Jason Vicks v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 3:16-cv-00263-FDW. Copies to all parties and the district court. [1000010098]. Mailed to: Jason Vicks; Mekeisha Vicks. [16-1909]

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Appeal: 16-1909 Doc: 16 Filed: 01/25/2017 Pg: 1 of 6 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 16-1909 JASON VICKS; MEKEISHA VICKS, Plaintiffs - Appellants, v. OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC; JOHN DOE 1-5, Defendants - Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Frank D. Whitney, Chief District Judge. (3:16-cv-00263-FDW) Submitted: January 20, 2017 Decided: January 25, 2017 Before WILKINSON, DUNCAN, and THACKER, Circuit Judges. Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion. Jason Vicks, Mekeisha Vicks, Appellants Pro Se. Dennis Kyle Deak, TROUTMAN SANDERS, LLP, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Appeal: 16-1909 Doc: 16 Filed: 01/25/2017 Pg: 2 of 6 PER CURIAM: Jason and Mekeisha Vicks (“Appellants”) appeal the district court’s order dismissing their civil action against Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“Appellee”), arising from Appellee’s involvement in mortgage foreclosure proceedings in North Carolina court related to Appellants’ residential property. state The district court dismissed four of Appellants’ claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, invoking the Rooker-Feldman * doctrine. It dismissed of their remaining claim of intentional infliction emotional distress (“IIED”) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. affirm in part, vacate in For the reasons that follow, we part, and remand for further proceedings. We review de novo the district court’s determination that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Appellants’ claims. Flame S.A. v. Freight Bulk Pte. Ltd., 807 F.3d 572, 580 (4th Cir. 2015). from seeking state-court proceedings The Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars state-court losers review in judgments commenced federal rendered and court before inviting rejection of those judgments.” of “injuries the district caused district court by court review and Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic * D.C. Ct. App. v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). 2 Appeal: 16-1909 Indus. Doc: 16 Filed: 01/25/2017 Corp., doctrine, 544 federal U.S. 280, courts Pg: 3 of 6 284 may (2005). Under this entertain claims narrow previously examined by a state court, so long as those claims do not seek review of the state court decision itself. See Elyazidi v. SunTrust Bank, 780 F.3d 227, 233 (4th Cir. 2015). Where a federal complaint raises claims independent of, but in tension with, a state court judgment, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine “is not an impediment to the exercise of federal jurisdiction” simply because “the same or a related question was earlier aired between the parties in state court,” and any tension created by the concurrent federal and state proceedings “should be managed through the doctrines of preclusion, comity, and abstention.” Thana v. Bd. of License Comm’rs for Charles Cty., Md., 827 F.3d 314, 320 (4th Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted). The district court concluded that Appellants’ claims were barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine as “inextricably intertwined” with the state court’s foreclosure order because success on their federal claims would require the district court to determine that the state court order was wrongly decided or to take action that would render that order ineffectual. While we have previously articulated a similar standard, see Plyler v. Moore, 129 F.3d 728, 731 (4th Cir. 1997), subsequent authority from the Supreme Court and this court has clarified the RookerFeldman doctrine’s narrow scope. As we have explained, 3 Appeal: 16-1909 Doc: 16 Filed: 01/25/2017 Pg: 4 of 6 [u]nder Exxon, [the] “inextricably intertwined” language does not create an additional legal test for determining when claims challenging a state-court decision are barred, but merely states a conclusion: if the state-court loser seeks redress in the federal district court for the injury caused by the statecourt decision, his federal claim is, by definition, “inextricably intertwined” with the state-court decision, and is therefore outside of the jurisdiction of the federal district court. Davani v. Va. Dep’t of Transp., 434 F.3d 712, 719 (4th Cir. 2006); see also Thana, 827 F.3d at 319-20 (describing doctrine’s narrow application). Thus, as the court also has clarified, the mere fact that a ruling favorable to the federal plaintiff may call into question the correctness of a state court judgment has no bearing on the federal court’s jurisdiction plaintiff’s claims under Rooker-Feldman. over the See Thana, 827 F.3d at 322. Here, Appellants’ first four claims for relief seek either a declaration that Appellee has no rights to the loan proceeds or damages against Appellee for violations of the Real Estate Settlement (2016), While Procedures and several success validity of Act (“RESPA”), provisions on these claims the state court’s of see North 12 C.F.R. Carolina could call into May 2011 order § 1024.35 state law. question the authorizing foreclosure, the claims do not seek appellate review of that order or fairly allege entering that order. injury caused by the state court in We therefore conclude that the district 4 Appeal: 16-1909 court Doc: 16 erred Filed: 01/25/2017 in applying Appellants’ claims. the Pg: 5 of 6 Rooker-Feldman doctrine to bar Further, while we are not precluded from affirming the dismissal of these claims on alternative grounds, see Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992), upon review of the record and the parties’ submissions on appeal, we conclude that prudence counsels in favor of reserving further judgment on the propriety of Appellants’ claims to the district court in the first instance. We therefore vacate the district court’s dismissal of Appellants’ first four claims for relief and remand for further proceedings. Appellants also challenge the district court’s dismissal of their IIED claim. We review de novo dismissal for failure to state a claim. F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). To a district court’s King v. Rubenstein, 825 survive Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Our review of the record confirms the district court’s conclusion that Appellants failed to state a valid IIED claim. See Holloway v. Wachovia Bank & Trust 233, Co., N.A., 452 S.E.2d 240 (N.C. 1994) (stating elements of claim); Waddle v. Sparks, 414 S.E.2d 22, 27 (N.C. 1992) (describing requirement of “severe emotional distress”). 5 Appeal: 16-1909 We Doc: 16 therefore Filed: 01/25/2017 affirm the Pg: 6 of 6 district court’s dismissal of this claim. In summary, we affirm the district court’s judgment part, insofar as it dismisses Appellants’ IIED claim. in We vacate the district court’s judgment in part, insofar as it dismisses Appellants’ remaining claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and we remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. In so doing, we express no opinion as to the legal sufficiency of Appellants’ reinstated claims or to the application of the doctrines of issue preclusion and claim preclusion to those claims, leaving the adequate development of these issues to the parties and to the district court. dispense with contentions are oral argument adequately because presented in the the facts We and legal materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED 6

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