United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. GODBEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Order addresses Defendant Wilmington Savings Fund Society,
FSB's (“Wilmington”) Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss . For the reasons below, the Court grants
Origin of the Dispute
dispute centers on mortgaged property in Dallas owned by
Plaintiff BAPA Brooklyn 2004, LLC (“Brooklyn”).
Notice Removal Ex. B-1, Original Pet. 7-8 [1.1]. Wilmington,
a national banking association, holds Brooklyn's
mortgage. Id. Due to Brooklyn's alleged default
on its loan, Wilmington sought to foreclose on the property
multiple times. Def.'s Brief Support Mot. Dismiss 1 .
Brooklyn brought two actions in state court prior to this
suit to prevent the foreclosure attempts. Id. Both
of those suits were dismissed. Id.
Wilmington again attempted to sell the property in
foreclosure proceedings, Brooklyn filed this suit in state
court, alleging Wilmington breached its contract by failing
to give the notice of default and opportunity to cure
required by the security documents. Notice Removal Ex. B-1,
Original Pet. 7-8 [1.1]. Wilmington filed this motion to
dismiss, arguing that res judicata bars Brooklyn's
Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must
determine whether the plaintiff has asserted a legally
sufficient claim for relief. Blackburn v. City of
Marshall, 42 F.3d 925, 931 (5th Cir. 1995). A viable
complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). To
meet this standard, a plaintiff must “plead[ ] factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). Courts “may take into account documents
incorporated into the complaint by reference or integral to
the claim, items subject to judicial notice, matters of
public record, orders, items appearing in the record of the
case, and exhibits attached to the complaint whose
authenticity is unquestioned.” Meyers v. Textron,
Inc., 540 Fed.Appx. 408, 409 (5th Cir. 2013).
doctrine of res judicata ensures that “a final judgment
on the merits of an action precludes the parties or their
privies from relitigating issues that were or could have been
raised in that action.” Oreck Direct, LLC v. Dyson,
Inc., 560 F.3d 398, 401 (5th Cir. 2009). When the prior
judgment was rendered by a state court, federal courts must
apply that state's res judicata standard to determine the
effect of the state judgments. Shimon v. Sewerage &
Water Bd. of New Orleans, 565 F.3d 195, 199 (5th Cir.
2009). Under Texas law, res judicata applies when (1) the
parties to both actions are either identical or in privity;
(2) a court of competent jurisdiction rendered a final
judgment on the merits in the prior action; and (3) the
second action is based on the same claims that were raised or
could have been raised in the first action. Citizens Ins.
Co. of Am. v. Daccach, 217 S.W.3d 430, 449 (Tex. 2007).
Texas applies the “transactional” test to
determine whether claims were raised or could have been
raised in the prior action. Getty Oil Co. v. Ins. Co. of
N. Am., 845 S.W.2d 794, 798-99 (Tex. 1992) (“[A]
judgment in an earlier suit precludes a second action by the
parties and their privies not only on matters actually
litigated, but also on causes of action or defenses which
arise out of the same subject matter and which might have
been litigated in the first suit.”) (internal quotation
res judicata arguments cannot be raised in a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss and must be pled as an affirmative defense.
Meyers, 540 Fed.Appx. at 410. Courts may consider
res judicata grounds for dismissal, however, “when the
facts are admitted or not controverted or are conclusively
established.” Id.; see also Hall v.
Hodgkins, 305 Fed.Appx. 224, 227-28 (5th Cir. 2008)
(“If, based on the facts pleaded and judicially
noticed, a successful affirmative defense appears, then
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper.”).
The Court Finds that Res Judicata Warrants Dismissal
threshold matter, Brooklyn argues that neither the state
court pleadings and judgments attached to Wilmington's
motion nor its res judicata arguments may be considered in
deciding this Rule 12(b)(6) motion. The Court disagrees and
finds it may take notice of the documents attached to
Wilmington's motion because they are part of the public
record directly relevant to the allegations in Brooklyn's
complaint. See Meyers, 540 Fed.Appx. at 409. Res
judicata arguments may be entertained here, as the elements
of res judicata are evident from uncontroverted facts
judicially noticed. See Hall, 305 Fed.Appx. at 229
(“Because [plaintiff's] own pleadings and the
judicially noticed, publicly available documents all reveal
that res judicata's four requirements are satisfied, the
district court properly granted defendants' Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss.”).
facts establish the first two elements of res judicata. The
Texas state court judgments show, and Brooklyn does not
dispute, that the parties in this action are identical to the
parties in the two previous lawsuits and that there are final
judgments on the merits in those cases rendered by state
courts with jurisdiction to do so. Appx. Support Def.'s
Mot. Dismiss 2-3, 14, 16-17, 42 . Brooklyn challenges only
the third element, arguing that the different foreclosure
notices in the previous cases distinguish ...