Williams et al v. Bank of America
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 14] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). An Order of Dismissal will be filed separately. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 6/2/14. (JWJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
EARL WILLIAMS and CAROL
BANK OF AMERICA,
No. 4:14CV740 AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. The motion will be granted. Additionally, having reviewed the case, the Court
finds that it must be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint filed in
forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. An action is frivolous if it Alacks an arguable basis in either law or fact.@
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31
(1992). An action is malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named
defendants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes,
656 F. Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D.N.C. 1987), aff=d 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987). A
complaint fails to state a claim if it does not plead Aenough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.@ Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Plaintiffs, who are proceeding pro se, bring this action against Bank of America
under the False Claims Act and Titles VI and VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Plaintiffs allege that Defendant changed their home loan from a fixed rate to a “jumbo
prime loan,” which increased their monthly rate from $1,300 to $1,700. Plaintiffs further
allege that Defendant refused to grant them a modification of their loan, which they could
not afford to pay. Plaintiffs say this led to the foreclosure of their home. Plaintiffs seek
money damages and an order vacating the foreclosure.
The only private suits permitted under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. '' 3729 et
seq. (the “FCA”) are qui tam actions. The United States is the “real party of interest” in
an action under the FCA, and qui tam actions under the FCA may be brought only by
licensed attorneys. See, e.g., U.S. ex rel. Mergent Servs. v. Flaherty, 540 F.3d 89, 93
(2nd Cir. 2008); United States v. Onan, 190 F.2d 1, 6 (8th Cir. 1951) (“[W]e do not think
that Congress could have intended to authorize a layman to carry on . . . as attorney for
the United States but must have had in mind that such a suit would be carried on in
accordance with the established procedure which requires that only one licensed to
practice law may conduct proceedings in court for anyone other than himself.”). As a
result, Plaintiffs FCA cause of action is legally frivolous.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq. (“Title VI”)
states, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national
origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Plaintiffs have not alleged that they were discriminated against because of their race,
color, or national origin. Nor have they alleged discrimination under any program or
activity receiving federal financial assistance. As a result, Plaintiffs’ Title VI cause of
action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq. (“Title VIII”)
prevents discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or
national origin” in residential real estate-related transactions.
42 U.S.C. § 3605.
Plaintiffs have not alleged that they were subjected to unlawful discrimination. As a
result, Plaintiffs’ Title VIII action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
For these reasons, the Court will dismiss this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Because Plaintiffs have failed to allege any meritorious causes of action, the Court will
certify that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
[ECF No. 14] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
An Order of Dismissal will be filed separately.
Dated this 2nd day of June, 2014.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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