Price v. Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC
ORDER granting 46 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss; denying 47 Defendant's Motion for Sanctions. See Order For Details. Signed by Judge John E. Steele on 4/26/2021. (TLP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
GREGORY C. PRICE,
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on review of defendant’s
Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Doc. #46) filed on July 13,
2020. In addition, defendant filed a Motion for Sanctions Pursuant
to Rule 11 (Doc. #47) on August 21, 2020.
Plaintiff did not file
responses to either of Defendant’s Motions.
For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion to Dismiss is granted and the Motion for
Sanctions is denied.
Pro se plaintiff Gregory C. Price (Plaintiff) had initially
filed a complaint1 (Doc. #3) against defendant Lakeview Loan
Servicing, LLC (Defendant or Lakeview), which this Court dismissed
Plaintiff’s initial pleading was titled as a “Court of
Record Tort Claim Petition and Request for a Hearing or Trial by
Jury,” which the Court construed as a complaint. (Doc. #3; Doc.
#41, p. 1, n.1.)
without prejudice as a shotgun pleading.
(Doc. #41, p. 5.)
asserting claims against Defendant for fraud (Count I); breach of
contract (Count II); violation of Racketeering, RICO (Count III);
“lack of jurisdiction to collect as holder in due course” (Count
IV); financial discrimination (Count V); and other crimes (Count
(Doc. #42, pp. 4-19.)
Plaintiff seeks $8,091,441.74 in
damages, fees, and refunds of mortgage loan payments made from
October 2013 through May 2020.4 (Id., p. 25.)
The dispute in this case is based upon a promissory note
Plaintiff executed on August 29, 2013, to secure a mortgage for
real property located at 1057 Bay Harbor Drive, in Englewood,
Florida (the Bay Harbor property), in the amount of $142,348.00
and in favor of United Wholesale Mortgage.5
(Docs. ##42, ¶¶ 10,
Plaintiff’s second pleading is entitled “Amended Court of
Record Tort Claim Petition and Request For a Hearing or Trial By
Jury.” (Doc. #42, p. 1.) The Court refers to this document as the
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant committed “other crimes,”
including “collusion/conspiracy and theft by deception,” unjust
enrichment, extortion, duress, illegal interest charged/collected,
and mail fraud. (Doc. #42, pp. 17-19.)
Plaintiff cites to no legal authority that serves as the
basis for his demand for damages, fees, or refunds.
Plaintiff did not attach a copy of the at-issue Note and
mortgage that are referenced in the Amended Complaint and are
central to Plaintiff’s claims.
See (Doc. #42.)
however, attached an executed Note and recorded mortgage to its
Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. ##46-1; 46-2.) Typically, the Court
27; 46-1; 46-2.)
The mortgage (Security Instrument) was given to
mortgagee, and was recorded with the Charlotte County Clerk of
Court in Florida, on September 3, 2013.
(Doc. #42, ¶¶ 10, 44.)
Although the Amended Complaint is incoherent and difficult to
discern, it appears that Plaintiff suspected “anomalies” in the
“mortgage and NOTE” concerning the Bay Harbor property, which is
serviced by Defendant.
(Id. at ¶ 10.)
cannot consider matters outside the pleadings in ruling on a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss unless the court converts the motion to
one for summary judgment under Rule 56. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d).
See Horne v. Potter, 392 F. App’x 800, 802 (11th Cir. 2010).
Nevertheless, a district court may take judicial notice of certain
facts without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for
summary judgment. See Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc., 187 F.3d 1271,
1278 (11th Cir. 1999). “Public records are among the permissible
facts that a district court may consider.”
Inc. v. United States SEC, 177 F. App'x 52, 53 (11th Cir. 2006)
(citing Stahl v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 327 F.3d 697, 700 (8th Cir.
2003)). The Court takes judicial notice of the Note and recorded
mortgage as they are public records, and in doing so, the Court
finds it unnecessary to convert Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss into
a motion for summary judgment.
“MERS is a private electronic database that tracks the
owners of deeds of trust and the mortgage servicing firms on behalf
identification number." Parker v. America's Servicing Co., No.
1:11-CV-1620-TCB-ECS, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198809, at *15-16
(N.D. Ga. Aug. 31, 2012) (quoting Michael A Valenza, Digest of
Selected Articles, 40 Real Est. L.J. 260 (2011)).
requested that Defendant provide the “QWR validity report of the
Defendant failed to do so.
(Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.)
Because the blue
Complaint alleges that Defendant fraudulently attempted to collect
mortgage debt for the Bay Harbor property that cannot be verified.
(Id., at ¶ 3.)
The Amended Complaint further alleges that on May 8, 2019, in
fraudulent mortgage and Note, Plaintiff, a “Licensed, Private
Banker,” issued and presented to Defendant a U.C.C. Registered,
Certified tender of payment via the “Credit Agreement Payoff
Security Instrument” No. 000016806 (the Credit Agreement) in the
amount of $124,000.7
(Id., at ¶¶ 12, 21, 32-33, 35, 67; Doc. #3-
The new terms and conditions of the Credit Agreement included
nullifying and voiding Plaintiff’s original mortgage debt and
replacing it with a one-time final payoff of $1,250, which was to
In the Amended Compliant, Plaintiff references the Credit
Agreement that was attached as an exhibit (Doc. #3-2) to his
initial Complaint (Doc. #3) but is not attached as an exhibit to
the Amended Complaint. See (Doc. #42.) The Court, however, may
consider this exhibit, among others, attached to Plaintiff’s
initial Complaint in ruling on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.
Gross v. White, 340 F. App’x 527, 534 (11th Cir. 2009)(“A district
court ruling on a motion to dismiss is not required to disregard
document that the plaintiff himself filed with his original
be retrieved from Plaintiff’s residence.8
#3-2; Doc. #3-4.)
(Id., at ¶¶ 10, 33; Doc.
The Credit Agreement was purportedly issued
from the City of Englewood, Florida, on April 19, 2019, and states
“this is a Bank Medallion Verified Security signed in Blue Ink”
with a signature guarantee from Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
On the second page of the Credit Agreement, is the purported
signature of “Gregory C Price: (father, son, holy ghost).”
By way of providing the Credit Agreement to Defendant, Plaintiff
argues that Defendant “accepted” it as legal tender, and that
Defendant breached the Credit Agreement’s new terms by continuing
Specifically, the Credit Agreement states under its “TERMS
The final Payment or Payoff will be made against the
obligations of the United States 18 U.S.C. § 8 . . . for
full settlement to that part of the public debt due its
Principals and Sureties as full consideration claimed
debt account closure in a month’s installment of
$1,250.00 (Twelve Hundred Fifty Security Dollars) up to
ten (10) month term or final payment whichever is first.
