (Id.) On October 18, 2018, U.S. Bank removed Akins's suit to this Court. (ECF No. 1.)

         On April 4, 2019, the Court granted U.S. Bank's motion to dismiss Akins's claims on res judicata grounds. (ECF No. 25.) The Court found that Akins's claims were barred because the Bankruptcy Court had previously recognized that U.S. Bank had a legal right to receive payments on Akins's mortgage loan. (Id. at 10-17.)

         II. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides enumerated grounds for relief from final judgment. “Relief under Rule 60(b) [] is ‘circumscribed by public policy favoring finality of judgments and termination of litigation.'” Doe v. Lexington-Fayette Urban Cty. Gov't, 407 F.3d 755, 760 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting Waifersong Ltd. v. Classic Music Vending, 976 F.2d 290, 292 (6th Cir. 1992)). “[T]he party seeking relief under Rule 60(b) bears the burden of establishing the grounds for such relief by clear and convincing evidence.” Info-Hold, Inc. v. Sound Merch., Inc., 538 F.3d 448, 454 (6th Cir. 2008).

         Rule 60(b)(2) allows relief from final judgment because of “newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(2). “In order to prevail on a Rule 60(b)(2) motion, a movant must demonstrate (1) that it exercised due diligence in obtaining the information and (2) [that the newly discovered] evidence is material and controlling and clearly would have produced a different result if presented before the original judgment.” Good v. Ohio Edison Co., 149 F.3d 413, 423 (6th Cir. 1998) (quotation marks and citation omitted).

         Rule 60(b)(6) allows relief from final judgment for “any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6). Rule 60(b)(6) is “a catchall provision” that “should apply only in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances which are not addressed by the first five numbered clauses of [Rule 60(b)].” West v. Carpenter,790 F.3d 693, 696-97 (6th Cir. 2015); Olle v. Henry & Wright Corp.,910 F.2d 357, 365 (6th Cir. 1990) (quotation marks and citation omitted). “Consequently, courts must apply Rule 60(b)(6) relief only in unusual and extreme situations where principles of equity mandate ...


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