United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
JOSEPH S. SAMRA., Plaintiff,
PHH MORTGAGE CORPORATION & KORDE & ASSOCIATES, P.C., Defendants.
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
AWARD OF FEES AND COSTS UNDER FED. R. CIV. P. 11 (DOCKET NO.
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
S. Samra (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against
PHH Mortgage Corporation (“PHH”) and Korde &
Associates, P.C. (“Korde”) (collectively,
“Defendants”), alleging that PHH breached the
terms of the mortgage and the implied covenant of good faith
and that Defendants violated the Fair Debt Collections
Practices Act (“FDCPA”). On June 14, 2019, I
granted in part and denied in part Korde's motion for
sanctions and granted Defendants' motions to dismiss.
(Docket No. 60). Korde now moves for attorneys' fees and
costs under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. (Docket No.
58). For the following reasons, I
grant the motion.
requires that an attorney certify “to the best of his
knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry
reasonable under the circumstances, ” that the
filing's factual allegations “have evidentiary
support” and that its legal contentions “are
warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for
extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for
establishing new law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b). A court has
discretion to “impose an appropriate sanction” on
any party that violates these requirements. Fed.R.Civ.P.
determine that Plaintiff violated the requirements of Rule
11. Plaintiff filed a Complaint containing unsupported
factual allegations. For example, he alleged that Korde
unlawfully billed him $1, 200 for legal work it had not
performed and that, when he attempted to pay the outstanding
balance minus these attorneys' fees and expenses, Korde
refused to accept his payment. (Docket No. 59 at 9-11).
Korde, however, has submitted documentary evidence that it
twice offered to waive attorneys' fees and expenses if
Plaintiff would pay the outstanding balance of the loan.
(Docket No. 59 at 66-68, 165, 167-69). Indeed, Korde made one
of these offers on August 7, 2018, one day before Plaintiff
filed his suit in state court and moved, ex parte,
for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction.
also pursued a legal contention after it became frivolous
during the litigation. In March 2019, the Supreme Court
determined in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus,
LLP, 139 S.Ct. 1029 (2019), that a law firm performing a
non-judicial foreclosure is not a “debt
collector” under the FDCPA. This decision barred
Plaintiff's FDCPA claim, which relied on Korde, a law
firm performing a non-judicial foreclosure, qualifying as a
“debt collector.” Korde informed Plaintiff of the
Obduskey decision on April 1, 2019. Plaintiff,
however, ignored Korde's letter and continued to litigate
his FDCPA claim. (Docket No. 59 at 204-13).
Plaintiff's case began and continued under false
pretenses. I find that an award of attorneys' fees and
costs arising after Plaintiff filed his Complaint is an
appropriate sanction for these violations of Rule
I therefore grant Korde $27,
824.50 in attorneys' fees and $1,
reasons stated above, Korde's motion is
granted. (Docket No. 58).
 I decline to award attorneys' fees
and costs incurred in responding to Plaintiff's June 2018
demand letter. I premise the award of sanctions on false
allegations in the Complaint and a legal contention that
became frivolous during the proceedings. As Plaintiff
committed these Rule 11 violations after sending the demand
letter, it is not ...