Final Payment or payoff . . . shall be collected by the
acceptance, or rejection by Assignee . . . The final
payment/payoff is to be collected by Assignee, Claimant,
Investor, or Holder on the seventh (7) [sic] working day
after receipt . . . from ISSUER/BORROWER at 1057 BAY
HARBOR DRIVE, ENGLEWOOD, FLORIDA [] . . . Failure
to follow these terms and conditions, assignee,
claimant, investor, bearer, or holder has accepted this
Legal Credit Agreement Payoff . . . as full settlement,
discharge, set off, closure of claimed debt account.
(Doc. #3-2; Doc. #42, ¶¶ 33-34.)
to send Plaintiff monthly mortgage payment statements for payment
of a debt that is allegedly paid-in-full and discharged.
#42, ¶ 13.)
Defendant urges the Court to dismiss all counts in the Amended
Complaint because it is a shotgun pleading, or in the alternative,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc.
sanctions against Plaintiff, arguing his claims have no reasonable
factual basis and have been filed in bad faith for an improper
purpose. (Doc. #47, p. 7.)
After addressing Defendant’s arguments
as to the Amended Complaint, and the Court will discuss whether
sanctions are warranted in this case.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a Complaint
must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
This obligation “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
To survive dismissal, the factual allegations
must be “plausible” and “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.”
Id. at 555.
See also, Edwards v.
Prime Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010).
In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take
them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89 (2007), but “[l]egal conclusions without adequate
factual support are entitled to no assumption of truth,” Mamani v.
Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted).
supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678.
“Factual allegations that are merely consistent
Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th
Cir. 2012) (citations omitted).
Thus, the Court engages in a two-
step approach: “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether
they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
U.S. at 679.
A pro se amended complaint is to be liberally construed and
“held to less stringent standards than complaints drafted by
Stephens v. DeGiovanni, 852 F.3d 1298, 1318 n.16 (11th
Liberal construction means that a federal court
sometimes must "look beyond the labels used in a pro se party's
allegations" to determine if a cognizable remedy is available.
Torres v. Miami-Dade Cty., Fla., 734 F. App'x 688, 691 (11th Cir.
Yet, there are limits to the court’s flexibility as it
does not have the “license to serve as de facto counsel for a
party, or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to
sustain an action.”
Campbell v. Air Jamaica Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165,
1168-69 (11th Cir. 2014).
A pro se pleading “must suggest (even
if inartfully) that there is at least some factual support for a
claim; it is not enough just to invoke a legal theory devoid of
any factual basis.”
Jones v. Fla. Parole Comm’n, 787 F.3d 1105,
1107 (11th Cir. 2015).
Prior to the discussion of the merits of Plaintiff’s alleged
claims, the Court addresses Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff’s
underlying theory for recovery concerning Count II through Count
VI appears to be related to the “vapor money” or “unlawful money”
theory that derives from the sovereign citizen movement.9
#46, pp. 9-10.)
Plaintiff unequivocally denies that he is an
"Sovereign citizens are a loosely affiliated group who
believe that the state and federal governments lack constitutional
legitimacy and therefore have no authority to regulate their
behavior." Persona v. Mackey, No. 2:20-cv-2424-BHH-MHC, 2020 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 204242, at *13 (D.S.C. Oct. 7, 2020)(quoting United
States v. Ulloa, 511 F. App'x 105, 106 n.1 (2d Cir. 2013)).
adherent of the “court-made-up oxymoronic term ‘Sovereign Citizen
[movement]’” because he is a “law-abiding man and obeys the laws
of the STATES AND UNITED STATES pursuant to 40 Stat 418, Section
7(e).” (Doc. #42, ¶¶ 7-8.) However, as discussed below, Plaintiff’s
obligations based on the vapor money theory and as such, the Court
finds the Amended Complaint, to the extent it relies upon this
theory, is “utterly frivolous and lacks any legal foundation.”
Demmler v. Bank One NA, No. 2:05-cv-322, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
9409, at *10 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 9, 2006)(in reaching its conclusion,
the court considered the plaintiff’s complaint that alleged a selfexecuted promissory note is the equivalent to “money,” and was
sufficient to pay-off a mortgage and avoid foreclosure).
“The genesis of the vapor money theory is that the decision
by the United States in 1933, to discard the gold standard resulted
in the federal government's bankruptcy, after which ‘lenders have
been creating unenforceable debts because they are lending credit
rather than legal tender.’"
Goodwin v. Flagstar Bank, No. 1:19-
cv-859, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 225173, at *7 (W.D. Mich. Dec. 23,
2019)(quoting Marvin v. Capital One, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117344,
2016 WL 4548382 at *4 (W.D. Mich., Aug. 16, 2016)) (citations
See also, Johnson v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co., No.
09-21246-CIV, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84092, at *3 (S.D. Fla. June
Accordingly, pursuant to the vapor money theory, a
loan imposes no repayment obligation on the recipient if the
indebtedness was funded with credit as opposed to hard currency.
See Rodriguez v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No. 08-23119-CIV,
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 29, 2008)
(noting the vapor money theory holds that payments for economic
obligations cannot be made by check or other similar instruments
as they are illegal and do not create a legally cognizable debt.)
“The essence of the ‘vapor money’ theory is that the promissory
notes (and similar instruments) are the equivalent of 'money' that
citizens literally 'create' with their signatures."
CitiMortgage, Inc., 726 F. Supp. 2d 201, 212 (D. Conn. 2010)
Here, the Amended Complaint generally alleges that because
Defendant did not produce an “original Blue-ink Signed NOTE and
Mortgage Lien Contract Security,” there is no verifiable proof of
Agreement Payoff Security Instrument (which he argues is “money”),
(Doc. #42, ¶¶ 2, 4, 12, 32.)
As stated, the Court
finds that Plaintiff has provided no substantive basis in the law
to demonstrate that Plaintiff is not indebted with respect to the
mortgage for the Bay Harbor property, or that his mortgage debt is
satisfied by the purported Credit Agreement.
“While dollar bills
and coins have been declared by Congress to be legal tender, not
all debts must be paid in legal tender if the parties agree.”
Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *4 (citing Nixon v.
Individual Head of the St. Joseph Mortgage Co., 615 F. Supp. 898,
900 (N.D. Ind. 1985)).
