Rayfield-Bey v. Wells Fargo & Company et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Judge Colm F. Connolly on 5/18/2023. (nmf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
WELLS FARGO &
COMPANY, et al.,
Civ. No. 22-1073-CFC
Verlyn-Teresa: Rayfield-Bey, Wilmington, Delaware, Pro se Plaintiff.
Justin M. Forcier, Esq., Reed Smith LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for
Wells Fargo & Company, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and Charles W. Scharf.
Evan W. Rassman, Esq. and James F. Harker, Esq., Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall
& Fumam PC, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for DocX, LLC, Black Knight
Financial Services, Inc. and Lender Processing Services, Inc.
John E. Tarburton, Esq., Orlans PC, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Mortgage
Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., IvlERSCORP Holdings, Inc., Freedom
Mortgage Corporation, William P. Beckmann, Chris McEntee, and Stanley C.
Deirdre Marie Richards, Esq., Fineman Krekstein & Harris PC, Wilmington,
Delaware. Counsel for Argent Mortgage Company, LLC.
Caitlyn E. Quinn, Esq., City of Wilmington Law Department. Counsel for City of
Helen Elizabeth Episcopo, Esq. and Maria T. Knoll, Esq., New Castle County
Office of Law, New Castle, Delaware. Counsel for County of New Castle and
Michael E. Kozikowski
Kenneth Lee-Kay Wan, Esq. and Robert Michael Kleiner, Esq. Delaware
Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, and James C. Champlin, Esq.
Georgia Department of Law, Atlanta, Georgia. Counsel for State of Georgia.
Katherine Randolph Fry, Esq., Offit Kurman, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware.
Counsel for Synergy One Lending, Inc., Aaron Nemec, Steven M. Majerus, and
BBMC Mortgage a Division of Bridgeview Bank Group.
Geoffrey Graham Grivner, Esq., Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Wilmington,
Delaware. Counsel for Nationstar Mortgage LLC.
Lorraine Brown, Dona Hull, Linda Green, Jessica Leete, Roger Harpster, Randall
Eade, Joseph M. Nackashi, Barclays Capital Real Estate, Inc., Michele M. Curtis,
Audrey B. Trumble, Mohamed S. Hameed, Melissa Forant, Manju John, Diane
Tiberend, County of Fulton, Nailah B. Gilliam, and Peoples Bank, Pro Se
May 18, 2023
On August 16, 2022, PlaintiffVerlyn-Teresa: Rayfield-Bey, who appears
pro se and has paid the filing fee, commenced this action by filing a Complaint and
over 600 pages of exhibits, naming nearly forty Defendants, and bringing claims
related to various mortgages associated with her residence over a twenty-year span
and the recent initiation of foreclosure proceedings. (D.I. 2) Before the Court are
eleven motions to dismiss (D.I. 27, 30, 37, 45 , 50, 56, 123, 126, 136, 137, 141)
The motions are fully briefed. Also before the Court are two discovery motions
filed by Plaintiff. (D.I. 160, 185)
The following facts are taken from the Complaint and are assumed to be true
for purposes of deciding the pending motion. See Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Servs.,
Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). In July 2002, Plaintiff and her now deceased
husband purchased a home in Wilmington, Delaware ("the Property") and received
a mortgage loan from Wells Fargo. The mortgage was transferred to several
lenders over the next two decades and/or refinanced. Between August 20 18 and
the filing of the August 2022 filing of the Complaint, the mortgage was serviced by
Nationstar Mortgage; Synergy One Lending, doing business as Mutual of Omaha;
Plaza Home Mortgage; and, finally, Freedom Mortgage Corporation ("Freedom
Mortgage"). From June through August in 2022, Plaintiff received a notice of
default and intent to initiate foreclosure proceedings from Freedom Mortgage. The
Court takes judicial notice that, on October 19, 2022, Freedom Mortgage initiated a
foreclosure action against Plaintiff in the Superior Court for New Castle County.
See Freedom Mortgage v. Verlyn Rayfield, Case No. N22L-10-033 (the
"Foreclosure Action"). The Foreclosure Action is ongoing. See Id.
Plaintiff sent Qualified Written Requests pursuant to the Real Estate
Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA") to Defendants, but she did not receive
adequate responses. Plaintiff refers in the Complaint to various statutory schemes
in addition to RESPA, including the Truth in Lending Act, Consumer Credit
Protection Act, the Securities Exchange Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, Economic
Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, the National Bank Act,
and Usury Laws, as well as common law fraud. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief to
stop the Foreclosure Action and damages often million dollars.
Eleven motions to dismiss have been filed by different sets of defendants.
Plaintiff opposes dismissal and requests the opportunity to amend her complaint.
Seventeen Defendants have not responded to Plaintiffs efforts to serve them.
In reviewing a motion to dismiss filed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), the
Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the
light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, her pleading is liberally construed and her
Complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94.
A Rule 12(b)(6) motion may be granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to
the complainant, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim
of entitlement to relief." Bell At/. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007).
"Though 'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a complaint must do more
than simply provide 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action."' Davis v. Abington Mem '/ Hosp., 765 F .3d 236,
241 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The Court is "not required
to credit bald assertions or legal conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint."
In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F .3d 198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A
complaint may not be dismissed, however, "for imperfect statement of the legal
theory supporting the claim asserted." Johnson v. City ofShelby, 574 U.S. 10, 11
A complainant must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has
"substantive plausibility." Id. at 12. That plausibility must be found on the face of
the complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A claim has facial
plausibility when the [complainant] pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the [accused] is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. Deciding whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense." Id. at 679.
"In evaluating a motion to dismiss," the Court "may consider documents that
are attached to or submitted with the complaint ... matters incorporated by
reference or integral to the claim, items subject to judicial notice, matters of public
record, orders, [and] items appearing in the record of the case." Buck v. Hampton
Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F .3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against any of the nearly forty named
Defendants. Much of her Complaint generally attacks the banking and mortgage
lending systems, which she views as unlawful and unjust. There are no viable
legal claims to be discerned from Plaintiffs allegations along these lines.
Furthermore, to the extent that Plaintiff asserts factual allegations related to her
own two-decade mortgage history, her allegations fail to state a claim and any
plausible claims against most of the Defendants are barred by the relevant statutes
of limitations. Plaintiffs particularized factual allegations that are not time-barred
fail to establish any claims. The Complaint is marked by a consistent lack of
clarity as to which actual claims Plaintiff seeks to bring and against which
individual Defendants she seeks to bring those claims.
Plaintiff has requested leave to file an amended complaint. Although
amendment appears to be futile, the Court will afford her one opportunity to file an
amended complaint naming any, or all, of the seven Defendants against whom the
Court concludes she conceivably could assert timely, viable claims. Those
Defendants are Nationstar Mortgage LLC, doing business as Mr. Cooper; Synergy
One Lending, Inc., doing business as Mutual of Omaha; BBMC, a Division of
Bridgeview Bank Group; Aaron Nemec; Steven M. Majerus; Freedom Mortgage
Corporation; and Stanley C. Middleman. Plaintiffs pending motions will be
denied as moot.
For the reasons discussed above, the Court will grant Defendants' motions to
dismiss and deny Plaintiffs pending motions as moot. Plaintiff will be given an
opportunity to file an amended complaint, addressing only Defendants identified
by the Court.
The Court will issue an Order consistent with this Memorandum Opinion.
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