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Williams v. Ameriquest Mortgage Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 24, 2014

THOMAS ARTHUR WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE COMPANY; DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE FOR SECURITIZED TRUST AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE SECURITIES TRUST 2006-R2; AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE COMPANY; AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE SECURITIES INC.; AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE COMPANY; MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATIONS SYSTEM, AKA

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

JOAN B. GOTTSCHALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Thomas Williams, proceeding pro se, filed a ten-count amended complaint stemming from a foreclosure proceeding that resulted in the sale of Williams's home. Defendants Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (Deutsche Bank) and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) move to dismiss the amended complaint on several grounds, including lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. For the reasons explained below, the court agrees that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to consider Williams's complaint. Accordingly, the court does not reach the defendants' other grounds for dismissal. The motion to dismiss the amended complaint is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Williams obtained a loan on January 6, 2006, from Ameriquest Mortgage Company that was secured by a mortgage on property at 1955 South Harding Avenue in Chicago. The mortgage was assigned to Deutsche Bank on February 11, 2009. Williams eventually defaulted on the loan, and a foreclosure action followed.

Williams moved to dismiss the foreclosure action, arguing that Deutsche Bank was not the holder of the note. The Cook County Circuit Court entered a judgment for foreclosure and sale on August 8, 2011. The property was then sold to Deutsche Bank through a judicial sale in November 2011. Williams challenged Deutsche Bank's standing to foreclose in 2012, but the Cook County Circuit Court entered an order approving the sale of the property and granting possession to Deutsche Bank on February 8, 2012.

Williams brought a suit against Deutsche Bank in Cook County Circuit Court on October 4, 2012, seeking quiet title to the property, arguing that Deutsche Bank did not have standing to foreclose and that Deutsche Bank violated the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617, and had illegally securitized the promissory note. The court dismissed Williams's claim to quiet title for failure to state a claim; dismissed with prejudice the claim challenging Deutsche Bank's standing to foreclose as barred by collateral estoppel; and dismissed the TILA, RESPA, and illegal securitization claims for failure to meet Illinois's pleading standards. Williams filed two additional amended complaints reasserting the standing issue. Ultimately, Williams's second amended complaint was dismissed with prejudice.

On January 21, 2014, Williams filed a twelve-count complaint in this court. Defendants MERS and Deutsche Bank moved to dismiss the complaint on March 28, 2014. On April 16, 2014, before the court had an opportunity to decide the motion to dismiss, Williams filed a ten-count amended complaint. Now before the court is the defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court must dismiss a claim if it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over it. Illinois v. City of Chicago, 137 F.3d 474, 478 (7th Cir. 1998) ("Subject-matter jurisdiction is the first question in every case, and if the court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction it must proceed no further."). When deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the court accepts "as true all facts alleged in the well-pleaded complaint and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Scanlan v. Eisenberg, 669 F.3d 838, 841 (7th Cir. 2012). Because Williams proceeds pro se, the court construes his filings liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam).

Pursuant to Rule 12(g)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant "must consolidate its Rule 12(b) defenses into one motion rather than raise them seriatim." Rawlins v. Select Specialty Hosp. of N.W. Ind., Inc., No. 13 C 7557, 2014 WL 1647182, at *2. The court assesses subject-matter jurisdiction before addressing other defenses. See Winslow v. Walters, 815 F.2d 1114, 1116 (7th Cir. 1987).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Standing

Williams bases his claims for wrongful foreclosure (Count 1), fraud in the inducement (Count 3), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count 4), slander of title (Count 5), quiet title (Count 6), and declaratory relief (Count 7) on the "facts and circumstances surrounding [his] original loan transaction and subsequent securitization." (Am. Compl. ¶ 15, ECF No. 29; see id. ¶¶ 57, 87, 96, 106, 117, 122.)[1] In each count, Williams alleges that his injury stems from the fact that the mortgage note was not properly transferred to Deutsche Bank under the terms of the pooling and servicing agreement (PSA) governing Williams's mortgage loan. ( See id. ) The defendants argue that Williams lacks standing to challenge the securitization of his loan and the assignment of the note and mortgage. Williams offers no direct response to defendants' arguments.[2]

Standing is "an essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III" of the United States Constitution. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). "As a jurisdictional requirement, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing standing." Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 572 F.3d 440, 443 (7th Cir. 2009). To meet the minimum standing requirements of Article III, a plaintiff must prove three elements: (1) he suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is actual or imminent; (2) the injury is fairly ...


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