United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION & ORDER
L. GRAHAM United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A.'s Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 8). Because Plaintiff
Karen Hazel's claims are precluded by res judicata and
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the Court
GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
Karin Hazel, proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint and Motion
for Emergency Restraining Order against Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A. (“Wells Fargo”), requesting the Court enjoin
a foreclosure sale of her residence scheduled to occur on
December 2, 2016. The Court denied Hazel's Motion for
Emergency Restraining Order. (Doc. 14). The Court found,
amongst other things, that Hazel did not show a strong
likelihood of success on the merits of her claims. Now, Wells
Fargo moves to dismiss Hazel's claims.
The Court has already elucidated the relevant factual history
in this case:
Hazel alleges that she purchased a home through a loan
secured by a mortgage on the property. (Compl. at 2, Doc. 5).
Hazel failed to pay on that mortgage, and on July 6, 2010,
Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure complaint. (Id.).
Hazel alleges that Wells Fargo failed to comply with certain
regulations of federally insured mortgages, specifically,
regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development (“HUD”) that (1) the mortgagee
provide to the mortgagor a notice of default and
acceleration, 24 C.F.R. § 201.50(b), and that (2) in
most cases, a mortgagee attempt to meet face-to-face with a
delinquent mortgagor before filing a foreclosure complaint,
24 C.F.R. § 203.604.
But Hazel didn't make these arguments in the state-court
foreclosure action. Here's the procedural history of the
foreclosure action. The trial court granted summary judgment
to Wells Fargo and ordered a foreclosure sale. (Def.'s
Ex. C to Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. 8-3). Hazel then filed a
“Motion to Vacate Judgment and/or Relief from Judgment
Pursuant to Civ. R 60, ” arguing that she had
meritorious arguments that she did not have the opportunity
to present to the trial court. (Def.'s Ex. D-1, Doc.
8-4). A Magistrate entered a Decision and Entry granting
Hazel's motion to set aside the judgment against her.
(Def.'s Ex. E-1, Doc. 8-6). Wells Fargo objected to the
Magistrate's decision, but the state-court Judge adopted
the Magistrate's report, overruling Wells Fargo's
objections. (Def.'s Ex. E-2 at 3, Doc. 8-7). The Ohio
Tenth District Court of Appeals reversed the judgment
adopting the Magistrate's decision and remanded the case
to the trial court. (Def.'s Ex. F at 2, Doc. 8-8). On
remand, the Tenth District directed the trial court to
consider whether Hazel complied with Ohio Civil Rule 9(C),
(Id.), which says, “(C) Conditions
precedent[:] In pleading the performance or occurrence of
conditions precedent, it is sufficient to aver generally that
all conditions precedent have been performed or have
occurred. A denial of performance or occurrence shall be made
specifically and with particularity, ” Ohio Civ. R.
On remand, the trial court held that Hazel “did not
specifically controvert the plaintiff's claim that it had
complied with all the conditions precedent to
foreclosure.” (Def.'s Ex. F at 4). Specifically,
Wells Fargo, in its foreclosure complaint, alleged that it
did comply with all the conditions precedent to foreclosure,
but Hazel, in her Answer, only asserted a general denial.
Therefore, the trial court held, “[s]ince Hazel's
answer was insufficient to put the plaintiff's compliance
with the HUD regulations at issue in the case, the Court
finds that she has not established that she has a meritorious
defense to present if relief is granted.” (Id.
at 5). The trial court denied Hazel's motion for relief
from judgment. (Id.). Hazel appealed that decision,
but the Tenth District affirmed the decision of the trial
court, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Hazel,
2016-Ohio-305, ¶ 9 (10th Dist., January 28, 2016), and
the Ohio Supreme Court declined jurisdiction, Wells Fargo
Bank, N.A. v. Hazel, 146 Ohio St.3d 1415,
2016-Ohio-3390, 51 N.E.3d 660 (table decision).
Then, Hazel filed this action in federal court. Hazel asserts
three causes of action in her complaint: (I) breach of
contract, (II) preliminary and permanent injunction, and
(III) injunctive relief. (Compl. at 8-12). In Count I, Hazel
alleges that Wells Fargo and Hazel “agreed, as a term
of the Mortgage, that Wells Fargo would comply with all
applicable HUD mortgage servicing regulations before
initiating any foreclosure proceedings or taking any other
action against Plaintiff. Therefore, Defendant Wells Fargo
has materially breached its agreement with Plaintiff
Hazel.” (Id. at 9). In Counts II and III,
Hazel seeks an injunction preventing the foreclosure sale of
her home, arguing that Wells Fargo has no legal right to do
so. (Id. at 9-12).
(Op. & Order Denying Mot. for TRO at 1-3, Doc. 14).
Fargo styles their motion as one brought under Rule 12(b)(6),
but because Wells Fargo also argues that this Court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction over two of Hazel's claims,
the Court will consider Rule 12(b)(1) as well. See DLX,
Inc. v. Kentucky, 381 F.3d 511, 516 (6th Cir. 2004)
(analyzing Rooker-Feldman doctrine under
Rule 12(b)(1)); see also In re Kapla, 485 B.R. 136,
143 n.1 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2012) (“Although the
Defendants' motion to dismiss is brought under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) . . . the Defendants'
Rooker-Feldman argument is more properly
considered under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) . . . .”).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12 permits a party to assert by
motion the defenses of a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction
and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), (6). Plaintiffs bear the
burden of proving jurisdiction in order to survive a Rule