RODRIGUES v. WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Kevin McNulty on 5/30/2017. (JB, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JOSE RODRIGUES, pro Se,
Civ. No. 16-cv-3845 (KM)
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., U.S.
BANK N.A., HSBC BANK USA
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS
SYSTEMS, INC. (“MERS”), WMC
MORTGAGE CORP., GENERAL
ELECTRIC COMPANY and DOES 1100,
KEVIN MCNULTY, U.S.D.J.:
This matter comes before the Court on the plaintiff’s motion for
reconsideration (ECF nos. 34, 35). For the reasons stated herein, that motion is
Jose Rodriguez brings this action in connection with a 2005 mortgage
and 2007 refinancing on his property in Kearny, New Jersey. By Order (ECF
no. 33) and Opinion (ECF no. 32) dated December 23, 2016, I granted the
motions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) to dismiss the complaint
for lack of jurisdiction, and under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to
dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. Those three motions were brought by defendants General Electric
Company (“GE”) and WMC Mortgage Corp. (“WMC”); HSBC Bank USA National
Association as Trustee (“HSBC”), U.S. Bank N.A. (“U.S. Bank”), and Wells Fargo
Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”); and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.
(“MERS”) (ECF no. 24).
The motions to dismiss were granted on the following grounds. First, the
court lacks jurisdiction over some (but not all) of the plaintiff’s claims under
the Rooker-Feidman doctrine. (Opinion
§ I1I.A) Second, doctrines of resjudicata,
including New Jersey’s entire controversy rule, bar the plaintiff’s claims. The
plaintiff had a full and fair opportunity to litigate these matters in a prior state
court action, in which the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants
was affirmed on appeal. See Rodrigues v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. A-237314T4, 2016 WL 2759358 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. May 13, 2016) (copy at ECF
no. 21-3), certf denied, 2016 WL 6305413 (N.J. Oct. 7, 2016). (Opinion
Finally, and in the alternative, these claims, arising out of mortgage
transactions in 2005 and 2007, are barred by the applicable statutes of
Mr. Rodrigues has moved for reconsideration of the Court’s Opinion and
Order dismissing his complaint with prejudice. (ECF nos. 34, 35) Local Rule
7.1(i) governs motions for reconsideration. Such a motion must specifically
identify “the matter or controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge
or Magistrate Judge has overlooked.” Id. Reconsideration is granted sparingly,
and only in three situations: (1) when there has been an intervening change in
the law; (2) when new evidence has become available; or (3) when necessary to
correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice. See North River Ins.
Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995); Carmichael v.
Everson, 2004 WL 1587894 (D.N.J. May 21, 2004). “A motion for
reconsideration is improper when it is used ‘to ask the Court to rethink what it
had already thought through
rightly or wrongly.”’ Oritani Say. & Loan Ass ‘n v.
Fidelity & Deposit Co., 744 F. Supp. 1311, 1314 (D.N.J. 1990) (quoting Above
the Belt v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D.Va. 1983)).
Nothing in this motion approaches the threshold for reconsideration.
The plaintiff raises a number of theories as to why the 2005 mortgage
and/or 2007 refinancing were invalid. (These arguments are for the most part,
but not entirely, in ECF no. 34.) There is nothing here that was not or could
not have been raised in connection with the original motions to dismiss. Both
the facts and the cases cited date from long ago.’ At any rate, the Court’s prior
Opinion did not reach those substantive grounds, which have no bearing on
the actual grounds for dismissal.
As to the actual grounds for dismissal—the Rooker-Feidman
jurisdictional bar, res judicata, and the statute of limitations—the plaintiff
likewise raises nothing that could not have been raised before. (These
arguments are for the most part, but not entirely, in ECF no. 35.) He cites a
1991 Appellate Division decision. He states that he believes MERS was not
licensed in New Jersey in 2005, but that he did not learn of that fact until 2015
and therefore did not raise it in the prior state action. Nevertheless, this fact
was knowable, if not actually known to him, and it could have been raised in
the earlier action. The plaintiff states that he was likewise unaware of the case
of Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.,
135 S. Ct. 790 (2015).
That case, however, was decided in 2015, and, for the reasons stated in my
prior Opinion, has no application here. (Opinion
§ III.C) Other, more recent
cases cited in the motion stand only for such general propositions as the
Supreme Court’s sole authority to overrule one of its own precedents. This
Court was well aware of such principles when it filed its prior Opinion. Other
authorities, such as a Yale Law Review Comment, do not persuade the Court.
The single exception, the non-precedential case of Martinez v. Bank of America,
664 F. Appx 250 (3d Cir. Nov. 9, 2016), does not aid the plaintiff. It upheld a district
court dismissal of a mortgagor’s action based on the entire controversy rule.
For the reasons expressed above, the plaintiff’s motion for
reconsideration (ECF nos. 34, 35) is DENIED. A separate Order accompanies
Dated: May 30, 2017
United States District Judge
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