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Piguet v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

May 2, 2017

Christine A. Piguet and Peter N. Archer, Plaintiffs,
v.
J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., and others, Defendants.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          Robert N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge

         The Plaintiffs, proceeding pro se, bring this lawsuit against J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“J.P. Morgan”) and its attorneys for actions taken during a state court foreclosure proceeding. This matter is before the Court on the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 45, 46, 52). For the reasons set forth in this Order, the Court grants the motions to dismiss.

         1. Background

         The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants filed a “knowingly wrongful and malicious foreclosure action” against them in January 2010. (Compl. at 3, ECF No. 1.) The Plaintiffs assert that the foreclosure action was wrongful and was maliciously initiated because J.P. Morgan breached the mortgage agreement prior to the initiation of the foreclosure proceedings by failing to disburse overdue insurance proceeds to Plaintiff Piguet. (Id.) In addition, the Plaintiffs assert that J.P. Morgan and its attorneys committed fraud and engaged in misconduct during the foreclosure action. (Id.)

         This is the sixth lawsuit that Piguet has filed against J.P. Morgan in federal court concerning the foreclosure action. This Court dismissed Piguet's first two lawsuits because they were filed while the state court foreclosure proceedings were ongoing. Piguet v. JP Morgan Chase Bank Nat. Ass'n, No. 13-62406, ECF No. 5 (Scola, J.); Piguet v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Nat. Ass'n, et. al., No. 13-62386, ECF No. 11 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 9, 2013) (Scola, J.). Judge Altonaga dismissed Piguet's third federal lawsuit because her complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Piguet, et. al. v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, et. al., No. 14-60869, 2014 WL 11350229, at *2 (S.D. Fla. April 29, 2014) (Altonaga, J.). Piguet's fourth federal lawsuit asserted that J.P. Morgan violated the terms of her mortgage agreement by failing to process insurance funds that were owed to her, and also alleged that J.P. Morgan fabricated a reason to foreclose on her home. Piguet v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 14-62862, ECF No. 28 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 3, 2015) (Scola, J.). The Court dismissed the case with prejudice, holding in part that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibited the Court from reviewing the state court's foreclosure judgment and the doctrine of res judicata barred Piguet's claim concerning the insurance proceeds because she had already litigated that issue on two prior occasions. Id. Most recently, this Court dismissed Piguet's fifth federal lawsuit with prejudice because Piguet once again claimed that J.P. Morgan violated the terms of the mortgage agreement by refusing to endorse the check for the insurance proceeds. Piguet v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 14-61075, 2014 WL 11776964 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 8, 2014) (Scola, J.).

         2. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires “a short and plain statement of the claims” that “will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the ground upon which it rests.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The Supreme Court has held that “[w]hile a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted).

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations and citations omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Thus, “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. at 679. When considering a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all of the plaintiff's allegations as true in determining whether a plaintiff has stated a claim for which relief could be granted. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984).

         Complaints filed by pro se litigants are held to “‘less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers' and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears ‘beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1979) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520- 21 (1972)). However, “the leniency afforded pro se litigants does not give courts license to serve as de facto counsel or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to sustain an action.” Shuler, 2011 WL 4495624, at *6 (citation omitted).

         3. Analysis

         The Defendants have moved to dismiss each cause of action in the Complaint. As an initial matter, the Court notes that the Plaintiffs have not complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10, which requires that a party state its claims in numbered paragraphs. In addition, it is unclear throughout the Complaint which factual allegations refer to which Defendants. However, even overlooking these deficiencies, the Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court will first address each of the counts specifically set forth in the Complaint, and will then address the additional causes of action referenced in the Complaint.

         A. Count One

         Count One asserts that the Defendants breached the mortgage agreement by failing to disburse insurance proceeds to the Plaintiffs. (Compl. at 61, ECF No. 1.) However, as noted in two of this Court's dismissals of Piguet's previous lawsuits, Piguet already litigated this claim in the state court foreclosure proceeding and in the federal case before Judge Altonaga, both of which ended with a final judgment in favor of J.P. Morgan. See, e.g., Piguet v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 14-61075, 2014 WL 11776964, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 9, 2014) (Scola, J.). Therefore, the doctrine of res judicata bars Count One of the Complaint. See, e.g., Federated Dep't Stores, Inc. v. Moitie, 452 U.S. 394, 398 (1981); CSX Transp., Inc. v. Bhd. of Maint. of Way Employees, 327 F.3d 1309, 1317 (11th Cir. 2003) (“Collateral estoppel or issue preclusion forecloses relitigation of an issue of fact or law that has been litigated and decided in a prior suit.”); Brown v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 611 F.3d 1324, 1332 (11th Cir. 2010) (“The application of collateral estoppel prevents the parties in a second suit from litigating those points in question which were actually adjudicated in the first suit.”).

         B. ...


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