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Narvaez v. Wilmers

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

March 24, 2015



HON. RONALD A. GUZMAN, United States District Judge.

For the reasons stated below, Defendants’ motion to dismiss [12] is granted. All of Plaintiff’s claims are dismissed without prejudice and Plaintiff may file an amended complaint within 30 days of the date of this order.


Francisco Narvaez (“Plaintiff”) filed suit pro se against Robert Wilmers and Rene Jones (“Defendants”) on December 29, 2014, claiming mortgage fraud. (Compl., Dkt. # 1.) Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on January 22, 2015. (Mot. Dismiss, Dkt. # 12.)

For the reasons set forth below, the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is granted.


Both the precise nature of Plaintiff’s claims and the factual basis for them are far from clear. Plaintiff’s complaint is a form complaint used for civil rights actions, though Plaintiff does not appear to be asserting a traditional civil rights claim; in the section asking how government officers or officials have violated Plaintiff’s rights, he marked “Other” and wrote in “Mortgage Fraud.” (Compl., Dkt. # 1 ¶ 6.) The only other information on the complaint form states that Plaintiff sent various requests for information to Defendants and that Defendants never responded, though the nature of the information Plaintiff requested is not specified.

The “Statement of Facts” appended to the complaint form fails to provide much more clarity, as it too contains no allegations of mortgage fraud. Rather, the only facts alleged are that bank officers must take oaths under the National Banking Act of 1864, and that Defendants violated such oath by: (1) “extending a Mortgage agreement for beyond the statutory limit”; (2) “not providing consideration in a said loan or providing from an external source in violation of the original agreement”; (3) “failing to answer several freedom of information act requests as well as failing to answer to challenges to the debt”; (4) “endorsing the Note/Bond after the initial transaction in order to receive funds through [Plaintiff’s] signature”; (5) “fraudulently acting as and assuming the legal position of a Lender when in fact they provided no consideration in the contract; and (6) “transferring a loan after actions and notice of fraud had been made against the transaction.” (Compl., Dkt. # 1, Stmt. Facts at ¶¶ 1-2.) The rest of the Statement of Facts is comprised of various demands for hearings, documents, and actions that Defendants should take, along with incomprehensible references to sundry federal laws. The Statement of Facts nowhere states what relationship Plaintiff has with Defendants. It does, however, obliquely hint about “the contract [Defendants’] institution made with [Plaintiff], ” suggesting that Plaintiff has or had a mortgage agreement with M&T Bank, which employs Defendants.[1]

While Plaintiff’s complaint fails to elucidate his precise dispute with M&T Bank, Defendants’ briefing helps shed some light on the matter. Defendants assert in their motion to dismiss that Plaintiff entered into a mortgage agreement with a different bank entirely, and that this mortgage was later assigned to M&T Bank. (Mot. Dismiss, Dkt. # 12 at 4.)[2] M&T Bank recently foreclosed on Plaintiff’s property pursuant to the mortgage. (Def’s’ Reply, Dkt. # 25 at 3 n. 1.) As such, Plaintiff appears to be challenging either the validity of his underlying mortgage agreement or the legitimacy of the mortgage’s assignment to M&T Bank.

Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a party to move for dismissal where a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12. In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor. See Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009). A court is not, however, obliged to accept as true mere “labels and conclusions” or “naked assertion[s]” lacking “further factual enhancement.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007). Having accepted factual allegations and drawn reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor, a court may then dismiss a complaint that fails to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.

Litigants proceeding pro se are not held to the same pleading standards as are trained lawyers. See Kyle v. Patterson, 196 F.3d 695, 697 (7th Cir. 1999) (holding that “it is well-settled law in this circuit that pro se complaints are not held to the stringent standards expected of pleadings drafted by lawyers. Rather, pro se complaints are to be liberally construed”). Nonetheless, nothing excuses a pro se litigant from the requirement that a complaint give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the factual allegations on which it rests. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A pro se complaint that fails to comply with procedural rules or pleading technicalities will be “given a break” only if it is “otherwise understandable.” Hudson v. McHugh, 148 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 1998).


While the Court construes pro se pleadings liberally, Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state any comprehensible claim to relief under even that relaxed form of review. As an initial matter, Plaintiff’s complaint fails wholly to suggest why Plaintiff is suing individual bank officers rather than M&T Bank itself; he does not allege that either of the Defendants were in any way involved in the origination or servicing of his mortgage, and the Court is unaware of any authority establishing that corporate officers of a bank are personally liable for conduct attributed to the bank generally. Plaintiff’s complaint fails ...

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