United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GEORGE A. O'TOOLE, Jr., District Judge.
The magistrate judge to whom this matter was referred has recommended that Bank of America, N.A.'s ("BANA") motion to dismiss be granted. The plaintiff has filed written objections to the Report & Recommendation ("R&R") (dkt. no. 131), and BANA has submitted a reply to those objections.
The plaintiff contends that res judicata does not bar his claims against BANA because many of the facts alleged in the Amended Complaint did not arise until after his prior actions. I agree with the magistrate judge's analysis that the claims here are sufficiently similar to those alleged previously to satisfy both the state and federal tests for res judicata.
Having reviewed the relevant pleadings and submissions, I approve and ADOPT the magistrate judge's recommendation in its entirety. Accordingly, BANA's Motion to Dismiss (dkt. no. 96) is GRANTED.
It is SO ORDERED.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON BANK OF AMERICA'S MOTION TO DISMISS (#96)
Plaintiff Paul Jones has brought claims against a number of defendants for violations of fair debt collection and credit reporting laws. On November 25, 2014, Defendant Bank of America. N.A. ("BANA") filed a motion to dismiss the claims that Plaintiff has brought against it. (#96.) Plaintiff responded in opposition to the motion. (#105.) Having reviewed the pleadings and the applicable law, the Court recommends that BANA's motion to dismiss be ALLOWED, on grounds of res judicata, and that Plaintiff's claims against BANA be DISMISSED.
In 2004, Plaintiff financed the purchase of a home at 572 Park Street in Stoughton, Massachusetts, by executing a promissory note in exchange for a loan from Optima Mortgage Corporation. (Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss, #97, exh. A, 2-3.) The note was secured by a mortgage to Mortgage Electronic Registration System. Inc. (MERS), as nominee for Optima and its successors and assigns. ( Id. ) BANA maintains that the mortgage was later assigned to the Bank of New York, as trustee; that Plaintiff defaulted on the loan; and that the Bank of New York properly foreclosed on the property in late 2007. ( Id. at 2 & n.2.) Plaintiff unsuccessfully challenged the assignment and foreclosure in both state and federal court. See Jones v. Bank of New York, No. 12-cv-11503-RWZ, 2013 WL 3728382 (D. Mass. July 12, 2013); Jones v. Bank of New York, NOCV2009-00471 (Norfolk Super. Ct. Oct. 19, 2012), aff'd, 998 N.E.2d 799, 2013 WL 6331595 (Mass.App.Ct. 2013); see also Jones v. Optima Mortg. Corp., No. 13-cv-10531-RWZ (D. Mass. May 10, 2013) (voluntarily dismissed). Despite the foreclosure sale, Plaintiff continues to reside at the property. (First Amended Complaint, #78-1 at 18, 39.)
On January 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against numerous defendants including BANA, which services the mortgage for Bank of New York. (Complaint, #1; see #97 at 6.) In his First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff accuses BANA of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), the Telephone Communications Act ("TCA"), the Massachusetts Debt Collection Regulation Act ("MDCRA"), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") by its conduct in attempting to collect the balance due on the defaulted loan, and in reporting the default and foreclosure to consumer reporting agencies. (#78-1 at 27-39.) On November 25, 2014, BANA filed its motion to dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint. In that motion, BANA argues that because of the rulings that courts have made in his previous lawsuits, Jones' claims are barred by the doctrine of res judicata. (#97 at 3-4.) For the reasons set out below, the Court agrees with BANA.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss challenges a party's complaint for failing to state a claim. In deciding such a motion, a court must "accept as true all well-pleaded facts set forth in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the pleader's favor.'" Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011) (quoting Artuso v. Vertex Pharm., Inc., 637 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2011)). When considering a motion to dismiss, a court "may augment these facts and inferences with data points gleaned from documents incorporated by reference into the complaint, matters of public record, and facts susceptible to judicial notice." Id. (citing In re Colonial Mortg. Bankers Corp., 324 F.3d 12, 15 (1st Cir. 2003)).
In order to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiff must provide "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The "obligation to provide the grounds of [the plaintiff's] entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555 (quotation marks and alteration omitted). The "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " and to cross "the line from conceivable to plausible." Id. at 555, 570.
"A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads 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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). However, the court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Simply put, the court should assume that ...