Maurice Glenn v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 8:15-cv-03058-PX. Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. . Mailed to: Maurice Glenn. [17-1308]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
Plaintiff - Appellant,
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.,
Defendant - Appellee.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt.
Paula Xinis, District Judge. (8:15-cv-03058-PX)
Submitted: July 28, 2017
Decided: September 29, 2017
Before KING, DIAZ, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Maurice Glenn, Appellant Pro Se. Virginia Wood Barnhart, Justin E. Fine, TREANOR,
POPE & HUGHES, P.A., Towson, Maryland, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Maurice Glenn appeals the district court’s order dismissing his amended complaint
in part for arbitration and in part for failure to state a claim for relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(1), (6). Glenn’s amended complaint raised breach of contract, discrimination, and
retaliation claims arising out of his Wells Fargo accounts and credit applications. We
have reviewed the record on appeal and find no error in the district court’s dismissal of
First, Glenn’s informal briefs do not challenge the district court’s dismissal of his
business line of credit claims for arbitration, and he has thus forfeited appellate review of
the issue. See 4th Cir. R. 34(b); Jackson v. Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 177 (4th Cir. 2014)
(“[O]ur review is limited to the issues preserved in the [informal] brief.”).
We agree with the district court that Glenn’s remaining claims against Wells Fargo
fail to state a claim for relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009). We review a district court’s dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) de novo,
accepting as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint and drawing all
reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. Mason v. Machine Zone,
Inc., 851 F.3d 315, 319 (4th Cir. 2017). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must present factual allegations that state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Jackson, 775 F.3d at 178 (internal quotation marks omitted). Although a court “must
accept the truthfulness of all factual allegations” in a complaint, it “need not assume the
veracity of bare legal conclusions.” Burnette v. Fahey, 687 F.3d 171, 180 (4th Cir. 2012)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “The mere recital of elements of a cause of action,
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supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to survive” a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion. Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012). “[A] plaintiff need not
‘forecast’ evidence sufficient to prove the elements of the claim. However, the complaint
must allege sufficient facts to establish those elements.” Id. (citation omitted).
Glenn claims that the district court applied the incorrect standard for ruling on a
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion and improperly required him to produce evidence prior to
discovery. Rather than requiring actual evidence, however, the district court properly
required specific factual allegations showing that Glenn qualified for the benefits sought
and directly tying Wells Fargo’s denials to Glenn’s race and complaints to government
entities. The district court properly accepted all of Glenn’s specific factual allegations as
true and ignored his conclusory allegations. See Burnette, 687 F.3d at 180. Glenn asserts
that the district court erred in not allowing his attorney to examine Wells Fargo’s records,
complaining that he was “required to show evidence, but Wells Fargo was not.” But the
district court properly denied any requests to review documents, as the case had not
reached discovery, see Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009), and
unlike Glenn, Wells Fargo, as the defendant, was not required to plead claims for relief.
Glenn further contends that the district court should have considered his affidavit
and other exhibits in ruling on the motion to dismiss and raises numerous new allegations
and submits new evidence not addressed in his amended complaint. A Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss “tests the sufficiency of a complaint,” and our “evaluation is thus
generally limited to a review of the allegations of the complaint itself.” Goines v. Valley
Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 165-66 (4th Cir. 2016). However, we also consider (1)
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“documents . . . explicitly incorporated into the complaint by reference,” (2) “those
attached to the complaint as exhibits,” and (3) undisputedly authentic “document[s]
submitted by the movant that . . . [are] integral to the complaint.” Id. at 166 (citation
omitted); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c). Here, the district court did not err in declining to
consider Glenn’s affidavit and additional exhibits in ruling on the motion to dismiss, as
this material was neither “explicitly incorporated into the complaint by reference” nor
“attached to the complaint as exhibits.” See Goines, 822 F.3d at 166. We also decline to
consider the new allegations and evidence not addressed in Glenn’s amended complaint.
See id. at 165-66; In re Under Seal, 749 F.3d 276, 285 (4th Cir. 2014).
Next, we agree with the district court that Glenn’s claims under the Equal Credit
Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1691 to 1691f (2012); Maryland Equal Credit
Opportunity Act (MECOA), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law §§ 12-701 to -708 (LexisNexis
2013); Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 to 3619 (2012); and Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d to 2000d-7 (2012) fail to state a claim for
For each of his ECOA, MECOA, FHA discriminatory intent, and Title VI
discrimination claims, Glenn must either provide direct evidence of discrimination or
make a prima facie case under the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973) test. Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 12-704(3); Rashdan v. Geissberger, 764 F.3d
1179, 1182 (9th Cir. 2014); Moore v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 55 F.3d 991, 995 (5th
Cir. 1995); Pinchback v. Armistead Homes Corp., 907 F.2d 1447, 1451 (4th Cir. 1990);
Boardley v. Household Fin. Corp. III, 39 F. Supp. 3d 689, 710-11 (D. Md. 2014). Glenn
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fails to meet either test for any of these statutory claims.
Without more, Glenn’s
allegation that one Wells Fargo employee reacted negatively upon learning his race is
insufficient to constitute direct evidence of discrimination. Glenn also fails to make a
prima facie case under the McDonnell Douglas test, as he did not adequately plead that
he qualified for the credit he sought. Glenn’s amended complaint did not compare his
specific qualifications to the requirements for any of the benefits he sought. Although
Glenn contends that the fact Wells Fargo initially approved several of his applications
demonstrates that he actually qualified for these benefits, he failed to plead specific facts
or attach documents demonstrating such approval to his amended complaint.
While Glenn now raises a discriminatory impact claim under the FHA, we decline
to consider it on appeal because he failed to plead this claim in his amended complaint.
See Goines, 822 F.3d at 165-66.
We also find Glenn’s Title VI retaliation claim
unavailing, as he fails to establish a causal connection between his complaints to
government entities and the denial of his applications, again because he does not
demonstrate that he actually qualified for the benefits sought. See Peters v. Jenney, 327
F.3d 307, 320 (4th Cir. 2003).
Glenn contends that the district judge who dismissed his amended complaint was
biased against him. However, “judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis
for a bias or partiality motion,” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994), and
Glenn’s claims of discrimination, conspiracy, and incompetence on the part of the district
judge constitute “unsupported, irrational [and] highly tenuous speculation,” United States
v. Cherry, 330 F.3d 658, 665 (4th Cir. 2003). Glenn’s allegation that this court is
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attempting to sabotage his appeal is also wholly unfounded. And, Glenn’s claims of
attorney malpractice are not cognizable on appeal. See Nelson v. Boeing Co., 446 F.3d
1118, 1119 (10th Cir. 2006).
We therefore affirm the decision of the district court. We dispense with oral
argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the
materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.
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