Alfunzo Staley v. The Bank of New York Mellon
OPINION: the dismissal of Appellant's complaint is AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. Gilbert S. Merritt, Circuit Judge; Deborah L. Cook, Circuit Judge and Bernice Bouie Donald, AUTHORING Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 14a0316n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON,
Apr 25, 2014
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF
BEFORE: MERRITT, COOK, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.
BERNICE B. DONALD, Circuit Judge. Alfunzo Staley (Plaintiff-Appellant) appeals
the dismissal of his wrongful foreclosure action against The Bank of New York Mellon
(“BNYM”) (Defendant-Appellee) for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). We
review the district court’s order de novo, Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995), and
for the reasons below, we affirm.
On March 2, 2004, Appellant obtained a loan in the amount of $104,500 from American
Equity Mortgage, Inc., which was secured by granting a mortgage against his property to the
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”). MERS later assigned its interest in
the mortgage to BNYM, as permitted by the terms of the mortgage agreement.
After Appellant defaulted on his mortgage payments, BNYM initiated foreclosure
proceedings and purchased the property at a foreclosure sale on January 12, 2012. Appellant did
not exercise his right to redeem the property under Michigan law during the six month
Staley v. BNYM
redemption period, which ended on July 12, 2012. See M.C.L. § 600.3240(1). Instead, in
September 2012, Appellant filed this wrongful foreclosure action in Wayne County Court, in
which he sought to set aside the foreclosure by challenging the validity of BNYM’s interest in
the mortgage, and alleging that he was wrongfully denied a loan modification review in violation
of M.C.L. § 600.3205a-c. BNYM removed the case to the Michigan district court and filed a
motion to dismiss the complaint. The district court dismissed Appellant’s complaint with
prejudice for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and denied Appellant’s
subsequent motion to reconsider. Appellant then filed this timely appeal, in which he argues that
the district court should not have dismissed his claims.
Having carefully reviewed the record and opinion below, we find no reason to disagree
with the reasoning provided by the district court in its order of dismissal. As the district court
correctly stated, Michigan law typically precludes a mortgagor from challenging the validity of a
foreclosure after the redemption period has ended, absent a showing of fraud or some other
highly suspect irregularity in the foreclosure proceedings. See Conlin v. Mortgage Elec.
Registration Sys., Inc., 714 F.3d 355, 359-60 (6th Cir. 2013) (citing Sweet Air Inv., Inc. v.
Kenney, 739 N.W.2d 656, 659 (Mich. Ct. App. 2007)) (“The Michigan Supreme Court has held
that it would require a strong case of fraud or irregularity, or some peculiar exigency, to warrant
setting a foreclosure sale aside [after the expiration of the redemption period].”). Here, however,
Appellant’s allegations did not give rise to a cognizable claim under Michigan’s foreclosure law
or under any other theory of relief. As noted by the district court, Appellant received proper
notice of the foreclosure and failed to take steps necessary to obtain a loan modification.
Meanwhile, Appellant’s attempt to challenge BNYM’s interest in the mortgage lacks any
foundation in law. As noted by the district court, a mortgagor lacks standing to challenge the
Staley v. BNYM
validity of such an assignment unless the claim is premised on allegations that the debtor was
forced to double pay on the same debt as a result of that assignment. Livonia Properties
Holdings, LLC v. 12840-12976 Farmington Rd. Holdings, LLC, 399 F. App'x 97, 102 (6th Cir.
2010). Given that Appellant makes no such claim here, and because his challenge to the validity
of the assignment lacks any other basis in law, we find the district court’s order of dismissal
entirely appropriate. Id. Accordingly, for these reasons and those stated in the district court, we
affirm the dismissal of Appellant’s complaint.
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