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Danastorg v. U.S. Bank National Association

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 2, 2017

REBA DANASTORG, Plaintiff,
v.
US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ALLISON D. BURROUGHS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On April 3, 2015, Reba Danastorg (“Danastorg”) brought suit against U.S. Bank National Association (“US Bank”). Presently before this Court is U.S. Bank's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. [ECF No. 36]. For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Court takes judicial notice of the related state court and bankruptcy proceedings, records of which have been submitted as exhibits to the instant motion to dismiss and which are publicly available. See Giragosian v. Ryan, 547 F.3d 59, 66 (1st Cir. 2008) (“Matters of public record ordinarily include ‘documents from prior state court adjudications.'” (quoting Boateng v. InterAmerican Univ., Inc., 210 F.3d 56, 60 (1st Cir. 2000))); see also Rodi v. S. New Eng. Sch. of L., 389 F.3d 5, 12 (1st Cir. 2004).

         In 2002, Danastorg acquired 3 Whiting Lane, Unit 3, Building F, Hingham, MA 02043 (the “Property”). In re Danastorg, 499 B.R. 8, 11 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2013). In July 2005, Danastorg took out a loan in connection with refinancing the Property. Id. at 11. After defaulting on her mortgage and note for nonpayment, U.S. Bank “conducted a foreclosure sale of the Property on September 13, 2012 pursuant to the statutory power of sale in the mortgage.” Id. at 12. In early 2013, U.S. Bank executed a Foreclosure Deed for the Property. Id. at 11. After receiving a notice to vacate from U.S. Bank, Danastorg filed a petition under Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on May 20, 2013. Id. at 12. Before the bankruptcy court, Danastorg challenged U.S. Bank's ability to pursue a summary process proceeding against her. On September 16, 2013, the bankruptcy court held that Danastorg's “suggestions that U.S. Bank did not hold either the mortgage or the note at the time of the foreclosure sale are without evidentiary support of any sort, ” and granted U.S. Bank relief from the automatic stay to continue the summary process proceeding against Danastorg. Id. at 20.

         On or around October 3, 2013, another notice to vacate the Property, giving her 72 hours to vacate, was sent to Danastorg. [ECF No. 43-5 at 4]. On or around November 1, 2013, Danastorg received a notice of a summary eviction process against her in the Massachusetts Housing Court, Southeastern Division in Plymouth/Bristol County (“Housing Court”) for failing to vacate the Property. See [ECF Nos. 43-5]. On December 4, 2013, Danastorg entered into an Agreement for Judgment (the “Agreement”) with U.S. Bank to end the Housing Court matter. [ECF No. 35, Ex. A]. The Agreement is central to the allegations in her Amended Complaint and is discussed below. The Agreement required that she either vacate or purchase the Property by January 31, 2014. [ECF No. 35, Ex. A at ¶¶ 2, 10]. Although she tried, she was unable to purchase the Property for reasons set forth more fully below. It appears that her negotiations with U.S. Bank continued into April 2014. Thereafter, U.S. Bank again tried to evict her.[1]

         Danastorg eventually filed suit in the Massachusetts Superior Court in Plymouth County (the “Superior Court”) to stop the eviction then scheduled to take place on June 13, 2014. [ECF No. 43-11]. The Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order staying the execution until June 17, 2014. Id. On or around July 22, 2014, U.S. Bank moved for summary judgment in the Superior Court case, [ECF No. 43-13], which Danastorg opposed [ECF No. 43-14]. In December 2014, after full briefing and a hearing, the Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank. [ECF No. 43-21]. On March 3, 2015, Danastorg initiated a new case in Housing Court, Case No. 15-CV-00210, through which she was able to get a further stay of execution. [ECF No. 43-24]. For reasons not entirely clear, Danastorg seemed to remain on the Property until approximately April 2015, at which time she vacated the premises. See [ECF No. 43-23].

         On April 3, 2015, Danastorg filed her first complaint in this Court. [ECF No. 1]. On January 27, 2016, U.S. Bank moved to dismiss the complaint [ECF No. 20], and the motion was granted in part and denied in part [ECF No. 32]. On June 9, 2016, Danastorg filed her Amended Complaint with one exhibit, the Agreement for Judgment between the parties filed in state court. [ECF No. 35]. U.S. Bank moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint on June 22, 2016. [ECF No. 36]. Danastorg opposed the motion on July 27, 2016. [ECF No. 46].

         II. ALLEGATIONS IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Under the December 4, 2013 Agreement with U.S. Bank [ECF No. 35, Ex. A], either Danastorg or a third party acting for her benefit was allowed to purchase the Property before January 31, 2014.[2] If no such purchase occurred, the Agreement required that Danastorg vacate the premises by January 31, 2014. As part of the Agreement, Danastorg also agreed to drop any pending and future claims against U.S. Bank and its subsidiaries related to the foreclosure. Danastorg was allowed to remain on the Property until the deadline. She claims that she was paying rent to the U.S. Bank in the amount of $2300 per month at the time she was evicted, although the Agreement specifies that she was expected to pay $300 per month from the date of foreclosure until January 31, 2014.

         Danastorg avers that immediately following the execution of the Agreement, she attempted to learn the asking price for the Property and the contact information of the relevant person who would be handling the sale at U.S. Bank. She was not provided the contact information until one week before the January 31, 2014 deadline and was not informed of a purchase price for the Property by the deadline, despite her repeated efforts to get that information in time. Even following the January 31, 2014 deadline, she continued to inquire into the asking price for several months. Danastorg alleges that U.S. Bank's failure to provide an asking price prohibited her from purchasing the Property and constituted a breach of the Agreement.

         On March 14, 2014, despite still not having been given an asking price, Danastorg offered $410, 000 for the Property based on researching the Property's value online (through a website called Zillow), which reported that the Property was worth $433, 966. Danastorg factored into her offer that, based on information received from U.S. Bank, she would be purchasing the Property “as is” and “without inspections.” Danastorg only later discovered that the bank recorded a purchase price of $470, 000 for the Property at foreclosure. She was not given an asking price until April 5, 2014. Danastorg alleges that U.S. Bank declined her offer of $410, 000 and began eviction proceedings.

         In support of her breach of contract claim, Danastorg alleges that U.S. Bank breached the Agreement when it refused to provide the asking price for the Property and “when the defendants later agreed to the purchase of the property they changed the agreement guidelines that either [Danastorg] or a third party could purchase property to only a third person.” Am. Compl. ¶ 10. She further alleges that the Agreement “was not signed in good faith and was done with extreme prejudice and with malice.” Am. Compl. ¶ 11. Despite related proceedings in the Housing Court and Superior Court, Danastorg avers that “no court would consider the fact that [she], in good faith, entered into an agreement with U.S. National Bank Association, and a requirement necessary in order to execute that agreement within the agreement time frame would be to know what the asking price of the property would be.” Am. Compl. ¶ 8.

         Danastorg also claims that her civil rights were violated and that she “was discriminated against by being foreclosed on without regard for the status of a mortgage originated and then sold by an unlicensed lender.” Am. Compl. ¶ 12. ...


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