Plaintiff signed a “Note” which states
that on August 29, 2013, the borrower’s promise to pay $142,348 at
a 4.75% interest rate, was secured by a mortgage, deed of trust,
or similar security instrument. (Doc. #46-1.) The record reflects
that a mortgage for the Bay Harbor property was recorded on
September 3, 2013, with the Charlotte County Clerk of Circuit
Court. (Doc. #46-2, p. 2.) According to these documents, Plaintiff
instruments to secure the mortgage debt, and has assented to this
arrangement since 2013, by paying the mortgage debt and enjoying
the benefit of living at the Bay Harbor property. “Plaintiff’s own
experience in financing [his] home with funds obtained through
these mortgage loans ‘indicates that the market place recognizes
the value of credit and checkbook money, so that [plaintiff] has
suffered no damages and has no valid claim to advance here.’"
Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *5 (quoting Nixon v.
Individual Head of the St. Joseph Mortg. Co., 615 F. Supp. 899,
901 (N.D. Ind. 1985)).
In addition, Plaintiff relies on a fictious Credit Agreement
that he executed and presented to Defendant, in asserting that his
original mortgage debt is satisfied, and null and void.
other federal district courts have overwhelmingly rejected this
reasoning based on the vapor money theory.
See, e.g., Awai v.
USAA Fed. Sav. Bank, Civil Action No. 20-632, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
128056, at *7 (W.D. Pa. July 20, 2020)(plaintiff, who claimed to
be a Registered Private Banker, submitted a “Credit Agreement
Payoff Security Instrument” to discharge and satisfy his mortgage,
which the Court found to be a variation of the vapor money theory
and dismissed the complaint as “patently frivolous”); Winsey v.
Nationstar Mortg., LLC, No. 8:17-cv-979-T-33AEP, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 100731 (M.D. Fla. June 29, 2017)(dismissing money vapor
claims as “utterly meritless”); Johnson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
84092, at *11 (finding complaint based on vapor money theory “lacks
legal merit and should be dismissed); Sanford v. Robins Fed. Credit
Union, No. 5:12-CV-306, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165230, 2012 WL
5875712, at *3-4 (M.D. Ga. Nov. 20, 2012)(quoting case law denoting
the vapor money theory as "'equal parts revisionist legal history
and conspiracy theory'" and dismissing the plaintiff's complaint
for failing to state an actionable claim); Carrington v. Fed. Nat'l
Mortg. Assoc., Case No. 05-73429, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31605,
2005 WL 3216226, at *2 (E.D. Mich. 2005) (recognizing that vapor
money theory has been "universally rejected by numerous federal
See also, Ivy v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 2:19-cv-01046RAJ-BAT, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182913, at *15 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 29,
Based on the foregoing, this Court also concludes that Count
II through Count VI of the Amended Complaint lack legal merit and
are frivolous as they are based upon a variation of the vapor money
Because any amendment to the complaint would be futile in
light of Plaintiff's patently frivolous claims, the Court will
dismiss Count II through Count VI of Plaintiff's complaint with
prejudice. See Johnson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84092, 2009 WL
2575703, at *4 (as leave to amend pro se complaint which relied
entirely on "vapor money" theory would be futile, the complaint
was instead dismissed with prejudice) (citing G & G TIC. LLC v.
Ala. Controls, Inc., 324 F. App'x 795, 799-800 (11th Cir. 2009)
For the sake of completeness, however, the Court will briefly
address Plaintiff's alleged claims and the grounds for dismissal
raised by Defendants.
2019), report and recommendation adopted, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
181873 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 21, 2019)(while the court did not construe
the plaintiff’s claims to be based on the vapor money theory, the
court dismissed with prejudice a complaint, almost identical to
Amended Complaint in this case, that alleged fraud, RICO
violations, and financial discrimination where plaintiff claimed
that her mortgage debt was paid off when she tendered a “Credit
Agreement Payoff Security Instrument” as a “registered, certified
Private Banker, Creditor and National Bank” and signed it as
“father, son, holy ghost.”)
A. Count I——FRAUD
Count I of the Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant has
“presented Fraud in the factum upon this court of record by not
providing proof of a valid ‘Mortgage’ and ‘Note’ documentation
that Defendant claim[s] the Plaintiff owes.” (Doc. #42, ¶ 20.) In
support, Plaintiff alleges that the bifurcation of the “Mortgage”
and “Note” in MERS is a “nullity,” thus making both documents a
fraud. (Id. at ¶¶ 24, 25.) Plaintiff argues that Defendant failed
to provide a blue-inked signed mortgage promissory note, and
Plaintiff believes Defendant filed a counterfeit copy of the
“Mortgage Debt Lien Contract Security”11 in the county records.12
(Id. at ¶¶ 29, 30.)
instrument as actually executed differs from the one intended for
execution by the person who executes it, or when the instrument
may have had no legal existence, such as when a blind person signs
a mortgage when misleadingly told that the paper is just a letter."
In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff does not identify the
document that he designates as the “Mortgage Debt Lien Contract
Security.” See (Doc. #42, ¶ 29.) The Court presumes Plaintiff is
referring to the recorded mortgage for the Bay Harbor property.
The Amended Complaint also states that because of historic
proven fraud of banks, mortgage and loan servicing companies, and
appraisers, which led to the 2007-2008 collapse of the U.S.
economy, Plaintiff is gravely concerned that the at-issue in
mortgage and note has defects and is fraudulent.
(Doc. #42, ¶
Persona v. Mackey, No. 2:20-cv-2424-BHH-MHC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)) (internal citations omitted); Solymar
Inv., Ltd. v. Banco Santander S.A., 672 F.3d 981, 994 (11th Cir.
2012) (stating that fraud in factum is the sort of fraud that
“procures a party’s signature to an instrument without knowledge
of its true nature or contents.”); Food Mktg. Consultants v. Sesame
Workshop, No. 09-61776-CIV-ZLOCH/ROSENBAUM, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
38679, at *38 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 26, 2010) (fraud in factum occurs
when “a party is tricked into assenting without understanding the
significance of his action . . ..”).
Here, the Amended Complaint does not include allegations that
Plaintiff signed the promissory note without knowledge of its true
nature or contents, or that Plaintiff signed the document without
an understanding of the significance of his actions.
Plaintiff contends that only the original blue-inked copy of the
signed Note and the “County Recorded Mortgage Debt Lien Contract”
Defendant filed a counterfeit copy of the promissory note in county
(Doc. #42, ¶ 30.)
