Rowe v. Seterus, Inc et al
Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER on Defendant Harmon's Motion to Dismiss. (Zaleski, Christine)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CAROL B. ROWE and LINDA A. ROWE,
SETERUS, INC.; MARK P. HARMON; and
FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE
Civil Action No.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
This is an action arising out of a mortgage foreclosure. Plaintiffs Carol Rowe and Linda
Rowe are the daughters of the property owner, Arthur Rowe, who is now deceased, and who at
some point defaulted on his mortgage. They have brought suit against Seterus, Inc., the
foreclosing entity; Mark Harmon, an attorney; and Federal National Mortgage Association.
Defendant Harmon has now moved to dismiss the claims against him for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the following
reasons, the motion will be granted.
Construing the complaint liberally in favor of the pro se plaintiffs, the complaint alleges
On November 22, 2008, Arthur Rowe executed a mortgage for $280,000 on a property
that he owned in Hull, Massachusetts. The mortgage secured a note to HSBC Mortgage
On December 31, 2011, Mr. Rowe died. At some point, Mr. Rowe’s loan went into
default. At some point, the defendant, Seterus, Inc., began attempting to foreclose on the
In May 2016, Carol and Linda Rowe, who appear to be sisters (and daughters of the
deceased Mr. Rowe), received notice of their father’s default on his mortgage loan and that a
foreclosure sale had been scheduled.
On September 9, 2016, Carol B. Rowe, both individually and purportedly as executrix for
the estate of Arthur Rowe, and Linda A. Rowe commenced this action pro se.1
The principal issue raised in the complaint is that Seterus proceeded with foreclosure
even though it “knew or had reason to know that the purported default had been satisfied by
payment from a bank owned life insurance policy (BOLI) in which the owner of the note and the
trust deed was the insured of the beneficiary, and that upon the death of the owner Arthur Rowe,
the trust deed was paid in full under the terms of the policy.”
Defendant Harmon is named in Counts Two and Three, which allege that he violated the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(4) and (5), 1692g(a) and (b).
There is no allegation that either Carol or Linda Rowe signed the note or mortgage; that
either sister owes any money on the mortgage loan; or that anyone has ever attempted to collect
any debt from either sister. Accordingly, neither Carol nor Linda Rowe is a “consumer” under
The claim brought as executrix of the estate has been dismissed.
the FDCPA, which is defined as “any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any
debt.” 15 U.S.C. 1692a(3); see Coburn v. Gonzales, 141 F. Supp. 3d 1339, 1343 (S.D. Fla.
Furthermore, the complaint contains no plausible factual allegations to support an
FDCPA claim against Harmon. There is no allegation that Harmon did anything unlawful or
improper, or that he was even involved in the foreclosure proceedings against the property.
Finally, the complaint contains no plausible allegations that Harmon threatened anyone
with arrest, imprisonment, garnishment, attachment or any other action that could not be legally
taken. See FDCPA §§ 1692e(4) and (5). Nor is there any allegation of any communication
between Harmon and anyone concerning the nature of the debt or disputes over it. See id.
§§ 1692g(a) and (b).
For the foregoing reasons, the motion of defendant Mark P. Harmon to dismiss all claims
against him for failure to state a claim is GRANTED.
/s/ F. Dennis Saylor
F. Dennis Saylor, IV
United States District Judge
Dated: April 18, 2017
It is unclear, to say the least, whether either plaintiff (as opposed to the estate of the father) has standing to
sue any party named in the complaint.
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