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Jackson v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

August 3, 2018

KARUN N. JACKSON, URSULA D. JACKSON, Plaintiffs - Appellants,

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama D.C. Docket No. 1:16-cv-00062-CG-M

          Before TJOFLAT and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges, and BLOOM, [*] District Judge.


         This appeal involves an abuse of process engineered to delay or prevent execution of a foreclosure judgment on a residence and the consequent eviction of its occupants. The homeowners' counsel effectuated this scheme by filing a multi-count, incomprehensible complaint that flouted the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this Circuit's well-established precedent. The District Court gave counsel an opportunity to file an amended complaint that comported with the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[1] Counsel amended the complaint. He made no effort to correct its deficiencies, however, choosing to stand on his deficient pleading. The District Court nonetheless accepted the amended complaint, going to great lengths to sort it out.

         After spending fifty-four pages unpacking the pleading just to determine whether the amended complaint presented a cognizable basis for relief, the District Court dismissed the case with prejudice for failure to state a claim. We affirm the District Court's judgment, but we do so on an alternative ground. By attempting to prosecute an incomprehensible pleading to judgment, the plaintiffs obstructed the due administration of justice in the District Court. And they are doing the same here in urging this Court to uphold the sufficiency of their amended complaint.



         The facts of this case demonstrate the scheme's operation. Karun and Ursula Jackson, represented by Kenneth Lay, a Birmingham, Alabama lawyer, [2]brought this action against Bank of America, N.A., Specialized Loan Servicing LLC ("SLS"), Bank of New York Mellon ("Mellon"), and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") in the Circuit Court of Baldwin County, Alabama on January 12, 2016, one day after the foreclosure sale of their residence. The Jacksons' complaint alleged fourteen causes of action under Alabama and federal law in separate counts, spanned twenty pages, and contained 109 paragraphs of allegations. The causes of action were not defendant-specific, all were based on all of the complaint's twenty-four introductory paragraphs, and all fourteen causes of action incorporated all previous allegations. This made it impossible for any Defendant to reasonably frame an answer. The crux of the complaint appears to be that Defendants[3] classified their home mortgage as in default, accelerated their loan, turned over their account for foreclosure, and reported the foreclosure to the credit reporting agencies without any legitimate basis for doing so.

         Specifically, the Jacksons alleged that they purchased a house in Daphne, Alabama on August 28, 2006. To finance the purchase, they executed a mortgage and a promissory note with First Residential Mortgage Network, Inc. for $139, 040.00. As specified in the mortgage agreement, MERS acted as the servicer for the loan. First Residential later sold and assigned the note and mortgage to Mellon.

         The Jacksons further alleged that from the date they bought the house until September 2012, Defendants accepted and cashed their monthly mortgage payments, but did not apply the payments to the Jacksons' account. Then, in November 2012, Defendants rejected a check from the plaintiffs without explanation. The Jacksons alleged that when they called to find out what happened, Defendants told them that "they were in default for failure to make payments, but could not explain why they were allegedly in default." According to the Jacksons, Defendants further announced that they would no longer accept any mortgage payments and that their mortgage would be turned over for foreclosure.

         The complaint avers that, in accordance with this statement, Defendants returned all of the monthly payments made from November 2012 to January 2014. Then, on June 12, 2015, Defendants accelerated the mortgage and demanded payment. On November 8, 2015, Defendants initiated foreclosure proceedings in Baldwin County, Alabama. They published notice of the default and foreclosure sale in the local newspaper in both November and December of 2015. The foreclosure sale occurred on January 11, 2016, and the property was sold to Mellon, the highest bidder at the sale. The foreclosure was reported to the national credit bureaus.

         Based on these allegations, the Jacksons presented fourteen counts: (1) negligence; (2) wantonness; (3) unjust enrichment; (4) wrongful foreclosure; (5) slander of title; (6) breach of contract; (7) fraud; (8) false light; (9) defamation, libel, and slander; (10) violations of the Truth in Lending Act; (11) violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; (12) violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act; (13) violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; and a (14) claim for declaratory relief. According to the complaint, Defendants' conduct caused the Jacksons "to have negative credit reports" and to be "denied homeowners insurance, held up to public ridicule or shame, humiliated, made to suffer physically and mentally, and endure anguish."