Plaintiff now requests that he be
provided with the original promissory note and mortgage debit lien
so that he may prove fraud in factum.
(Id. at ¶¶ 29-30.)
stated, these allegations are insufficient to state such a claim,
and dismissal of this cause of action should be granted.
2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182913, at *15 (dismissing with prejudice
plaintiff’s claim that the defendant committed fraud in the factum
by not being able to produce the blue-inked promissory note). See
also Provident Bank v. Cmty. Home Mortg. Corp., 498 F. Supp. 2d
558, 574 (E.D.N.Y. 2007) ("Where, as here, there is no evidence
that the mortgagors were unaware that they were signing mortgage
notes, or were falsely informed as to the nature of the notes,
fraud in the factum cannot be asserted.").
To the extent the Amended Complaint is also alleging a fraud
claim, Defendant argues it is subject to the heightened pleading
standards of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).
Coal & Constr. Co. v. Pages Morales, 482 F.3d 1309, 1316 (11th
That rule provides that "[i]n alleging of fraud or
mistake, a party must state with particularity the circumstances
knowledge, and other conditions of a person's mind may be alleged
generally." Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).
Thus, "[t]o satisfy the Rule
statements, documents, or misrepresentations made; (2) the time
and place of and person responsible for the statement; (3) the
content and manner in which the statements misled the Plaintiffs;
and (4) what the Defendants gained by the alleged fraud." Ambrosia
Coal, 482 F.3d at 1316-17 (citing Brooks v. Blue Cross & Blue
Shield, 116 F.3d 1364, 1380-81 (11th Cir. 1997)). "This means the
who, what, when [,] where, and how: the first paragraph of any
Garfield v. NDC Health Corp., 466 F.3d 1255,
1262 (11th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted).
"Failure to satisfy
Rule 9 (b) is a ground for dismissal of a complaint."
Lincare, Inc., 428 F.3d 1008, 1012 (11th Cir. 2005), cert. denied,
549 U.S. 810, 127 S. Ct. 42, 166 L. Ed. 2d 18 (2006).
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint contains a series of conclusory
statements that Defendant committed fraud.
Plaintiff’s claims do
not detail the “who, what, when, where, and how” of Defendant’s
purported fraudulent acts.
Coal, 482 F.3d at 1316-17.
Garfield, 466 F.3d at 1262; Ambrosia
The Amended Complaint provides no
supporting facts to explain why bifurcation of the mortgage and
note is indeed fraudulent, or how this relates to any alleged
fraudulent behavior by Defendant.
See Brooks, 116 F.3d 1381 (A
plaintiff who pleads fraud must “reasonably notify the defendants
of their purported role in the scheme.”)
has failed to allege particular evidentiary facts to establish
what makes the recorded promissory note a counterfeit, the specific
date, location or by whom the counterfeit copy was filed in the
county records, the manner in which Plaintiff was misled, and what
Defendant gained as a result of the alleged fraud.
See Ivy, 2019
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182913, at *17-18 (the court dismissed with
evidentiary facts demonstrating defendant filed a counterfeit copy
of a “Mortgage Debt Lien Contract Security” in county records).
In the face of such pleading deficiencies, the Court dismisses
Count I with prejudice and without leave to amend as it is clear
no factual amendments can cure the deficiencies in Plaintiff’s
fraud claims and satisfy Rule 9(b). Corsello, 428 F.3d at 1012; G
& G TIC. LLC, 324 F. App'x at 799-800.
B. Count II——Breach of Contract
Count II alleges that on May 8, 2019, Plaintiff presented to
Defendant’s legal representatives the Credit Agreement in the
amount of $124,000, which Plaintiff maintains is “legal tender, as
a pay-off, set-off, and discharges in-full the ‘Note’ claimed to
be ‘owned’ by the Defendant,” and is governed by principles of law
applicable to tender of payment under a simple contract pursuant
to U.C.C. § 3-603 and Florida Statute § 673.6031.13
(Doc. #42, ¶¶
U.C.C. § 3-603 and Florida Statute § 673.6031 are identical
and state the following:
§ 3-603. TENDER OF PAYMENT
(a) If tender of payment of an obligation to pay an
instrument is made to a person entitled to enforce the
instrument, the effect of tender is governed by
principles of law applicable to tender of payment under
a simple contract.
(b) If tender of payment of an obligation to pay an
instrument is made to a person entitled to enforce the
instrument and the tender is refused, there is
discharge, to the extent of the amount of the tender, of
the obligation of an endorser or accommodation party
The Amended Complaint further states that despite
Plaintiff providing Defendant’s representatives with the Credit
Agreement, they declined to sign it and refused to accept the
Agreement as “tender of payment.”
(Id. at ¶¶ 38, 51.)
nevertheless contends that because he left the Credit Agreement in
the possession of Defendant’s representatives, Defendant has in
effect “accepted” the Agreement and the “simple contract was
(Id. at ¶¶ 39-40.)
The Amended Complaint goes on to
Agreement, sent Plaintiff a mortgage statement seeking collection
of mortgage debt by June 1, 2019, and in doing so, breached the
simple contract (i.e., Credit Agreement).
(Id. at ¶¶ 42A-B.)
Defendant contends that Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim
fails because it is based on a fictious instrument which is akin
to the “vapor money theory” found to be utterly meritless by other
having a right of recourse with respect to the obligation
to which the tender relates.
(c) If tender of payment of an amount due on an
instrument is made to a person entitled to enforce the
instrument, the obligation of the obligor to pay
interest after the due date on the amount tendered is
discharged. If presentment is required with respect to
an instrument and the obligor is able and ready to pay
on the due date at every place of payment stated in the
instrument, the obligor is deemed to have made tender of
payment on the due date to the person entitled to enforce
U.C.C. § 3-603; Fla. Stat. § 673.6031.
district courts, and because Defendant never “accepted” the Credit
(Doc. #46, pp. 9-10, 12.)
"For a breach of contract claim, Florida law requires the
plaintiff to plead and establish: (1) the existence of a contract;
(2) a material breach of that contract; and (3) damages resulting
from the breach."
Marchisio v. Carrington Mortg. Servs., LLC, 919
F.3d 1288, 1313 (11th Cir. 2019) (quoting Vega v. T-Mobile USA,
Inc., 564 F.3d 1256, 1272 (11th Cir. 2009)).
To succeed on a
breach of contract claim, one of the elements a plaintiff must
establish is the existence of a valid contract.
See Alexander v.
