Quattleaum v. Bank of America, N.A. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Theodore D. Chuang on 12/7/2016. (c/m 12/07/2016 jf3s, Deputy Clerk)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
TERRY D. QUATTLEBAUM,
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.,
COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC. and
RICHARD G. REESE, JR.,
Civil Action No. TDC-16-1711
Self-represented plaintiff Terry D. Quattlebaum has filed suit against Defendants Bank of
America, N.A., Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Countrywide"),
and Richard G. Reese, Jr.
(collectively, "Defendants") alleging violations of the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act,
Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. ~ 7-401 (LexisNexis 2015); Md. Code, Criminal Law ~ 8-501; Md.
Code, Tax-General ~ 10-912; 11 U.S.C. ~ 727; Section 230(b) of the National Housing Act
("NHA"), 12 U.S.C. ~ 1715u(b) (2012); and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"),
15 U.S.c. ~~ 1692- 1692p (2012). Presently pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, ECF No. 24. Having reviewed the Complaint and the
briefs, the Court finds no hearing necessary.
forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.
See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set
Quattlebaum's primary residence is located on Hanover Parkway in Greenbelt, Maryland
On January 23, 2008, Quattlebaum refinanced the mortgage on the Property
with Dell Franklin Financial ("Dell"), taking out a mortgage for $188,028. In 2012, the deed of
trust from the refinanced mortgage was assigned to Bank of America, which also holds the note.
On January 31, 2012, Quattlebaum filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
He received a
discharge of his eligible debts on May 9, 2012. The Property was not administered during the
bankruptcy proceeding, and Quattlebaum continues to reside there.
During the bankruptcy
proceeding and after it concluded, Defendants continued to collect mortgage payments.
a loan modification
"to include a 'partial
$9,481.36" because the mortgage was 12 months delinquent.
The loan modification was not
completed or recorded in Prince George's County land records.
Compl. ~ 38, ECF NO.2.
Quattlebaum claims that this offer misled him and the United States Department of Housing and
("HUD") because it deliberately omitted certain facts.
For example, he
asserts that Defendants had previously reported, falsely, that the Property was "acquired in a
action and conveyed to a third party," and that Defendants
statement in order to defraud HUD and improperly
had made such a
receive tax benefits.
Id. ~~ 22-24.
Defendants also initiated an action to collect fees accrued on late mortgage payments between
January 6, 2012 and September 9,2015.
Quattlebaum asserts generally that Defendants have a history of "violations of unfair and
deceptive trade practices."
Id. ~ 17.
He notes that following a federal investigation
Additional facts and background information can be found in this Court's Memorandum
Opinion in Quattlebaum v. Bank of America, NA., No. TDC-14-2688, 2015 WL 1085707 (D.
Md. Mar. 10, 2015).
agreed to consent judgments requiring them to comply with certain servicing
with its mortgage
He states that such misconduct
with [the] negligence
manipulation of the real estate servicing provisions stated in this complaint." Id ~ 18. He claims
that Defendants have made deliberate misstatements in the course of servicing his refinanced
mortgage and have misrepresented themselves as the beneficiaries of the property deed in order
to gain control of the Property. He further asserts that "several offices of the Defendants" and at
least two law firms are also involved with Defendants'
mortgage servicing business and that
these entities are engaged in a conspiracy against him. Id ~ 25.
On May 22, 2014, Quattlebaum filed suit against Bank of America, Countrywide, and
Reese, in his capacity as Resident Agent of Dell, seeking to quiet title to the Property and
claiming damages for the defendants' alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"),
15 U.S.C. ~~ 1601-1667f (2012), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"),
U.S.C. ~~ 2601-2617 (2012), and Uniform Commercial Code ("U.C.C.") ~ 3-501, as well as
Maryland common law. See Quattlebaum v. Bank of America, NA., No. TDC-14-2688, 2015
WL 7185438, at *1 (D. Md. Nov. 12, 2015) ("Quattlebaum
The Court granted the
defendants' motion to dismiss all of Quattlebaum's claims but provided Quattlebaum with leave
to amend certain claims. Quattlebaum filed an Amended Complaint on March 24, 2015, and the
defendants again moved to dismiss.
On November 12, 2015, the Court granted the motion and
dismissed Quattlebaum's claims with prejudice. See id at *6.
Quattlebaum filed this case on April 14, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Maryland for
Prince George's County. Acknowledging that this litigation "was initially filed ...
on May 22,
2014," the date of the original complaint in Quattlebaum I, the Complaint again seeks to quiet
title to the Property.
Compi. ~ 7.
Quattlebaum also demands reimbursement
mortgage payments made after the discharge of his debts in bankruptcy, an order requiring the
Defendants to reimburse HUD for payments associated with a loan modification,
requiring Defendants to pay outstanding property taxes on the Property, and compensatory and
Defendants removed the case to this Court on May 27, 2016, asserting
based on diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C.
under 28 U.S.C.
1332 and federal question
On August 5, 2016, Defendants filed their Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim.