         The Jacksons sought "(1) [a]n Order declaring that they are not in default of their mortgage agreement and declaring the notice of default is null and void," "(2) [a]n order declaring that Defendants have no right or authority to foreclose on the Jacksons' property," "(3) [a]n Order prohibiting Defendants from foreclosing on the Jacksons' property," and (4) compensatory and punitive damages for the various forms of financial, emotional, and defamatory harm alleged. The request for declaratory and injunctive relief, which if granted would undo the foreclosure sale and restore the Jacksons' mortgage on the home, made the suit the functional equivalent of a collateral attack on the validity of the foreclosure proceedings.


         On February 12, 2016, Defendants removed the case to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. On February 19, all Defendants moved for a more definite statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), with Bank of America filing its own, separate motion and the other Defendants filing their motion jointly. Defendants identified three problems with the complaint: first, the complaint was a shotgun pleading that incorporated all of its factual allegations into each count; second, the complaint failed to identify the specific Defendant(s) to which each count pertained; and third, the complaint "omit[ted] key facts such as relevant dates and the particular nature of the violations that [Defendants] allegedly committed." The motion was referred to a Magistrate Judge on February 22. The Jacksons responded that they did not oppose the motion and were willing to file an amended complaint, but moved the District Court for twenty-one days to prepare a revised pleading. The District Court granted the motion, giving the Jacksons twenty-one days to file an amended complaint.

         On March 29, 2016, the day the amended complaint was due, Mr. Lay moved the District Court for an extension of the deadline to file the revised pleading. Mr. Lay stated that he had been out of the office due to illness and asked for seven more days. The Magistrate Judge, on referral, granted the motion and gave the Jacksons until April 5 to file their amended complaint. On April 10, five days after the expiration of the extended deadline, and without having filed the amended complaint, Mr. Lay requested another extension. This time, he stated that he had been out of the office due to illness and a death in his family and asked for an additional seven days. Defendants did not oppose his request. The Magistrate Judge granted the motion and extended the deadline to April 12.

         The Jacksons filed their amended complaint on April 12. The amended complaint swelled to twenty-three pages and 123 paragraphs, made minor changes to a number of the factual allegations, added two new counts, [4] and listed one or more Defendants in parentheses under the heading of each count-presumably to clarify which count(s) applied to which Defendant(s). Counts (1) through (14) alleged the same injuries and requested the same forms of relief as those contained in the initial complaint.

         The amended complaint was, like its predecessor, a shotgun pleading: it incorporated all of the factual allegations into each count without delineating which allegations pertained to each count. On April 29, Bank of America answered the amended complaint, denying its purported wrongdoing and asserting as a sixth affirmative defense that the amended complaint failed to state a claim for relief. The other Defendants moved collectively to dismiss the complaint on the same failure-to-state ground. The District Court ordered the Jacksons to respond to the motion to dismiss by May 13.[5] On May 13, the day the response was due, Mr. Lay moved for a seven-day extension to the deadline to file the Jacksons' response. As the reason for the extension request, he stated that he was out of town for hearings in other counties. The motion was unopposed. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge granted the motion and gave the Jacksons until May 20 to respond.

         The Jacksons responded to the motion to dismiss on May 20, 2016. On May 23, the District Court referred the motion to dismiss to the Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation. On July 19, the Magistrate Judge issued his Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), which recommended dismissal of the amended complaint as against MERS, SLS, and Mellon for failure to state a claim. The R&R comprehensively analyzed each of the Jacksons' sixteen causes of action and determined that none made out a legally cognizable claim.[6] The Jacksons objected to the R&R on the ground that their claims were sufficient.

         On September 2, just before the District Court was set to rule on the Jacksons' objections to the R&R, the Jacksons moved the Court for leave to amend their amended complaint, submitting with their motion a proposed Second Amended Complaint. On September 7, Bank of America moved the Court for judgment on the pleadings.

         On September 15, the District Court denied the Jacksons' motion for leave to amend, adopted the R&R, and dismissed the amended complaint with prejudice as to MERS, Mellon, and SLS. On October 3, the Jacksons stipulated to the dismissal of their claims against Bank of America with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). The next day the District Court terminated the lawsuit with the entry of final judgment.

