United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
DALTON JR. United States District Judge
cause is before the Court the following:
Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.'s Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint and Memorandum of Law in Support
(Doc. 17), filed November 8, 2016; and
Plaintiff's Objection to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Complaint and Supporting Memorandum of Law (Doc. 22),
filed December 12, 2016.
pro se-initiated this action for violation of the
Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) against Defendants.
(See Doc. 1.) On August 16, 2016, Plaintiff mailed a
notice of rescission (Doc. 1-1 (“Notice”)) with
respect to the loan (“Loan”) and mortgage
(“Mortgage”), which secures Plaintiff's
residence (“Property”) to U.S. Bank, N.A.
(“U.S. Bank”), JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
(“JPMorgan”), and Washington Mutual Bank, F.A.
(Doc. 1, ¶ 10). According to Plaintiff, upon mailing the
Notice, the Loan was cancelled by operation of law and the
Mortgage was void. (Id. at ¶¶ 11, 14, 16.)
Thus, Plaintiff claims that he is entitled to: (1) return of
the cancelled Loan; (2) recording of an instrument that would
release all encumbrances or liens; and (3) reimbursement of
all funds paid in connection with the origination of the
Loan. (Id. at ¶ 17.) Defendants, as creditors,
have allegedly failed to comply with these obligations and
are “continuing to process an alleged
foreclosure” based on a now-voided Mortgage.
(Id. at ¶¶ 18, 33.) Thus, Plaintiff
requests that the Court enjoin Defendants from taking any
affirmative action or seeking any relief with respect to the
Loan and prohibit any potential judicial sale of the
Property. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 25.)
November 8, 2016, JPMorgan moved to dismiss the Complaint on
the ground that the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction
based on the well-settled Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
(Doc. 17 (“MTD”).) Attached to its MTD are copies
of: (1) a June 26, 2013 final foreclosure judgment from the
Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange
County, Florida (“State Court”) in favor of U.S.
Bank entitling it to foreclose on the Property (Doc. 17-1
(“State Foreclosure Judgment”); and (2)
Plaintiff's appeal of the State Foreclosure Judgment to
the District Court of Appeal for the Fifth District of
Florida (Doc. 17-2). Plaintiff responded (Doc. 22), and the
matter is ripe for adjudication.
courts have limited jurisdiction; “[t]hey possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is
not to be expanded by judicial decree.” Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)
(citations and internal quotations omitted). A motion to
dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
challenges a court's subject-matter jurisdiction and may
take two forms-a facial attack and a factual attack.
Stalley ex rel. U.S. v. Orlando Reg'l Healthcare Sys.
Inc., 524 F.3d 1229, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008). Facial
attacks on the complaint “require[ ] the court merely
to look and see if [the] plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a
basis of subject-matter jurisdiction, and the allegations in
the complaint are taken as true for the purposes of the
motion.” Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525,
1529 (11th Cir. 1990).
other hand, a factual attack raises the jurisdictional
challenge “irrespective of the pleadings.”
Morrison v. Amway Corp., 323 F.3d 920, 924 n.5 (11th
Cir. 2003). In resolving a 12(b)(1) factual attack, a court
is “free to independently weigh facts” and
consider evidence outside of the pleadings, so long as its
conclusions do not implicate the merits of the
plaintiff's claims. Id. at 925. Courts are to
presume that they lack subject-matter jurisdiction, and
“the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the
party asserting jurisdiction.” Kokkonen, 511
U.S. at 377. A challenge to a court's
subject-matter jurisdiction based on the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine is a factual attack.
See, e.g., O'Neal v. Bank of Am., N.A.,
No. 8:11-cv-107-T-17-TGW, 2012 WL 629817, at *3 (M.D. Fla.
Feb. 28, 2012).
contends that, under Rooker-Feldman doctrine, this
Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
suit. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine
precludes lower federal courts from exercising appellate
jurisdiction over final state-court judgments. Nicholson
v. Shafe, 558 F.3d 1266, 1268 (11th Cir. 2009). In
general, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies if: (1)
the federal action is brought by a state-court loser; (2)
complaining of an injury caused by a state-court judgment;
(3) rendered before the federal district court proceedings
commenced; and (4) inviting the district court to review and
reject the state-court judgment. Exxon Mobil Corp. v.
Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005). To
that end, the doctrine encompasses claims that were actually
raised in the state court and those “inextricably
intertwined” with that state court judgment. Casale
v. Tillman, 558 F.3d 1258, 1260 (11th Cir. 2009). A
federal claim is inextricably interviewed with a state-court
judgment where: (1) the success of the federal claim would
“effectively nullify” the state-court judgment;
and (2) the federal claim “succeeds only to the extent
that the state wrongly decided the issues.”
Springer v. Perryman, 401 F. App'x 457, 458
(11th Cir. 2010) (per curiam) (quoting Casale, 558
F.3d at 1260).
four requirements for the application of the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine are met as to
Plaintiff's TILA claim. Plaintiff, the losing party to
the State Foreclosure Judgment, brought this federal action.
(See Doc. 1.) The State Court issued its State
Foreclosure Judgment more than three years before Plaintiff
initiated this action. (See Doc. 17-1.) And,
Plaintiff's TILA claim is “inextricably
intertwined” with the State Foreclosure Judgment
because a decision on the TILA claim would effectively
nullify the State Foreclosure Judgment. See Parker v.
Potter, 368 F. App'x 945, 947-48 (11th Cir. 2010)
(reversing the grant of summary judgment on a TILA claim
because such action “unquestionably invalidated the
state court's final judgment granting foreclosure and
therefore offended the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine.”); see also Harper v. Chase Manhattan
Bank, 138 F. App'x 130, 133 (11th Cir. 2005)
(affirming dismissal of a claim under TILA and noting that
the TILA claim was inextricably intertwined where the
plaintiff sought an injunction to prevent enforcement of
final state foreclosure judgment). Hence Plaintiff is asking
that the Court do what Rooker-Feldman plainly
prohibits, that is, “overturn an injurious state-court
judgment.” Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 292.
sure, while Plaintiff was a party to the state-court
proceeding, not all defendants in the instant federal case
were parties. Apart from U.S. Bank none of the other
defendants were part of the State Foreclosure Judgment.
(See Doc. 17-1.) But the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine requires only that the party against whom the
doctrine is being asserted in federal court-Plaintiff-to have
been a party in the prior state-court proceeding. See
Auburn Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Cobb, 567 F.Supp.2d 1333, 1338
(M.D. Ala. 2008) (citing Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S.
459, 464 (2006)); see also Christophe v. Morris, 198
F. App'x 818, 824-25 (11th Cir. 2006) (per curiam)
(disregarding the fact that ...