Agilysys Inc., 696 F. App'x 487, 490 (11th Cir. 2017).
necessary elements of a contract are an “offer, acceptance, and
Pope v. Munroe Reg'l Med. Ctr., No. 5:04-cv-508-
Oc-10GRJ, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45871, at *6 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 1,
Based on the allegations set forth in Count II of the Amended
Complaint, the breach of contract claim lacks legal merit.
is so, because it is based upon Plaintiff’s contention that he
tendered payment pursuant to § 3-603 or § 673.6031, by providing
a self-executed Credit Agreement (i.e., money) that discharged his
As previously noted, this claim is based on the
vapor money theory, which has been summarily dismissed by other
federal courts as having no basis in law.
See, e.g., Winsey, 2017
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100731, at *8-10; Johnson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
84092, at *11-12; Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *4;
McLaughlin, 726 F. Supp. 2d at 212; Demmler, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
9409, at *10.
Even assuming arguendo, that Plaintiff’s Credit Agreement is
meritorious, Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim fails due to
Lakeview’s refusal to sign and accept the Agreement (Doc. #42, ¶¶
38, 51), which is a necessary element of a valid contract.
2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45871, at *6.
While Plaintiff argues that
by leaving the Credit Agreement in Defendant’s possession equates
indications of intent to accept an offer, an offeree's silence is
not acceptance of an offer." Winsey, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100731,
at *9-10; see Awai, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128056, at *12 (a
"unilateral attempt to impose a contractual obligation [does] not
create a duty on the part of the defendants to respond, and their
mere silence ... could not create a valid contract.").
Count II of the Amended Complaint is dismissed with prejudice
without leave to file a second amended complaint as it is based on
the “patently frivolous” vapor money theory, and Defendant never
accepted Plaintiff’s Credit Agreement. Awai, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
128056, at *7.
See also Bryant v. Dupree, 252 F.3d 1161, 1163
(11th Cir. 2001) (holding that a plaintiff need not be given a
chance to amend if doing so would be futile); Rodriguez, 2008 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *7-8 (dismissing pro se parties complaints,
foundation," and denying leave to amend because "there is no way
for them to state a cause of action based on this ['vapor money']
C. Count III——Violation of Racketeering, RICO
The third cause of action alleges a violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1962(a), otherwise known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO).
Specifically, the Amended Complaint
states that “Defendant may have been engaged in Civil Rights
Violations with RICO Conspiracy and Racketeering as a Street Gang
since the 1994 Securitization of mortgages or the inception of
Defendant’s claim mortgage debt.”
(Doc. #42, ¶ 63.)
Since the alleged debt was paid-off/set off on May 8th
2019 through the presentment of the $124,000 Tender of
Payment by the Negotiable Security Instrument No.
000016806, the Defendant has clearly demonstrated: A
violation of Section 1962(c), the requires (1) conduct
i.e. sending debt collection statements (2) of an
enterprise i.e. Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC and[/] or
their agent and sub-servicer LOANCARE, LLC (3) through
a pattern i.e. Monthly statements demanding payment via
U.S. Mail (4) of racketeering activity i.e. Collection
of unlawful debt, because the loan was paid . . . This
pattern of Collection of unlawful debt has occurred 12
times since June of 2019.
(Id. at ¶ 59.)
The Amended Complaint goes on to state that Defendant’s
continued request for monthly mortgage payments is extortion as
Defendant has failed to recognize the “Note” is paid-off, and due
to the implied threat of foreclosure and poor credit ratings. (Id.
at ¶ 62.)
Plaintiff also claims that Defendant has created
fraudulent investment portfolios by foreclosing on thousands of
homes where no consideration was given, and Defendant, in turn,
sells or assigns the mortgages with no associated risks.
According to Plaintiff, this action is another “derivative
RACKETEERING scheme perpetrated by the Banks.”
“The [RICO] statute makes it ‘unlawful for any person employed
by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities
of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or
enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or
collection of unlawful debt.’"
Cisneros v. Petland, Inc., 972
F.3d 1204, 1210 (11th Cir. 2020) (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c)).
To state a RICO claim upon which relief can be granted, a plaintiff
must plausibly allege that the defendant: “(1) operated or managed
(2) an enterprise (3) through a pattern (4) of racketeering
activity that included at least two predicate acts of racketeering,
which (5) caused (6) injury to the business or property of the
Id. at 1211.
To show a pattern of racketeering
activity, plaintiff must establish at least two distinct but
related acts of racketeering activity.
Williams v. Mohawk Indus.,
Inc., 465 F.3d 1277, 1283 (11th Cir. 2006).
The RICO Act defines
"racketeering activity" comprehensively in 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1) to
include a variety of enumerated criminal offenses.
Fannie Mae, No. 2:15-cv-20-FtM-29CM, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129197,
at *9 (M.D. Fla. Sep. 25, 2015). Moreover, “to make out a ‘pattern’
of racketeering, [a plaintiff] must plead at least two related
acts of mail or wire fraud . . . and – with respect to each act –
participation in a ‘scheme to defraud [plaintiff] of money or
property’ and [defendant’s] use of either the mails or wires to
execute the scheme.”
Douglas Asphalt Co. v. QORE, Inc., 657 F.3d
1146, 1151 (11th Cir. 2011)(quoting United States v. Ward, 486
F.3d 1212, 1222 (11th Cir. 2007)).
Plaintiff must also allege
that he was injured in his business or property and that the injury
was by reason of the substantive RICO violation.
Sanderson Farms, Inc., 744 F.3d 702, 705 (11th Cir. 2014); see
Bernath v. Youtube LLC, No. 2:16-cv-40-FtM-29CM, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 39257, at *11 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 20, 2017).
Allegations of fraudulent predicate acts are subject to the
See Farrell v. Fannie Mae, No. 2:15-cv-20-FtM-
29CM, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129197, at *8-10 (M.D. Fla. Sep. 25,
2015). "If a plaintiff fails to adequately plead any one of these
elements, [he] has failed to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, and [his] complaint must be dismissed."
F.3d at 1211.
To the extent that Plaintiff seeks to assert a cause of action
under RICO, the Court agrees with Defendant that Plaintiff’s
factual allegations are insufficient to withstand its Motion to
First and foremost, Plaintiff’s RICO claim is premised
on legal fiction that Plaintiff’s self-executed Credit Agreement
is “money” and discharged his mortgage debt.
“[A] promissory note
may be a negotiable instrument, [but] the note itself is not money.
It is nothing more than the acknowledgement of a debt and a promise
to repay the debt at some date in the future.”