         On October 16, the Jacksons appealed the Court's judgment. From that point on, Mr. Lay's delay tactics continued. He moved this Court to extend the deadline to file the Jacksons' opening brief six times. On December 5, Mr. Lay sought and obtained an extension by phone. On December 19, Mr. Lay requested a second extension. He stated that though he had "been working diligently on the brief," he had "had unexpected medical problems recently and ha[d] only been able to work part time recently." On January 31, 2017, Mr. Lay requested a third extension. This time, he stated that while he was still "working diligently on the brief," he had been forced to travel out of town because his brother "was hospitalized in intensive care with a life threatening illness." Moreover, he stated, his "work load" was "heavier than normal." On March 2, he requested a fourth extension, again citing his brother's medical emergency and his workload consisting of "multiple appeals pending in this Court, the Alabama Supreme Court, and the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals." On March 7, he requested a fifth extension, stating that he had "just got back into town on March 7" after tending to his brother's illness. On March 14, Mr. Lay sought a sixth extension, again citing his brother's illness as the reason for his being "significantly behind schedule." We granted each of the motions.

         The final due date of the brief was set to March 16. Then, Mr. Lay encountered technical difficulties in uploading the brief and was unable to meet that deadline. As a result, he filed the Jacksons' opening brief on March 22, 2017, more than three months after its original due date of December 5, 2016.

         Defendants filed their brief in response.[7] Afterwards, Mr. Lay asked for four extensions of the deadline to file the Jacksons' reply brief. On June 16, he requested an additional twenty-one days. He stated that his medical issues, his "heavier than normal" workload, and his being "out of town and out of the office on other business" had prevented him from working on the reply brief. On July 7, the final day of the twenty-one day extension, he asked for a second extension of ten days on account of the same reasons stated in his previous extension request. On July 17, the last day of the ten-day extension he received, Mr. Lay requested a third, seven-day extension. He cited verbatim the same reasons as those listed in his prior two extension requests. On July 24, the day of the revised deadline, Mr. Lay filed a fourth extension request, seeking eight additional days to file the Jacksons' reply brief. He stated the same reasons a fourth time. The Court granted these motions. All told, Mr. Lay sought and obtained ten extension requests from this Court. He filed the Jacksons' reply brief on July 25, 2017.



         In his R&R, which the District Court adopted, the Magistrate Judge conducted a lengthy, comprehensive review of each of the Jacksons' sixteen counts and concluded that none stated a cognizable claim. Rather than reviewing the District Court's comprehensive analysis of each of the Jacksons' causes of action, we affirm the District Court's dismissal with prejudice on slightly different grounds. "[W]e may affirm the district court's judgment on any grounds supported in the record." Koziara v. City of Casselberry, 392 F.3d 1302, 1306 n.2 (11th Cir. 2004).

         The amended complaint is an incomprehensible shotgun pleading. It employs a multitude of claims and incorporates by reference all of its factual allegations into each claim, making it nearly impossible for Defendants and the Court to determine with any certainty which factual allegations give rise to which claims for relief. As such, the amended complaint patently violates Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires a plaintiff to plead "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). At twenty-eight pages long and having incorporated all 123 paragraphs of allegations into all sixteen counts, it is neither "short" nor "plain."

         This Court has filled many pages of the Federal Reporter condemning shotgun pleadings and explaining their vices:

Shotgun pleadings, whether filed by plaintiffs or defendants, exact an intolerable toll on the trial court's docket, lead to unnecessary and unchannelled discovery, and impose unwarranted expense on the litigants, the court and the court's parajudicial personnel and resources. Moreover, justice is delayed for the litigants who are "standing in line," waiting for their cases to be heard. The courts of appeals and the litigants appearing before them suffer as well.

Cramer v. Florida, 117 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 1997).[8] This case is illustrative. In ruling on the sufficiency of the Jacksons' sixteen claims, the Magistrate Judge was put in the position of serving as the Jacksons' lawyer in rewriting the complaint into an intelligible document a competent lawyer would have written.[9] It took fifty-four pages and untold hours of the Magistrate Judge's time to do so. And, in conducting a de novo review of the complaint after the Jacksons objected to the R&R, the District Court devoted a considerable amount of its time as well. Absent the dismissal of the amended complaint, the Defendants, in framing their answer, would likely have responded in kind, with a multitude of affirmative defenses bunched together applying to each of the amended complaint's counts. Put colloquially: garbage in, garbage out. Hence, the final resolution of the Jacksons' claims would have been time-consuming and even more of an undue tax on the Court's resources. Tolerating such behavior constitutes toleration of obstruction of justice.[10] This is why we have condemned shotgun pleadings time and again, and this is why we have repeatedly held that a District Court retains authority to dismiss a shotgun pleading on that basis alone. See, e.g., Weiland v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1320 (11th Cir. 2015) (explaining that the district court retains "inherent authority to control its docket and ensure the prompt resolution of lawsuits," including, under proper circumstances, "the power to dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8(a)(2)").