Defendants seek dismissal of the Complaint on several grounds, including that the claims
are barred by res judicata
because they arise from the same causes of action alleged in
Quattlebaum 1. Quattlebaum argues that res judicata does not apply and that he should have the
opportunity to prove his case. The Court concludes that Quattlebaum's claims are barred by res
judicata and therefore does not address Defendants' remaining arguments.
To defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must allege enough
facts to state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is
plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id
Although courts should construe pleadings
litigants liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), legal
conclusions or conclusory statements do not suffice, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court must
examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and
construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Albright v. Oliver,
510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. ofComm'rs
of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266,268 (4th
Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final judgment on the merits in an earlier decision
precludes the parties from relitigating issues that were raised or could have been raised during
that action. Pueschel v. United States, 369 F.3d 345, 354 (4th Cir. 2004). This doctrine applies
when there is: (1) a final judgment on the merits in a prior lawsuit; (2) an identity of cause of
action in both the earlier and later suits; and (3) an identity of parties or their privies in the two
suits. Id. at 354-55. There can be no dispute that Quattlebaum I culminated in a final judgment
on the merits. Likewise, with respect to the third prong, in both Quattlebaum I and the present
case, Quattlebaum named as defendants Bank of America, Countrywide, and Reese as Resident
Agent of Dell.
Thus, the focus is on the second prong. Cases involve the same "cause of action" if they
"arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions or the same core of operative facts."
Pueschel, 369 F.3d at 355 (quoting In re Varat Enters., Inc., 81 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1996)).
Even if a plaintiff is proceeding under a different legal theory, "(a]s long as the second suit arises
out of the same transaction or series of transactions as the claim resolved by the prior judgment,
the first suit will have preclusive effect."
Ohio Valley Envtl. Coal. v. Aracoma Coal Co., 556
F.3d 177, 210 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).
judicata bars not only claims actually litigated in the first case, but also claims that could have
been litigated in that proceeding. Pueschel, 369 F.3d at 355-56.
that this litigation
began with the filing of Quattlebaum
Quattlebaum appears to recognize that the two cases arise from the same series of transactions.
Both cases relate to the refinanced mortgage on the Property, Quattlebaum's
bankruptcy case, a
loan modification application, and Defendant's subsequent actions to enforce the mortgage.
both cases, Quattlebaum raises claims relating to Bank of America's status as holder of the Note
and alleged misrepresentations by Bank of America concerning the mortgage. In Quattlebaum I,
Quattlebaum alleged that Bank of America did not have authority to enforce the Note, made false
statements relating to the mortgage, and failed to file a proof of claim in
Here, Quattlebaum alleges that Defendants made fraudulent
statements related to Bank of America's status as the holder of the Note and misrepresentations
concerning the loan modification.
In addition, he repeats the allegations that Defendants do not
have standing or authority to enforce the refinanced loan and that Defendants failed to file a
proof of claim in the bankruptcy case.
All of these claims are precluded because they were
asserted and resolved in Quattlebaum 1.
To the extent that Quattlebaum raises new claims in this case, those claims are also
precluded because they arise from the same series of transactions and core of operative facts at
issue in Quattlebaum I, such that Quattlebaum could have raised them in the earlier action. For
this reason, it does not matter that the causes of action in Quattlebaum I were grounded in
RESP A, TILA, the Uniform Commercial Code, and Maryland common law, while the present
case is brought under the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act, the Bankruptcy Code, the
National Housing Act, and the FDCP A. "The determination of whether two suits arise out of the
same cause of action ...
does not tum on whether the claims asserted are identical.
turns on whether the suits and the claims asserted therein arise out of the same transaction or
series of transactions or the same core of operative facts." Pueschel, 369 F.3d at 355 (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted). Although Quattlebaum has asserted claims under some
different state and federal statutes than those relied upon Quattlebaum I, all of the new claims
arise from the same transactions and core of facts relating to the mortgage, bankruptcy, and loan
modification and thus could have been asserted in Quattlebaum I Finally, Quattlebaum provides
no basis to conclude that any new information asserted in the Complaint was unavailable to him
at the time of the first lawsuit.
Consequently, his claims are barred.
See Covert v. LVNV
Funding, LLC, 779 F.3d 242, 248 (4th Cir. 2015).
In his Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, Quattlebaum asserts that res judicata should
not apply because the Court previously ruled that the Complaint "does not involve common
questions oflaw or fact." Opp'n at 9, ECF No. 26. The Court understands Quattlebaum to be
referencing the Court's previous Order denying Quattlebaum's
"Motion to Joinder Related
Cases," filed August 4,2016, in which Quattlebaum requested that this case be consolidated with
five lawsuits that he claimed were related to this one, including Quattlebaum 1. The Court
denied that motion because the five cases identified by Quattlebaum were "either not active or
not pending before the United States District Court for the District of Maryland."
Order at 2,
ECF No. 25. Quattlebaum I had already been dismissed at that time, and the remaining cases
were filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland and the Circuit
Court of Maryland for Prince George's County. Thus, contrary to Quattlebaum's
Court did not previously decide that this case does not share common questions of law or fact
with Quattlebaum I, but rather declined to consolidate this case with Quattlebaum I because that
case was already closed.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 24, is GRANTED.
A separate Order shall issue.
Date: December 7, 2016
United States District Judge
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