Winsey, 2017 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 100731, at *9 (M.D. Fla. June 29, 2017) (quoting
Demmler, 2006 WL 640499, at *4.
The Amended Complaint “cannot
state a cause of action which relies upon the vapor money theory,
Johnson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84092, at *11-12
(quoting Richardson v. Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas, No. 3:08cv-01857, 2008 WL 5225824, at *7 (M.D. Pa. 2008)). See, e.g., Davis
v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., No. 3:19-cv-00410-FDW, 2020 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 30889, at *14-15 (W.D.N.C. Feb. 24, 2020)(denying similar
RICO allegations); Awai, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128056, at *14-15
(denying plaintiff’s “RICO Conspiracy and Racketeering as a Street
Gang” claim with prejudice as it was based on vapor money theory);
Demmler, 2006 WL 640499, at *1, 3-4 (dismissing RICO Act claim,
among others, finding that it would be a "waste of judicial
resources to delve into the voluminous allegations . . .” because
frivolous" and "patently ludicrous"); Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 110010, at *2-8 (dismissing claim of RICO violations because
it was based on the vapor money theory which “lacks any legal
Likewise, Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint contains no factual
allegations to support the existence of a plausible RICO claim.
Even assuming that Defendant, along with LoanCare LLC, constitutes
a RICO “enterprise,” Plaintiff has failed to show that Defendant
has engaged in the “collection of unlawful debt” when it sent
Plaintiff monthly mortgage statements to request payment via U.S.
mail. In the RICO context, the term “unlawful debt” includes “only
debts pertaining to illegal gambling and usurious loans.”
v. JRK Prop. Holdings, No. 6:14-cv-1762-Orl-37KRS, 2014 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 201509, at *6 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 2, 2014) (citing 18 U.S.C. §
"[U]surious lending" is defined as lending at "at least
twice the enforceable rate."
McLaughlin, 726 F. Supp. 2d at 216.
The Amended Complaint provides no allegations of illegal gambling
or that Defendant has charged at least twice the enforceable rate
with respect to his mortgage debt.
foreclosed on numerous homes without risk, Plaintiff has not
alleged that Defendant foreclosed on his Bay Harbor property or
engaged in a pattern of acts that caused injury to his property.
See Cisneros, 972 F.3d at 1211.
Nor is foreclosure sufficient to
establish a RICO claim because “it is not an act of racketeering
when a bank forecloses on a home.”
30889, at *14-15.
Davis, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
Since Plaintiff has failed to allege a RICO
violation and has based his claim on a fictitious Credit Agreement
with respect to the vapor money theory, Defendant’s Motion to
Dismiss is granted and Count III is dismissed with prejudice
without leave to amend because there is no plausible cause of
action based on this theory.
See, e.g., G&G TIC, LLC, 324 F. App’x
at 795; Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *7-8.
D. Count IV——Lack of Jurisdiction to Collect as Holder In Due
Count IV of the Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant is
no longer the holder in due course concerning his mortgage note
because Plaintiff legally tendered the Credit Agreement as payment
to Defendant for satisfaction of the mortgage debt, and Defendant
“intentionally refused” to collect the final payment or payoff in
the amount of $1,250, thus making Plaintiff the holder in due
(Doc. #42, ¶¶ 66-67.)
The Amended Complaint goes on to
allege that “the bank” no longer has jurisdiction to collect any
mortgage debt because the debt was paid “under United States;
STATES; and Local Statutes pursuant to Government Policy, legal
definition, and the 1933 Bankruptcy which continues today under
the WAR POWERS ACT and Trading with the Enemy ACT.” (Id. at ¶ 68.)
Not unlike the other claims in the Amended Complaint, the
Agreement, which is a fictious document that is premised upon the
vapor money theory, and as such, does not present “a cognizable
claim under any identifiable theory of recovery.”
Awai, 2020 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 128056, at *15-16 (the court dismissed with prejudice
the plaintiff’s claim that USSA was not the holder in due course
because the defendants allegedly securitized the loan by sale to
a "real estate backed TRUST” and have "accepted" Plaintiff's final
payment of the mortgage through plaintiff’s self-issued "Credit
Agreement Payoff Security Instrument.”); see Persona, 2020 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 204242, at *20-21 (denying similar claims because
plaintiff had only made legal assertions of legal conclusions which
were contrary to law and insufficient to establish a viable claim).
Additionally, the Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant
sold the at-issue mortgage to an “Investor real estate backed
TRUST,” making the Trust investors the holder in due course and
Defendant just a “Mortgage Manager Servicer/Debt collector,” and
as a result, “vitiates any claim of [Defendant] having jurisdiction
to collect . . ..”
(Id. at ¶¶ 70, 73.) The Amended Complaint
repeats the argument that Defendant failed to provide validation
(Id. at ¶¶ 71-71.)
While it may be true that the mortgage or promissory note was
transferred or sold, the Amended Complaint fails to advance any
legal authority showing that if “Trust investors” are the holder
of Plaintiff’s mortgage note, it obviates Plaintiff’s obligation
to pay his mortgage debt for the Bay Harbor property. “[N]either
Byrd v. Bank Mortg. Sols., No. 14-
14069-CV-MARTINEZ/LYNCH, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204927, at *7 (S.D.
Fla. Apr. 17, 2014) (citing Altier v. Fannie Mae, No. 1:13-cv-164MW/GRJ, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172215 (N.D. Fla. Dec. 6, 2013)).
“Indeed, the borrower does not even have standing to challenge the
Furthermore, “a borrower's demand for the creditor to validate the
debt obligation and the creditor's perceived failure to produce
such validating documentation does not by itself invalidate the
debt.” Id. (citing Lane v. Guar. Bank, No. 6:13-cv-85-Orl-18DAB,
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49440 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 1, 2013)).
is therefore dismissed with prejudice as it fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under Rule 12(b)(6). See, e.g.,
Awai, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128056, at *15-16; Persona, 2020 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 204242, at *20-21. Further, Plaintiff will not be given
an opportunity to amend his Complaint as his claim is based on the
vapor money theory and lacks any legal foundation upon which a
cause of action could be based.
See, e.g., G&G TIC, LLC, 324 F.
App’x at 795; Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *7-8.
E. Count V——Financial Discrimination
financially discriminated against Plaintiff by refusing the “State
Licensed Credit Agreement Payoff Security Instrument,” as a legal
tender of payment in the form of “money,” and by LoanCare, LLC
only accepting “certain types of payments [on behalf of Defendant],
which is a violation of law.”