         We have explained that in a case in which a party, plaintiff or defendant, files a shotgun pleading, the district court "should strike the [pleading] and instruct counsel to replead the case-if counsel could in good faith make the representations required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b)." Byrne, 261 F.3d at 1133 n.113 (quoting Cramer, 117 F.3d at 1263).[11] This is so even when the other party does not move to strike the pleading. Vibe Micro, Inc. v. Shabanets, 878 F.3d 1291, 1295 (11th Cir. 2018). Implicit in such a repleading order is the "notion that if the plaintiff fails to comply with the court's order-by filing a repleader with the same deficiency-the court should strike his pleading or, depending on the circumstances, dismiss his case and consider the imposition of monetary sanctions." Byrne, 261 F.3d at 1133.

         This authority makes clear that dismissal of a complaint with prejudice is warranted under certain circumstances. Such circumstances existed in this case. In dismissing a shotgun complaint for noncompliance with Rule 8(a), a district court must give the plaintiff "one chance to remedy such deficiencies." E.g., Vibe Micro, 878 F.3d at 1295. The Jacksons had that opportunity. Defendants moved for a more definite statement on the ground that the complaint was a shotgun pleading and it could not reasonably be expected to frame a responsive pleading. Its motion fully explained the complaint's defects. Bank of America stated, accurately, "The pleading is vague and ambiguous such that Bank of America has to guess as to the particular claims to which it individually should respond, and the facts upon which Plaintiffs rely in support." It further stated, correctly, that "the first sentence of each count adopts and re-alleges all prior paragraphs." It observed that "Count Fourteen . . . 'simply amounts to an amalgamation of all counts of the complaint.'" (Quoting PVC Windoors, Inc. v. Babbitbay Beach Constr., 598 F.3d 802, 806 (11th Cir. 2010)). And, it explained, "With this type of drafting, Bank of America cannot know which factual allegations pertain to which of Plaintiffs' claims." This was as complete an explanation of the defects in their complaint as the Jacksons could have asked for.

         The Jacksons did not oppose Defendants' motions for a more definite statement; their failure to oppose operated as an acknowledgement of these defects. Accordingly, the District Court granted the motions and ordered them to file a sufficient complaint. This was their opportunity. A chance to amend a complaint does not need to come in the form of a dismissal without prejudice or the striking of a portion of the complaint's allegations. It can also be accomplished by ordering the party to file a more definite statement. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e) ("If the court orders a more definite statement and the order is not obeyed within 14 days after notice of the order or within the time the court sets, the court may strike the pleading or issue any other appropriate order."). What matters is function, not form: the key is whether the plaintiff had fair notice of the defects and a meaningful chance to fix them. If that chance is afforded and the plaintiff fails to remedy the defects, the district court does not abuse its discretion in dismissing the case with prejudice on shotgun pleading grounds.

         Here, after being put on notice by Defendants of the specific defects in their complaint, the Jacksons filed an amended complaint afflicted with the same defects, attempting halfheartedly to cure only one of the pleading's many ailments by naming which counts pertained to each Defendant. The District Court should have dismissed the amended complaint with prejudice because, as we have concluded, the amended complaint was incomprehensible.[12] Instead, the Court dismissed the amended complaint on the merits.

         As we explained in Vibe Micro, in striking a complaint on shotgun pleading grounds and affording the plaintiff with another opportunity to file a complaint that passes muster, the District Court should point out the defects in the complaint. Vibe Micro, 878 F.3d at 1295. The District Court did not do so here because it elected to consider the merits of each claim despite the complaint's shotgun nature and dismiss each claim on that basis. However, in light of the Jacksons' non-opposition to Defendants' motions for a definite statement, which fully explained the defects in the Jacksons' complaint, the Court would not have abused its discretion if it had dismissed the amended complaint with prejudice without further elaborating on its deficiencies-especially considering that the Jacksons agreed to file an improved complaint yet did not do so. This basis alone is sufficient grounds for affirming the District Court's dismissal of the complaint with prejudice.[13]


         Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 38 states: "If a court of appeals determines that an appeal is frivolous, it may, after a separately filed motion or notice from the court and reasonable opportunity to respond, award just damages and single or double costs to the appellee." We have imposed sanctions under Rule 38 when plaintiffs brought RICO claims with no underlying factual basis to support them, yet persisted in pursuing the case and appealing the district court's rulings to harass the defendants into settling the case.[14] See Pelletier v. Zweifel, 921 F.2d 1465, 1523 (11th Cir.1991), abrogated on other grounds by Bridge, 553 U.S. at 639, 128 S.Ct. at 2131. We have also awarded sanctions under Rule 38, in the form of reasonable attorney's fees and double costs, when a party ignored the governing law and relied on "clearly frivolous" arguments. See United States v. Single Family Residence & Real Prop., 803 F.2d 625, 632 (11th Cir. 1986); see also Sun-Tek Indus., Inc. v. Kennedy Sky-Lites, Inc., 865 F.2d 1254, 1255 (Fed. Cir. 1989) (awarding, pursuant to Rule 38, attorney's fees and costs actually incurred).

         Defendants' motions for a more definite statement cited our precedent decrying shotgun pleadings and made clear that filing a shotgun pleading is grounds for dismissal in this Circuit. If Mr. Lay was not aware of this precedent when he filed the Jackson's initial complaint, Defendants' motion told him all he needed to know. Nevertheless, in responding to the District Court's order requiring a repleader, he stood fast, brazenly filing a facsimile of his initial pleading. That the Magistrate Judge and the District Court examined the merits of Mr. Lay's new pleading does not change the fact that the appeal of the dismissal of the amended complaint was doomed from the start.

         Mr. Lay does not dispute that the amended complaint is an impermissible shotgun pleading that obstructs the administration of justice. Indeed, at oral argument before this Court, he stated, "I understand [the Court's] problem with the shotgun pleadings, and I'm not gonna argue about that." After acknowledging that shotgun pleadings are "an issue in federal court," he stated, as an excuse for his behavior, that his use of shotgun pleadings had "never been an issue before" and that "they are not disfavored in Alabama courts." In other words, Alabama's state courts readily accept the sort of pleadings he files. This is no excuse here. When he brought this lawsuit in the Baldwin County Circuit Court, Mr. Lay knew that the case would be removed to federal district court because the complaint contained causes of action based on federal statutes.[15] And he knew the District Court would require a repleader, which would inexorably lead to additional delay.

         In light of this Circuit's precedent, Mr. Lay's appeal of the dismissal of his incomprehensible amended complaint is frivolous. The prosecution of an incomprehensible amended complaint with repeated requests for extensions in the District Court and the prosecution of a frivolous appeal with repeated requests for extensions in this Court, taken together, reveal Mr. Lay's motive in filing this lawsuit. His motive was, and is, to delay or prevent the completion of Mellon's foreclosure.[16] This constitutes an abuse of judicial process, a "deliberate use of a legal procedure, whether criminal or civil, for a purpose for which it was not designed." Dykes v. Hosemann, 776 F.2d 942, 950 (11th Cir. 1985). The procedures of the federal courts were not designed for the purpose of accommodating Mr. Lay's objective.

         We accordingly affirm the judgment of the District Court. We also instruct Mr. Lay to show cause why we should not order him to pay the Appellees double costs and their expenses, including the attorney's fees they incurred in defending these appeals. See Pelletier, 921 F.2d at 1523; Cramer, 117 F.3d at 1265 & n.17. He shall show such cause in the form of a letter addressed to the Clerk of this Court within twenty-one days of the issuance of this opinion.

         SO ORDERED.

          BLOOM, District Judge, specially concurring

         I concur in the Court's judgment but I write separately to provide guidance to the district courts when faced with a shotgun pleading following a grant of leave to replead and resurrection of a similarly improper pleading. Here, the amended complaint fared no better than the initial pleading, and counsel took no action to remedy the deficiencies pointed out in either the unopposed motion for a more definite statement or the motion to dismiss. At that point, if Rule 8(a) and Iqbal/Twombly are to have meaning, the district courts have the authority to strike the pleading, dismiss the case with prejudice, and reserve jurisdiction to award the defendant's attorney fees and costs. There is simply a point in litigation when a defendant is entitled to be relieved from the time, energy, and expense of defending itself against seemingly vexatious claims, and the district court relieved of the unnecessary burden of combing through them.

