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Cram v. La Mirada Owners Association, Inc.

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

June 11, 2019

ELENA CRAM, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Elena Cram (“Cram”), now proceeding pro se, sues defendants La Mirada Owners Association, Inc. (“La Mirada”), Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”), and Flight 2010, LLC (“Flight 2010”), asserting various state-law claims and alleging against Wells Fargo a claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617. La Mirada and Wells Fargo move for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the court grants Wells Fargo's motion for summary judgment on Cram's RESPA claim and dismisses this claim with prejudice. The court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims and dismisses these claims without prejudice. Consequently, the court does not reach the merits of La Mirada's motion for summary judgment.


         Cram, a citizen of Texas, filed this lawsuit in state court alleging state-law claims against defendants Wells Fargo and La Mirada. Wells Fargo, a citizen of South Dakota, removed the case to this court based on diversity jurisdiction, alleging that La Mirada, a Texas citizen, had been improperly joined. On March 1, 2017 Cram filed a motion to dismiss La Mirada from the case. The court granted the motion, dismissing Cram's claims against La Mirada without prejudice. On January 16, 2018 Cram filed, and the court granted, an unopposed motion for leave to file an amended complaint. In her amended complaint, Cram joins La Mirada and Flight 2010[1] as defendants, and alleges claims against Wells Fargo for violations of RESPA and the Texas Debt Collection Act, Tex. Fin. Code Ann. § 392.001 et seq. (West 2016); against Wells Fargo and La Mirada for breach of contract, breach of duty of cooperation, negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, and declaratory judgment; and against Flight 2010 for quiet title and trespass to try title. Wells Fargo and La Mirada move for summary judgment. Cram has not responded to the motions.


         Defendants filed their motions for summary judgment on April 29, 2019. Cram's responses were due 21 days after defendants filed their motions. See N.D. Tex. Civ. R. 7.1(e) (“A response and brief to an opposed motion must be filed within 21 days from the date the motion is filed.”). Cram's responses were due by May 20, 2019. She has not responded, and the motions are ripe for decision.[2]

         Cram's failure to respond to the summary judgment motions filed by La Mirada and Wells Fargo does not permit the court to enter “default” summary judgments, but the court may accept as true all of defendants' undisputed facts. See Tutton v. Garland Indep. Sch. Dist., 733 F.Supp. 1113, 1117 (N.D. Tex. 1990) (Fitzwater, J.). Moreover, “[a] summary judgment nonmovant who does not respond to the motion is relegated to her unsworn pleadings, which do not constitute summary judgment evidence.” Bookman v. Shubzda, 945 F.Supp. 999, 1002 (N.D. Tex. 1996) (Fitzwater, J.) (citing Solo Serve Corp. v. Westowne Assocs., 929 F.2d 160, 165 (5th Cir. 1991)). In addition,

[i]f a party fails . . . to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . (2) consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion [and] (3) grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials-including the facts considered undisputed-show that the movant is entitled to it[.]

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2)-(3).

         Cram's pro se status does not excuse her failure to respond to defendants' motions. As the court stated in Bookman:

There is a point at which even pro se litigants must become responsible for the prosecution of their own cases if their claims are to warrant the court's attention. It is not unjustifiably onerous to require pro se parties to respond to proper motions for summary judgment. All summary judgment nonmovants shoulder the same obligation. District courts can make appropriate allowances for pro se responses that may be somewhat less-artfully written than those of represented parties. This can be accomplished, however, without excusing them from the most basic requirement that they file a response.

Bookman, 945 F.Supp. at 1005.


         The court considers, first, whether Wells Fargo is entitled to summary judgment on Cram's RESPA claim, which is the only ...

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