Franklin et al v. Poore Substitute Trustee, Ltd. et al
ORDER denying as moot 9 Motion for Extension of Time; granting 22 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim; granting 26 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; denying as moot 29 Motion for Tempo rary Restraining Order; granting 32 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; denying as moot 36 Motion for Entry of Default. Signed by US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle on 12/6/2017. Copy sent to Guy Edward Franklin via US Mail 5187 Bennett Unit B, JB Andrews, MD 20762. (Stouch, L.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
RITA RENE THOMAS FRANKLIN and
GUY EDWARD FRANKLIN,
POORE SUBSTITUTE TRUSTEE, LTD,
NATIONWIDE TRUSTEE SERVICES,
INC., MATRESSA MORRIS, and
DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY
AMERICAS, as Trustee for Residential
Accredit Loans, Inc., Mortgage AssetBacked Pass-Through Certificates Series
This cause comes before the Court on defendant Deutsche Bank Trust's motion to
dismiss [DE 22], defendant Poor Substitute Trustee's motion to dismiss [DE 26], and defendant
Matressa Morris's motion to dismiss [DE 32], as well as plaintiffs motions for a temporary
restraining order and preliminary injunction [DE 29] and for default [DE 36]. The matters are
ripe for ruling. The case is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
On June 23, 2016, a foreclosure action regarding property owned by plaintiffs was filed
in Wake County Superior Court. The Clerk of Court held a hearing on September 3 0, 2016, and
entered an order permitting the foreclosure to proceed. On October 3, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a
Notice of Appeal in Wake County Superior Court. A hearing was held on the issue over July 31
and August 1, 201 7. The Court issued an order permitting the foreclosure to proceed. On August
24, 2017, plaintiffs filed an application for a temporary stay and writ of supersedeas. The stay
application was denied on August 29, and the writ was denied on October 6. On September 7,
2017, plaintiffs, proceeding prose, filed the instant suit in federal court, alleging a series of state
law and constitutional claims based in the foreclosure proceeding. Three of the named
defendants have moved to dismiss the claims.
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a matter must be dismissed if the court
determines it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(l). The issue of subject
matter jurisdiction is a threshold one-without it, the case cannot proceed. See Steel Co. v.
Citizens for a Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 96 (1998). The court may raise it regardless of
whether the defendants do. Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 455 (2004).
The federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
ofAm., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). "A United States District court has no authority to review final
judgments of a state court in judicial proceedings." Brown & Root, Inc., v. Breckenridge, 211
F.3d 194, 198 (4th Cir. 2000), quoting Dist. of Columbia Court ofAppeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S.
462, 482 (1983). This restriction applies not only to direct review of issues actually decided, but
also claims "inextricably intertwined" with state court decisions. 460 U.S. at 486-87. That is to
say, if, to find for the plaintiffs on a particular claim, a district court would have to hold that the
state court wrongly decided the issues before it, then jurisdiction is foreclosed as to that claim.
Plyler v. Moore, 129 F.3d 728, 731 (4th Cir. 1997).
Because of this, all of plaintiffs' claims must be dismissed. As their complaint states,
"[t]he events [giving rise to the claims] occurred in Wake County North Carolina Clerk of Courts
office." [DE 1 at 4]. Their claims are: that the deed relied upon in the foreclosure proceeding was
void; that the person representing one of the defendants in the foreclosure proceeding was not a
licensed attorney; that the defendants misrepresented the contents of documents in the
foreclosure hearing; that defendants' actions in the hearing violated plaintiffs' constitutional
rights; and that the court itself erred in granting the foreclosure order. This last claim drives the
problem home: plaintiffs have filed this suit because they are unhappy with the result they
received in: Wake County Superior Cotirt. A party who loses ill state court does not have· the right
to seek what would essentially be a substantive review of that judgment, despite the losing
party's claim that the judgment itself was a violation of their rights. Johnson v. De Grandy, 512
U.S. 997, 1005-1006 (1994). That is exactly what this would be, and so this Court does not have
Plaintiffs are appearing prose. Because of this, they are entitled to a certain amount of
leniency, especially as to the formalities of pleading requirements. See Weller v. Dept. ofSoc.
Servs. for City of Baltimore, 901F.2d387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990). But prose status cannot operate
to manufacture jurisdiction when none exists.
Finally, Nationwide Trustee Services has yet to appear in this case. The sufficiency of
service of process in this case under Rule 12(b)(5) has been questioned. [DE 23 at 6]. Defendant
Matressa Morris, in her memorandum in support of her motion to dismiss, claimed that
Nationwide Trustee Services has declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. [DE 33 at 1-2]. As
this case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, it is unnecessary to unravel the reasons behind this
defendant's failure to appear.
Defendants' motions to dismiss [DE 22, 26, 32] are GRANTED. Plaintiffs' motion for
extension of time is DENIED as moot. [DE 9]. Plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining
order is also DENIED as moot. [DE 29]. Plaintiffs' motion for entry of default is DENIED as
moot. [DE 36]. The clerk is directed to enter judgment and close the case. ·
SO ORDERED, this
day of December, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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