         Perhaps the Plaintiff's attorney engineered a scheme, perhaps not. It would be unfortunate, indeed outrageous, if Mr. Lay's pleas for extensions, both at the district and appellate levels (due to travel, workload, repeated illness, hospitalization and death in the family) were not made in good faith and one large ruse. We may never know his true motivation. I write separately, however, to emphasize the crux of the majority's holding today: Neither Mr. Lay's numerous extensions nor the reasons behind them are the source of the Court's finding of frivolity. Indeed, the Court and counsel entertained his requests for extensions of time with the record before them. Rather, it is his plainly deficient pleading, refiled and appealed, that marshalled substantial unnecessary resources and that leads to the Court's finding today.

         EXHIBIT 1





         CIVIL ACTION NO. CV-2016-0062


         Come now, the Plaintiffs, Karun Jackson and Ursula Jackson, by and through their attorney of record and file their complaint against Bank of New York Mellon[1], Bank of America, N.A., Specialized Loan Services, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in support of said complaint states as follows:


         1. The Defendants, Specialized Loan Services, Bank of America, and Bank of New York Mellon[2] in this action are foreign corporations doing business in Baldwin County Alabama, and are "debt collectors" as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6).

         2. The Plaintiffs, Karun Jackson and Ursula Jackson, in this action are adult resident of Baldwin County, Alabama, and are "consumers" and/or persons affected by a violation of the FDCPA.


         3. Jurisdiction is proper in this Court as the underlying action is based upon a contract executed in Baldwin County, Alabama. The action is brought regarding an attempted foreclosure instituted in Baldwin County, Alabama, and is in the nature of a complaint regarding that attempted foreclosure action. The action is brought to enforce the contractual remedies allowed in the mortgage document. The action seeks damages in contract and tort for the actions of the Defendants with respect to their servicing and attempted foreclosure on the loan in question.


         4. Venue is proper in this Court as the Plaintiffs are citizens of Baldwin County, all or substantially all of the wrongs complained of occurred in this county, and the property is situated in this county.


         5. Karun Jackson and Ursula Jackson bought the property located at 26235 Jackson Circle extension Daphne AL 36526. On August 28, 2006, the Jacksons bought their property and executed a mortgage loan and received and executed a mortgage with First Residential Mortgage Network Inc. and also signed a promissory note with First Residential Mortgage Network Inc. The Mortgage contract provides for an escrow account for the taxes and insurance. The mortgagee is required to pay for the insurance and taxes from the escrow account.

         6. The Jacksons currently reside at 26235 Jackson Circle extension Daphne AL 36526.

         7. The loan was allegedly later transferred and sold to Specialized Loan Services and Bank of New York Mellon although the Plaintiffs dispute the validity of the alleged transfer.

         8. On November 8, 2015, Defendants improperly and wrongfully began foreclosure proceedings on the Jacksons property. The mortgage governs acceleration and sets for the lenders remedies and provides that Lender shall give notice to the borrower prior to acceleration following borrower's breach of any covenant or agreement in this Security Instrument. The Defendants or their agents[3] refused to engage in a legitimate and good faith mortgage foreclosure avoidance workout, accept the proper payments, inflated the amount due, and have threatened to foreclose on Plaintiffs without any basis to do so

         9. The Jauregui Law Firm handled the attempted foreclosure sale.

         10. The Defendants began foreclosure proceedings on Plaintiffs' property on November 8, 2015 despite knowing that the Plaintiffs, the Jacksons claimed that they were not in default and that the attempted foreclosure sale was wrongful and invalid.

         11.The foreclosure sale date was reported to the national credit bureaus and the Jacksons' credit was damaged as a result of the reporting of the foreclosure sale date which was invalid and wrongful.

         12. The Jacksons, upon information and belief, contend that the alleged Assignments of the note and mortgage is defective, void, or otherwise unenforceable as to the security instrument in question in this case. None of the Defendants are the original lender. Federal law 1641(g)(1)(B) requires a new creditor to provide the date of transfer, which has not occurred.

         13. The Jacksons contend that the attempted sale was wrongful, illegal, in violation of law and the documents governing the relationship between the Jacksons and the owners of the note and mortgage. Furthermore, the Jacksons allege that they were not behind in their payments on the mortgage and that they were improperly defaulted and that the note was improperly accelerated.

         14. The Jacksons contend that the foreclosing entity lacked standing or authority to initiate foreclosure proceedings on his property.

         15. The Jacksons allege that the actions of the Defendants and its agents, employees and ...

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