United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
Stanley J. Bryant, Plaintiff,
The CIT Group/Consumer Finance, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. Miller United States District Judge
before the court is an amended motion for summary judgment
filed by defendant Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. k/n/a Bank of
America, N.A. (“BANA”) and Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems, Inc. a/k/a MERS (“MERS”)
(collectively, “Defendants”). Dkt. 58. After
considering the motion, response, and applicable law, the
court is of the opinion that the motion should be GRANTED.
case relates to real property located at 2234 Dawn Shadow
Way, Fresno, Texas (the “Property”). Dkt. 20.
Plaintiff Stanley J. Bryant filed various tort claims and
claims for violations of several statutes against Defendants
relating to the foreclosure of the Property. Id.
Defendants did not file a motion to dismiss any of these
claims. Instead, they filed a motion for summary judgment.
Dkt. 49. On May 28, 2018, the court granted in part and
denied in part the motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 57. The
court granted summary judgment on a claim relating to a
securitization challenge, a fraudulent lien claim, a claim
relating to a break in the chain of assignments of the lien,
negligence, gross negligence, and negligence per se claims,
and a claim that the statute of limitations barred
foreclosure. Dkt. 57. It denied summary judgment on
Bryant's forgery allegations, his request for declaratory
judgment and to quiet title, his money had and received and
unjust enrichment claims, his fraud claim, and his claim
under the Texas Debt Collection Act. Id. However,
because the Defendants appeared to largely rely on an
improper legal standard in their motion and in the interest
of judicial economy, the court allowed Defendants to file a
renewed motion. See Id. Defendants have now filed an
“amended” motion requesting judgment on the
remaining claims. Dkt. 58. Bryant has filed a response, and
the motion is ripe for disposition.
shall grant summary judgment when a “movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “[A] fact is genuinely in dispute
only if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Fordoche, Inc. v. Texaco,
Inc., 463 F.3d 388, 392 (5th Cir. 2006). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986).
“For any matter on which the non-movant would bear the
burden of proof at trial . . ., the movant may merely point
to the absence of evidence and thereby shift to the
non-movant the burden of demonstrating by competent summary
judgment proof that there is an issue of material fact
warranting trial.” Transamerica Ins. Co. v.
Avenell , 66 F.3d 715, 718-19 (5th Cir. 1995); see
also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323-25. To prevent summary
judgment, “the non-moving party must come forward with
‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348
(1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The court must view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and
draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the non-movant.
Envtl. Conservation Org. v. City of Dallas, 529 F.3d
519, 524 (5th Cir. 2008).
assert that all of the remaining causes of action fail as a
matter of law because Bryant has no competent summary
judgment evidence to support the elements of each claim. Dkt.
58 at 1. While many of their arguments continue to assert
that Bryant failed to meet the pleading standard, which is
not what is at issue at the summary judgment stage,
Defendants have provided sufficient assertions regarding
Bryant's lack of evidence to shift the burden of
presenting evidence demonstrating an issue of material fact
contends that his fraud claims survive because Defendants
rely on the argument that he did not plead his fraud claims
adequately. Dkt. 60. Bryant does not provide any evidence to
support his fraud claim. See Id. Bryant similarly
asserts that Defendants failed to point to an absence of
evidence for his TDCA claim. Id. Bryant again does
not provide any evidence to support his TDCA claim. See
Id. Bryant therefore fails to demonstrate that there is
an issue of material fact for trial with regard to these
regard to his forgery claim, Bryant argues that there is some
evidence from which a jury could conclude that one or both of
the assignments are forged. Dkt. 60. Bryant provides evidence
of notary-acknowledged documents from foreign jurisdictions
that he contends show markedly different signatures for the
signers of the mortgage documents involved in Bryant's
loan than the signatures on the documents in this case.
Id. The court is unable to notice a significant
difference among the signatures, and Bryant has not presented
evidence that the signatures were made by different people,
and that those people were unauthorized to sign the documents
on behalf of the signatory. See Guillen v. Countrywide
Home Loans, Inc., No. H-15-849, 2015 WL 4393155, at *2
(S.D. Tex. July 15, 2015) (Miller, J.). Under Texas law,
“forgery is defined as altering, making, completing,
executing, or authenticating a writing so that it purports to
be the act of another who did not authorize that act.”
In re Estate of Flores, 76 S.W.3d 624, 630 (Tex.
App.-Corpus Christi 2002, no pet.). “Texas recognizes
typed or stamped signatures-and presumably also scanned
signatures-so long as they are rendered by or at the
direction of the signer.” Reinagel v. Deutsche Bank
Nat'l Tr. Co., 735 F.3d 220, 227 (5th Cir. 2013)
(citing two Texas cases and the Restatement (Second) of
Contracts § 134 (1981)). Moreover, the documents Bryant
contends are forged are notarized. See Dkt. 20, Exs.
10, 16. The court finds that Bryant has failed to present
sufficient evidence to raise an issue of material fact
regarding his forgery allegations.
next argues that his declaratory judgment, quiet title, and
money had and received claims survive because they are based
on his forgery charge. Dkt. 60. However, since Bryant has not
presented evidence of an issue of material fact with regard
to forgery, these claims also must fail.
Bryant has failed to present an issue of material fact with
regard to his claims, Defendants' “amended”
motion for summary judgment, which seeks summary judgment on
the remainder of Bryant's claim, is GRANTED. Bryant's
remaining claims against Defendants are DISMISSED WITH