(Doc. #42, ¶¶ 78-80, 82.)
Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant’s discriminatory actions
violate the “TENDER ACT, SECURITY ACT, FCRA, FCDPA, CIVIL RIGHTS
ACT, and Title 12 Banking Laws.”
(Id. at ¶ 80.)
Defendant argues it cannot be deemed to have discriminated
against Plaintiff by refusing to accept a fraudulent document as
payment-in-full for a mortgage loan, and that no cause of action
(Doc. #46, p. 14.)
Defendant urges the Court to
dismiss Count V because it is “largely incomprehensible and legally
insufficient” in setting forth any viable claim.
(Id., p. 15.)
The Court agrees.
Even liberally construing Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, it
falls short of stating a claim that is plausible on its face.
Plaintiff cites to no legal authority to support his allegation
that Defendant is discriminating against him by requiring him to
repay his mortgage debt using U.S. currency rather than his selfexecuted Credit Agreement. Not surprisingly, Plaintiff’s financial
discrimination cause of action is identical to complaints brought
insufficient claims under Rule 12(b)(6). See, e.g., Persona, 2020
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204242, at *21-22 (claiming defendant’s refusal
to accept as legal tender a “Credit Agreement Payoff Security
Instrument” violated the “Tender Act, Security Act, FCRA, FDCPA,
Civil Rights Act, RICO, 12 U.S.C. § 24, RESPA, and other banking
laws.”); Awai, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128056, at *16-18; Nowak v.
JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 18-cv-4972, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
137511, at *3-4 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 14, 2019); Goodwin, 2019 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 225173, at *2, 7-8; Ivy, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182913, at
With respect to any of the referenced statutes, Plaintiff
fails to cite to any part of these statutes or provide sufficient
factual allegations regarding how Defendant violated such laws.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that a plaintiff must do more
than make conclusory statements to state a claim. See Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 677-78; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
See also Jones, 787
F.3d at 1107 (“. . . it is not enough just to invoke a legal theory
devoid of any factual basis.”)
The Court therefore finds Count IV
fails to meet pleading standards and should be dismissed with
prejudice under Rule 12(b)(6)
the basis of the financial
discrimination claim is founded upon the vapor money theory. See,
e.g., G&G TIC, LLC, 324 F. App’x at 795; Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 110010, at *7-8.
F. Count VI——Other Crimes
Count VI of the Amended Complaint alleges multiple claims
against Defendant that include: 1) Collusion/Conspiracy and Theft
By Deception; 2) Unjust Enrichment; 3) Extortion; 4) Duress; 5)
Illegal Interest Charged/Collected; and 6) Mail Fraud.
Defendant argues Count VI should be dismissed because
it impermissibly combines multiple claims into one count and as a
result, is a shotgun pleading. (Doc. #46, p. 17.)
In Weiland, the Eleventh Circuit identified four types of
shotgun pleadings, one of which “is one that commits the sin of
not separating into a different count each cause of action or claim
Weiland v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 792
F.3d 1313, 1323 (11th Cir. 2015).
Here, Count VI alleges six
Such a pleading fails to give Defendant
“adequate notice of the claims against [it] and the grounds upon
which each claim rests” and warrants dismissal.
Id. at 1323.
Court, however, will briefly address the facts alleged in support
of each cause of action in Count VI.
1) Collusion/Conspiracy and Theft by Deception
authorized agent, LoanCare, LLC, by conspiring to deem Plaintiff’s
self-executed Credit Agreement to be an “unacceptable remittance
coupon,” also conspired to deprive Plaintiff of the value of his
tendered payment of $124,000.
(Doc. #42, ¶ 83.)14
Under Florida law, a claim for civil conspiracy must allege:
"(a) an agreement between two or more parties, (b) to do an
unlawful act or to do a lawful act by unlawful means, (c) the doing
of some overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy, and (d) damage
to plaintiff as a result of the acts done under the conspiracy."
Solar City, Inc. v. Crystal Clear Concepts, LLC, No. 8:19-cv-2538T-33TGW, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4321, at *10 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 10,
2020) (quoting United Techs. Corp. v. Mazer, 556 F.3d 1260, 1271
(11th Cir. 2009)).
Here, the Amended Complaint does not contain
any facts alleging the elements of a civil conspiracy claim.
particular, Plaintiff has failed to allege the existence of an
agreement between Defendant and LoanCare to engage in unlawful
conduct, or that they engaged in an overt act in pursuance of the
The Amended Complaint appears to have two
identified as number “83.” See (Doc. #42, pp. 17-18.)
however, will refer to the paragraphs as numbered.
Moreover, the civil conspiracy claim is based upon Defendant
and Loancare’s refusal to accept Plaintiff’s Credit Agreement as
payment for his mortgage debt, which this Court, along with other
federal courts, have already determined to be a patently frivolous
See, e.g., Winsey, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100731, at *8-
10; Johnson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84092, at *11-12; Rodriguez,
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *4; McLaughlin, 726 F. Supp. 2d
Plaintiff’s claim with respect to civil conspiracy is dismissed
2) Unjust Enrichment
The unjust enrichment cause of action is similarly based upon
the allegation that Plaintiff received “no consideration for the
LoanCare could have sold or securitized the security instrument
(i.e., Credit Agreement) without due consideration to Plaintiff.
(Doc. #42, ¶ 86.)
"A claim for unjust enrichment has three elements: (1) the
plaintiff has conferred a benefit on the defendant; (2) the
defendant voluntarily accepted and retained that benefit; and (3)
the circumstances are such that it would be inequitable for the
defendants to retain it without paying the value thereof."
Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. First Choice Care Chiropractic & Rehab.
Ctr., No. 8:20-cv-330-T-60CPT, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172166, at *5
(M.D. Fla. Aug. 17, 2020).
While the Amended Complaint fails to
allege that the Plaintiff conferred any benefit on the Defendant,
it does allege that Plaintiff provided the Credit Agreement to
Plaintiff, however, has admitted that Defendant refused to sign
the document and did not accept it as “tender of payment” for his
(Doc. #42, ¶ 38.)
Thus, Plaintiff has failed to
allege an unjust enrichment claim upon which relief may be granted.
Further, the Credit Agreement is based on the vapor money
theory and is unenforceable as a matter of law. See Demmler, 2006
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9409, at *13-14.
Accordingly, any claim for
unjust enrichment in Count VI is dismissed with prejudice with no
leave to amend as “there is no way . . . to state a cause of action
based on this [vapor money] theory.” Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 110010, at *7-8.
