Rufus v. Seneca Mortgage Servicing, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Peter J. Messitte on 8/28/2017. (c/m 08/28/2017 - jf3s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
SENECA MORTGAGE SERVICING,
LLC, et al.,
This is a case where a pro se Plaintiff, having apparently sought “online” legal advice
after filing flawed Original and Amended Complaints, clearly does not understand the law and
legal system and is asking for exorbitant sums of money based on so-called legal claims that do
not exist. It is unclear from the pleadings what Plaintiff’s status is vis-à-vis the property in
question—10502 Cedarwood Lane, Fort Washington, Prince George’s County, Maryland—nor
is it clear whom she is suing and for what, but from the pleadings it appears that Plaintiff is not
even the owner but instead a tenant on the property, which is owned by someone else1. It further
appears that Plaintiff feels that she has made payments as a renter to someone who did not
properly apply her payments to her rent. Plaintiff makes reference in her Original Complaint to a
note and a deed, but never indicates if the deed is in her name or if the note is signed by her. If
she is neither the owner of the property nor the signatory of the note, she obviously lacks
standing to pursue claims relative to the deed and note in this (or any) court. In any event, this
In fact, the Court has confirmed with the Land Records Division of the Circuit Court for Prince
George’s County that, as of April 24, 2017, the deed to the property is in the name of Residential
Mortgage Loan Trust and that the prior owners were Jennifer L. Dupree and Gerard J. Dupree. It appears
that the most recent title may have been taken in lieu of foreclosure. There is no record of Brenda Rufus
ever having any ownership interest in the property.
much is clear: Plaintiff has set forth no facts in the pleadings she has filed heretofore that
suggest anything like a denial of constitutional rights (which ordinarily do not apply in dealings
between private citizens or companies, as opposed to cases where governmental actions are
Beyond that, perhaps in an effort to avoid jurisdictional problems, Plaintiff has
improperly failed to write in the addresses of some Defendants, either in her Complaint or
Amended Complaint, indicating merely that they are “on file.” She states that she has
subsequently dropped Defendant Dupree because of his Maryland residence (which the Court
only discovered because of the address listed on the Summons Plaintiff sent him), but the
Summons to Defendant Radziewicz (also discovered by the Court) also runs to an address in
Stevensville, Maryland. This means that there is a continuing lack of total diversity of
citizenship, which deprives the Court jurisdiction over any causes of action for fraud, negligence,
and misrepresentation, none of which are federal question cases.
Acknowledging whatever anguish Plaintiff may be going through with respect to the
property, she may not simply file a case in federal court and ask for an opportunity to be heard.
Defendants, whether companies or individuals, are entitled to have prompt dismissal of
groundless lawsuits that may be filed against them. This is such a lawsuit.
Plaintiff asks for yet another opportunity to be heard. There is no right to be heard orally,
even as to dispositive motions, in federal court. See Spark v. Catholic University of America, 510
F.2d 1277, 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1975) (“[D]ue process does not include the right to oral argument on
a motion . . . .”); Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b) (“By rule or order, the court may provide for submitting
and determining motions on briefs, without oral hearings.”). Allowing litigants, pro se or
otherwise, to pursue futile oral arguments or file unfounded supplementary pleadings is fair
neither to Defendants, the Court, nor to other litigants who may have valid claims to pursue. The
Court has an obligation as a gatekeeper to be sure that the claims it does hear are well grounded
in the law and not merely based on unspecific grievances that the law does not recognize.
The unalterable fact remains that Plaintiff has not given any indication of having a claim
cognizable in this Court.
For these reasons, Defendant Seneca Mortgage Servicing, LLC’s Motion to Strike (ECF
No. 25) is GRANTED, Plaintiff’s Motion to be Heard (ECF No. 27) is DENIED, Plaintiff’s
claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to all Defendants, and the Clerk of the Court is
directed to CLOSE this case.
A separate Order will ISSUE.
PETER J. MESSITTE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 28, 2017
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