United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
B. RUBEN DEWAYNE, Plaintiff,
FIRST NATIONAL BANK of ARIZONA, MERS, INC., CITI MORTGAGE, INC. and JPMORGAN MORTGAGE ACQUISITION CORP. a/k/a JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Ruben DeWayne, (“DeWayne” or
“Plaintiff”) filed the underlying action against
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.
(“MERS”) and JPMorgan Chase Bank
“Defendants”),  seeking a declaratory judgment
concerning each party's rights to the property located at
53 Charlotte Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Compl. 1
[#1]. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss [#29]
which is presently before the court. For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion to Dismiss [#29] is GRANTED.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must include factual
allegations that, taken as true, demonstrate a plausible
claim for relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 - 58 (2007). “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).
Evaluating the plausibility of a complaint is a two-step
process. “First, ‘the court must separate the
complaint's factual allegations (which must be accepted
as true) from its conclusory legal allegations (which need
not be credited).' Second the court must determine
whether the remaining facts allow it to ‘draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.'” Jane Doe No. 1 v.
Backpage.com, LLC, 817 F.3d 12, 24 (1st Cir. 2016)
Facts as Alleged in the Complaint
purposes of a motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in the
complaint are taken as true. Plaintiff acquired title to the
property located at 53 Charlotte Street, Dorchester,
Massachusetts, after it was conveyed to him by quitclaim deed
on October 14, 2015. Compl. [#1, Ex. 2]. Plaintiff had
performed work on the subject property, and the prior owner,
Leitta Brooks (“Brooks”), gave Plaintiff title in
exchange for the work done and $2, 500. Compl. 2 [#1].
to conveying title to Plaintiff, on or about May 11, 2007,
Brooks entered into a loan agreement for the property with
First National Bank of Arizona. Compl. ¶ 5 [#1]. First
National Bank of Arizona required Brooks to submit a single
payment to CitiMortgage, Inc. Compl. ¶ 6 [#1]. On or
about September 22, 2014, MERS acting as sole nominee for the
lender, transferred and assigned First National Bank of
Arizona's interest to Chase. Compl. ¶ 8
[#1]. Chase thereafter became the servicer on the loan.
Compl. ¶ 6, 7 [#1]. Chase claims to be the current owner
and holder of the note and mortgage on the subject property.
Compl. ¶ 2 [#1].
alleges that Brooks received a copy of a Forensic Audit
Report of the loan which showed that the principal balance on
the loan did not reduce during a five year period. Compl.
¶¶ 20, 22 [#1]. The report also showed that the
agreed upon interest rate on Brook's loan was supposed to
be 8.790%, but that Defendants were actually charging Brooks
an interest rate of 9.201%. Compl. ¶¶ 20, 22 [#1].
According to Plaintiff, Defendants overcharged Brooks by $6,
128.77. Compl. ¶23 [#1]. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants misrepresented to Brooks the interest rate and
finance charges associated with the mortgage. Compl.
¶¶ 22, 23, 26 [#1].
Plaintiff May Not Assert Brooks' Claims
alleges in Count I that Defendants fraudulently overcharged
Brooks by charging an interest rate on her loan that was
higher than the rate agreed to by the parties at the time the
loan was originated, that Defendants knew they were going to
overcharge Brooks, and that they purposely crafted language
in the note that would limit their liability. Compl.
¶¶25-27 [#1]. He alleges in Count II that MERS
lacked jurisdiction to assign or otherwise transfer a right
to Chase. Compl. ¶ 31 [#1]. He alleges in Count III that
Defendants breached their fiduciary duty to Brooks by
committing fraud and willfully overcharging her. Compl.
¶ 33-34 [#1].
extent that Plaintiff seeks to vindicate Brooks' rights,
he may not do so. As a non-lawyer, Plaintiff may not bring a
cause of action on behalf of another individual. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1654 (“In all courts of the United States the
parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or
by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively, are
permitted to manage and conduct cases therein.”).
Plaintiff's factual allegations concerning the interest
rate charged on the loan are identical to the facts alleged
by Brooks in her own actions against JPMorgan Chase Bank. See
Brooks v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No.
12-11634-FDS, 2013 WL 3786448 (D. Mass. July 13, 2013)
(affirmed by Brooks v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, No.
13-2041 (1st Cir. July 9, 2014)); and Brooks v. JPMorgan
Chase Bank, No. 14-cv-13068-FDS (affirmed by Brooks
v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, No. 15-1055 (1st Cir. Sept. 8,
2015)). Res judicata bars Brooks from relitigating claims
against Chase that were made or could have been made in the
earlier suits. Airframe Sys., Inc. v. Raytheon Co.,
601 F.3d 9, 14 (1st Cir. 2010). All claims as to this
Defendant based on the rate charged on the loan must have
been brought in the prior action. Kale v. Combined Ins.
Co. of America, 924 F.2d 1161, 1165 (1st Cir. 1991)
(“[F]ederal law stipulates that all claims which are
‘part of the same cause of action' are
extinguished, whether or not actually asserted in the
original action.”). DeWayne, in turn, is in privity
with Brooks to the extent that he is seeking to enforce