See also, G&G TIC, LLC, 324 F. App’x at
3) Extortion and Duress
Count VI of the Amended Complaint also alleges a civil claim
for extortion and duress. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that
payment of the Bay Harbor mortgage debt that has been allegedly
paid-off by Plaintiff’s self-executed Credit Agreement, and in
doing so, is extorting money from him under duress due to an
implied threat of foreclosure and bad credit.
(Doc. #42, ¶¶ 87-
88.) “There is no recognized private right of action for extortion
in Florida and specifically under Fla. Stat. § 836.05.”
Jan, No. 2:18-cv-383-FtM-29MRM, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173223, at
*5 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 9, 2018).
Additionally, Plaintiff’s claim for
extortion is based upon the fictious Credit Agreement that cannot
be characterized as “money” and has not discharged Plaintiff’s
original mortgage debt.
See Demmler, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9409,
Therefore, as a matter of law, Defendant’s Motion is
granted with respect to Plaintiff’s claims for extortion and
Plaintiff will not be granted an opportunity
to amend his Complaint as doing so would be futile.
G&G TIC, LLC, 324 F. App’x at 795; Rodriguez, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
110010, at *7-8.
4) Illegal Interest Charged/Collected
Not unlike the other claims in Count VI, Plaintiff alleges
that pursuant to Florida Statute § 673.6031(3) he legally tendered
full payment for his original mortgage debt when he presented the
Credit Agreement to Defendant, and as a result, Defendant has been
illegally charging compounding interest on the mortgage loan for
the Bay Harbor property.
(Doc. #42, ¶ 89.)
In Winsey, the Court
rejected a similar argument and dismissed the claim, stating:
And with respect to the section 673.6031 claim, that
claim is merely the vapor money theory disguised with a
new name. To be sure, the claim under section 673.6031
is premised on the idea that Winsey's "promissory note"
was the equivalent of actual money and when Winsey sent
Nationstar the note, she tendered payment under section
673.6031. As noted earlier though, a "note itself is not
'money.' It is nothing more than the acknowledgment of
a debt and a promise to repay the debt at some date in
the future." Demmler, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9409, 2006
WL 640499, at *4. Because the basis for the section
673.6031 claim has been roundly rejected by other
courts, the claim is due to be dismissed with prejudice.
Winsey, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100731, at *10-11.
reasons addressed in Winsey, this Court dismisses with prejudice
Plaintiff’s claim for illegal interest charged in Count VI of the
5) Mail Fraud
The Amended Complaint alleges that “Defendant continues to
send Mortgage collection statements via U.S. Mail to the Plaintiff.
Since the debt was satisfied with the Security Instrument No.
000016806 this action constitutes Mail Fraud.”
(Doc. #42, ¶ 90.)
This claim also fails as it is based upon the patently frivolous
theory that Plaintiff’s Credit Agreement discharged his mortgage
debt, and because Plaintiff has no civil remedy under the federal
mail fraud statute.
See Austin v. Glob. Connection, 303 F. App'x
750, 752 (11th Cir. 2008) (holding that “federal wire and mail
fraud statutes are criminal statues which do not provide for civil
The mail fraud claim set forth in Count VI of the
Amended Complaint is therefore dismissed with prejudice under Rule
12(b)(6). See, e.g., G&G TIC, LLC, 324 F. App’x at 795; Rodriguez,
2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110010, at *7-8.
Defendant has also filed a Motion for Sanctions pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11.
Plaintiff: 1) in an amount to be determined and that represents
the attorney’s fees and cost incurred by Defendant for in defending
“baseless claims from inception;” 2) dismiss all claims with
prejudice; and 3) award any additional relief the Court deems just
(Id., p. 15.)
Plaintiff did not file a response.
"The purpose of Rule 11 is to deter baseless filings in
procedure of federal courts." Uppal v. Wells Fargo Fin., No. 8:19cv-2319-MSS-TGW, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25907, at *4 (M.D. Fla.
Feb. 11, 2021) (quoting Peer v. Lewis, 606 F.3d 1306, 1311 (11th
'appropriate sanctions' after notice and a reasonable opportunity
to respond, where an attorney or party submits a pleading to the
reasonable factual basis; (2) is not legally tenable; or (3) is
submitted in bad faith
for an improper purpose." Riccard v.
Prudential Ins. Co., 307 F.3d 1277, 1294 (11th Cir. 2002).
is not legally tenable when (1) the party's claims are objectively
frivolous; and (2) the person who signed the pleadings should have
been aware that they were frivolous.
See Baker v. Alderman, 158
F.3d 516, 524 (11th Cir. 1998).
Courts have inherit power to impose Rule 11 sanctions, “that
attorney's fees and costs, and outright dismissal of a lawsuit.”
Stonecreek-AAA, Ltd. Liab. Co. v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., No. 1:12cv-23850-COOKE/TUR, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189048, at *3 (S.D. Fla.
May 13, 2014). “According to the Eleventh Circuit, ‘[t]he key to
unlocking the inherent power of the Court is a finding of bad
faith.’" Barash v. Kates, 585 F. Supp. 2d 1347, 1361 (S.D. Fla.
2006) (quoting Barnes v. Dalton, 158 F.3d 1212, 1214 (11th Cir.
Bad faith, in part, occurs when the court finds “a . . .
fraud has been practiced upon it, or that the very temple of
justice has been defiled.” Id. at 1362 (quoting Chambers v. Nasco,
501 U.S. 32, 46, 111 S. Ct. 2123, 115 L. Ed. 2d 27 (1991)).
Nevertheless, "[b]ecause of their very potency, inherent powers
must be exercised with restraint and discretion." Chambers, 501
U.S. at 44.
Makere v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 3:20-cv-905-MMH-JRK,
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23346, at *37 n.13 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 8, 2021)
(citing Patterson v. Aiken, 841 F.2d 386, 387 (11th Cir. 1988)).
“[T]he court must take into account the plaintiff's pro se status
when determining whether the filing was reasonable."
Healthcare Indus. Oligopoly, 391 F. App'x 777, 778 (11th Cir. 2010)
(quoting Thomas v. Evans, 880 F.2d 1235, 1240 (11th Cir. 1989)).
The Court declines to impose Rule 11 sanctions.
has dismissed the entirety of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint with
warranted at this time.
Accordingly, it is now
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #46) is GRANTED.
Defendants Motion for Sanctions (Doc. #47) is DENIED.
DONE AND ORDERED at Fort Myers, Florida, this
Parties of record
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?