United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
CAROL B. ROWE, individually and as executrix for the Estate of Arthur Rowe, Plaintiff,
SETERUS, INC., HSBC MORTGAGE CORPORATION, and FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION, Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge.
Court ruled in prior actions brought by plaintiff based upon
substantially the same facts, Carol B. Rowe as executrix for
the Estate of Arthur Rowe cannot represent the estate pro
se, and the estate cannot proceed pro se or
in forma pauperis. See Rowe v. Seterus, Inc. et al.,
16-cv-11849-FDS; Rowe v. Seterus, Inc. et al.,
17-12537-FDS. “Although 28 U.S.C. § 1654 permits
persons to proceed pro se, this provision does not
allow unlicensed lay people to represent other pro
se litigants.” Cohen v. Attorney Gen. of
Massachusetts, No. CA 11-11500-NMG, 2011 WL 5008088, at
*7 (D. Mass. Oct. 18, 2011) (citing Feliciano v.
DuBois, 846 F.Supp. 1033, 1039 (D. Mass. 1994);
Eagle Assocs. v. Bank of Montreal, 926 F.2d 1305,
1308 (2d Cir. 1991)). See also Local Rule 83.5.5(c)
(“A[n] estate . . . may not appear pro se . . . . An .
. . executor may not appear on behalf of an entity . . .
.”). And because an estate is not a natural person, it
cannot proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. See Gray v. Martinez, 352 Fed.Appx.
656, 658 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing Rowland v. California
Men's Colony, 506 U.S. 194, 196 (1993); see also
In re Estate of Van Putten, 553 Fed.Appx. 328 (4th Cir.
2014). The estate has been provided multiple opportunities in
recent past actions to have counsel appear on its behalf, but
failed to do so. Accordingly, to the extent that Carol Rowe
is acting as executrix for the Estate of Arthur Rowe, the
complaint is DISMISSED.
extent that Carol Rowe is proceeding individually, her
request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is
hereby ALLOWED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a). Because
plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the
complaint is subject to screening. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e). Under this statute, the court must dismiss
actions if, among other things, it fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In conducting that review, a
court must liberally construe the complaint because plaintiff
is proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972).
read generously, the complaint does not allege plausible
facts sufficient to state a claim for relief. Plaintiff's
entire action is premised upon a purported Bank Owned Life
Insurance (“BOLI”) policy that was supposed to
have paid off a mortgage that, in turn, would have staved off
foreclosure of a certain property owned by her son. In
Rowe's prior action before this Court (Rowe v.
Seterus et al., 16-11849-FDS), alleging similar facts, a
defendant (not a party to this action) moved for dismissal on
among other grounds that the existence and operation of such
a policy was not plausibly alleged:
[I]f there had been a BOLI policy on Mr. Rowe's life,
then when he died the proceeds would have gone to the
bank-owner of the policy. Moreover, even if, hypothetically,
there were some unusual type of BOLI policy that provided
money to Mr. Rowe's estate, it is not plausible that such
a policy would have contained a provision requiring the
insurance company to pay off his mortgage. In addition, the
foreclosure sale took place about 4 and ½ years after
Mr. Rowe died. If there ever were a magic policy (BOLI or
otherwise) that paid off Mr. Rowe's mortgage loan when he
died, then surely it would have surfaced before the sale-or
by now. The dearth of any evidence of any such policy, or of
any payment of the mortgage balance under it, suggests that
there never was such a policy or such a payment. Thus, there
is nothing that plausibly supports Ms. Rowe's theory of
See Rowe v. Seterus et al., 16-11849-FDS, ECF No.
16, p. 8. Rowe notably did not respond to the
motion. Nor has she identified any actual policy,
or any specific insurer that allegedly issued such a policy.
on this record, presuming plaintiff even has standing, there
are no plausibly pleaded facts supporting Rowe's claim
other than conclusory statements concerning the existence of,
and obligations under, an insurance policy. In fact, Rowe
claims in her motion to amend the complaint, that
“defendants have been making false statements to [Rowe]
and the attorney general's office about this insurance,
claiming that no such policy was ever taken, even though it
is a standard business practice and in some instances,
required by regulations that lenders have insurance for their
assets (e.g. mortgage receivables).” ECF No. 2, p. 1.
Rowe's speculation, over multiple lawsuits, is apparently
based upon nothing more than the possible existence of a
business practice or unidentified regulation-far short of a
well-pleaded factual allegation-and not upon allegations
grounded in fact. Her allegation that some sort of policy
could have existed is insufficient. Accordingly, the action
is hereby DISMISSED. Her motion to amend the complaint is
DENIED as moot.
 This Court allowed the motion on other
grounds relating to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;
those claims are not alleged here. Rowe thereafter
voluntarily dismissed that action against the remaining
defendants on ...