Hackbart et al v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. et al
Memorandum of Opinion and Order: The Motion to Dismiss of Defendants BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, America's Wholesale Lender, and Bank of America, N.A. is Granted. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan on 6/8/15. (LC,S) re 4
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Chris J. Hackbart, et al.,
BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., et al., )
CASE NO. 1: 15 CV 571
JUDGE PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
Memorandum of Opinion and Order
This matter is before the Court upon the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants BAC Home
Loans Servicing, LP, America’s Wholesale Lender, and Bank of America, N.A. This case arises
out of a mortgage loan obtained by plaintiffs in 2007 in Wisconsin. The issue before the Court is
whether there exists personal jurisdiction over the moving defendants.1 For the following
reasons, the motion is GRANTED.
Defendant Great Lakes Financial, alleged to have offices in Wisconsin and to
have been administratively dissolved by the State of Wisconsin, did not join in the
motion. However, it does not appear that this defendant has been served.
Plaintiffs Chris J. Hackbart and Faye A. Hackbart aka Fayne A. Hackbart, proceeding pro
se, filed this Verified Complaint for Fraud, Recission, Injunctive Relief, Violation of Federal
Truth in Lending Act, [and] Unfair Business Practices against defendants BAC Home Loans
Servicing, LP (hereafter, BAC), America’s Wholesale Lender (hereafter, AWL), Bank of
America, N.A. (hereafter, BANA), Great Lakes Financial, LLC, and Does 1-10.
Plaintiffs reside in Wisconsin and none of the defendants are Ohio citizens. The
Complaint alleges the following. Plaintiffs executed a promissory note in favor of AWL in 2007.
At that time, plaintiff also executed a mortgage securing the note. The mortgage encumbered
property located in Wisconsin. The mortgage loan2 was originated through Great Lakes
Financial, LLC, a loan broker with offices in Wisconsin. The original lender was AWL, which
has offices in California and does business in Ohio. AWL failed to make proper disclosures
concerning the mortgage loan. The mortgage loan, appended to the Complaint, shows that it was
closed in Wisconsin.
At some point, AWL merged with, or was owned by, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.
(not a party herein), which was subsequently merged with BANA. BANA became the assignee
lender. BANA has offices in North Carolina and does business in Ohio.
BAC, with offices in Texas, is BANA’s servicer with respect to the mortgage loan and in
2011, BAC recorded a notice of default for the mortgage loan. The sub-prime mortgage
meltdown and loss of work had caused plaintiffs to fall behind on mortgage payments.
Plaintiffs assert various claims relating to defendants’ alleged failure to disclose the
costs, fees, and interest associated with the mortgage loan. Plaintiffs seek to set aside the
The mortgage loan consists of the note and the mortgage.
resulting foreclosure and cancellation of the mortgage loan, along with damages.
This matter is now before the Court upon Motion to Dismiss of Defendants BAC Home
Loans Servicing, LP, America’s Wholesale Lender, and Bank of America, N.A.
Moving defendants seek dismissal on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction and failure
to state a claim. The Court will address the issue of jurisdiction first because in the absence
thereof, dismissal of these defendants is appropriate.
The plaintiff always bears the burden of establishing that personal jurisdiction exists.
Serras v. First Tennessee Bank National Ass’n, 875 F.2d 1212, 1214 (6th Cir. 1989). The
plaintiff’s burden is to make a prima facie showing that personal jurisdiction exists in order to
defeat dismissal. Bird v. Parsons, 289 F.3d 865, 871 (6th Cir. 2002) A prima facie showing is
made by “establishing with reasonable particularity sufficient contacts between [defendant] and
the forum state to support jurisdiction.” Neogen Corporation v. Neo Gen Screening, Inc., 282
F.3d 883, 887 (6th Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted).
The Sixth Circuit has clearly set forth the standard of review in a diversity case, as
alleged to be the basis of subject matter jurisdiction here:
[A] plaintiff must satisfy the state-law requirements for personal jurisdiction. Thus, [the
plaintiff] must demonstrate that both due process and Ohio's long-arm statute are
satisfied. We have recognized that Ohio's long-arm statute is not coterminous with
federal constitutional limits. Therefore, we begin by analyzing whether the requirements
of Ohio's long-arm statute are met and then separately consider whether the exercise of
jurisdiction would comport with due process.
