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Henderson v. First Mortgage Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

February 27, 2019

LINDA HENDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
FIRST MORTGAGE CORPORATION and FREEDOM MORTGAGE CORPORATION, Defendants.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          REBECCA RUTHERFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court in this pro se civil action are Defendant Freedom Mortgage Corporation's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 12) and Defendant First Mortgage Corporation's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 17). For the reasons stated, the motions should be granted.

         Background

         On August 27, 2012, Plaintiff Linda Henderson (“Henderson”) executed a promissory note payable to First Mortgage Corporation (“First Mortgage”), its successors, and assigns, as evidence of a loan she obtained to purchase a home in Desoto, Texas (the “Property”). See Def.'s App., Ex. A at 1-10 (ECF No. 14-1).[1] the same day, Henderson signed a deed of trust (the “Deed of Trust”) naming Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as nominee for First Mortgage to secure the loan represented by the promissory note. Id.

         In September 2015, Henderson lost her job. Pl.'s Original Pet. 2 (ECF No. 1-3). Then, she admits, she became delinquent on her mortgage payments. Id. Henderson alleges she contacted First Mortgage to request mortgage assistance while seeking a new job, and, in response a First Mortgage representative purportedly told her that if she found gainful employment she would receive a loan modification. Id.

         Thereafter, on November 5, 2015, First Mortgage assigned the Deed of Trust to Freedom Mortgage Corporation (“Freedom Mortgage”). Def.'s App., Ex. B at 1-3 (ECF No. 14-2). After the transfer, Henderson claims she worked temporary jobs and continued to update First Mortgage on her financial situation. Pl.'s Original Pet. 2. She even states “there was no problem” until the transfer to Freedom Mortgage, after which time she claims she was denied a loan modification eight times from 2016 to 2018 despite having obtained gainful employment. Id. Specifically, she avers Freedom Mortgage told her she was denied a loan modification because Freedom Mortgage mistook her as the owner of Henderson's Chicken, a restaurant in significant debt. Id. With the help of a “mortgage assistance agency, ” Henderson was able to show she did not own On Henderson's Chicken. Id. 3. Further, she claims Freedom Mortgage agreed to cooperate with First Mortgage to process a new loan modification application for her. Id.

         On February 3, 2018, however, Freedom Mortgage notified Henderson she did not qualify for loan modification. Id. Then, on February 6, 2018, Freedom Mortgage conducted a foreclosure sale of the Property and purchased the Property at that sale. Id.; Def.'s Br. 3, ¶ 12 (ECF No. 13). To memorialize the sale, a substitute trustee's deed and affidavit was filed in the real property records of Dallas County, Texas, on February 28, 2018. Def.'s App., Ex. C at 1-3 (ECF No. 14-3).

         Despite the foreclosure sale, Henderson remained at the Property. See Pl.'s Original Pet. 3. She avers sixty couples and thirty realtors visited the Property for a tour despite the fact that she was still living there. Id. On March 7, 2018, Henderson claims a man visited the Property and told her relative who was then present at the Property that the Property needed to be vacated in 24 hours or the locks would be changed. According to Henderson, this individual told Henderson's relative that he was a Freedom Mortgage representative. Id.

         Two days later, on March 9, 2018, Henderson, proceeding pro se, filed a petition in state court naming First Mortgage and Freedom Mortgage as defendants. Specifically, she alleges claims under (1) sections of the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (“RESPA”) and associated regulations; (2) 21 C.F.R. § 203.355, the National Housing Act (the “NHA”), 12 U.S.C. § 1715v, and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (the “UMRA”); and (3) the Texas Property Code and the Texas Debt Collection Act (the “TDCA”). Id. 3-4. She also requested injunctive relief to enjoin and restrain Freedom Mortgage from “completing the foreclosure sale process.” Id. 4.

         Freedom Mortgage and First Mortgage timely removed the case to federal court. Defendants each filed a separate motion for judgment on the pleadings. Henderson never filed a response to either motion. Therefore, the Court considers the motions without the benefit of a response from Henderson.

         Legal Standard

         “The standard for deciding a Rule 12(c) motion is the same as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.” Guidry v. Am. Pub. Life Ins. Co., 512 F.3d 177, 180 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007)). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations must “‘raise [the plaintiff's] right to relief above the speculative level, '” but they do not need to be detailed. Lee v. Verizon Commc'ns, Inc., 837 F.3d 523, 533 (5th Cir. 2016) (citing Rosenblatt v. United Way of Greater Hous., 607 F.3d 413, 417 (5th Cir. 2010). When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court's review is limited to the live complaint, any documents attached to that complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to dismiss that are “central to the claim and referenced by the complaint.” Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498-99 (5th Cir. 2000)). A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se [petition], however inartfully pleaded, must be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         Analysis

         A. Claims Against First ...


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