Schneider v. Hardesty, 669 F.3d 693 (6th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). Ohio's long-arm statute,
establishing a statutory basis for jurisdiction over foreign defendants, states in part:
(A) A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person who acts directly or by an
agent, as to a cause of action arising from the person's:
(1) Transacting any business in this state;
(2) contracting to supply services or goods in this state;
(6) causing tortious injury in this state to any person by an act outside this state
committed with the purpose of injuring persons, when he might reasonably have expected
that some person would be injured thereby in this state....
Ohio Rev.Code Ann. § 2307.382(A).
If the exercise of jurisdiction is proper under this statute, the Court looks to whether due
process is satisfied:
There are two forms of personal jurisdiction: general and specific. General jurisdiction is
found where contacts are so continuous and systematic as to render a foreign defendant
essentially at home in the forum State. Specific jurisdiction depends on an affiliation
between the forum and the underlying controversy, principally, activity or an occurrence
that takes place in the forum State and is therefore subject to the State's regulation.
[Specific jurisdiction employs a three-part analysis:] (1) purposeful availment of the
privilege of acting in the forum state or causing a consequence in the forum state, (2) a
cause of action arising from activities in the state, and (3) a substantial enough
connection with the forum state to make the exercise of jurisdiction over the defendant
Schneider, 669 F.3d at 701 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Defendants point out that the Complaint contains no apparent connection with Ohio.
Rather, the case arises from lending activity that occurred in Wisconsin and concerns property
located in Wisconsin. Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the only asserted basis of
personal jurisdiction is that AWL “did business in the State of Ohio” and BANA “does business
in the State of Ohio.” (Compl. ¶¶ 3, 4) As such, defendants contend, there is no basis for
jurisdiction under Ohio’s long-arm statute and there is no need to proceed to an analysis under
the due process clause.
In response, plaintiffs do not address defendants’ argument that Ohio’s long-arm statute
does not support the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them. At most, plaintiffs assert
generally that defendants have offices in Ohio and that BANA “has many offices and property
for sale in the State of Ohio.” (Doc. 6 at 3, 4) However, because plaintiffs have not identified any
connection between their claims and defendants’ contacts with Ohio, plaintiffs have failed to
satisfy their burden of establishing that jurisdiction exists.
Ohio’s long arm statute requires that the damages at issue must arise from the defendant's
contacts with Ohio and that there be a proximate cause relationship between the two.
JM-Nipponkoa Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Dove Transp., LLC, 2015 WL 145041 (S.D.Ohio 2015)(citing
Brunner v. Hampson, 441 F.3d 457, 463 (6th Cir.2006)). Accordingly, because under Ohio law a
court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant only if specific
jurisdiction can be found under one of the enumerated bases in Ohio's long-arm statute, a
defendant’s contacts that are unrelated to plaintiff's claims cannot support a finding of personal
jurisdiction. Veteran Payment Systems, LLC v. Gossage, 2015 WL 545764 (N.D.Ohio February
10, 2015) (citations omitted).
Thus, in the absence of any showing that the claims herein arise from defendants’ Ohio
contacts, the long-arm statute has not been satisfied. Moreover, the Complaint shows that this
cause of action occurred exclusively in Wisconsin. There is no allegation that defendants’
activities in Ohio gave rise to plaintiffs’ claims. Therefore, plaintiffs have failed to meet their
burden of establishing personal jurisdiction under Ohio’s long-arm statute and there is no need to
analyze the due process requirements. Conn v. Zakharov, 667 F.3d 705 (6th Cir. 2012) (“In other
words, if jurisdiction is not proper under Ohio's long-arm statute there is no need to perform a
Due Process analysis because jurisdiction over the defendant cannot be found.”)
Having found no personal jurisdiction the Court need not (and is unable to) determine
whether the individual claims fail to state a claim.
For the foregoing reasons, the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants BAC Home Loans
Servicing, LP, America’s Wholesale Lender, and Bank of America, N.A. is granted.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Patricia A. Gaughan
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?