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Jones v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

September 25, 2018

JOY JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., and JOHN DOE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 6] and Motion to Amend Previous Filing [ECF No. 11]. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Amend Previous Filing is DENIED AS MOOT. The District Court DENIES the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and DISMISSES the Plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff, Joy Jones, has engaged in extensive litigation in Allen County Superior Court in Indiana regarding a mortgage foreclosure action. (Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. at 18, ECF No. 11). On July 19, 2018, the Allen County Superior Court issued an order granting the Defendant's summary judgment motion and decree of foreclosure. A sheriff's sale is scheduled for October 2, 2018.

         The Plaintiff's issues with her mortgage began when she purchased her home in June 2003 and had insufficient time to review closing documents. (Id. at 9). The Plaintiff claims that she was unaware of various conditions and terms that existed in these documents, that she felt compelled to sign them despite her lack of understanding, and that none of the questions she asked while she signed the documents were answered. (Id. at 9, 17). The Plaintiff alleges that, in the process of purchasing her home, the Defendants knowingly violated federal mortgage loan origination and disclosure laws. (Id. at 29). The Plaintiff also claims that the Defendants committed “related racketeering activity of extortion” in failing to abide by the terms of the mortgage agreement and withheld material information regarding the Plaintiff's property taxes, which she had difficulty paying. (Id. at 10, 30).

         The Plaintiff describes three foreclosure actions against her in Allen Superior Court, in 2008, 2010, and 2017. (Id. at 10, 20, 23). The Plaintiff claims that she was not in default on her mortgage at any time, contrary to the Defendants' allegations in state court. (Id. at 30). The Plaintiff claims that the Defendants used “mail” and “wires” to claim that she had not made her payments. (Id. at 33). The Plaintiff claims that the Defendants also violated federal and state consumer laws in the conversion of her payments and subsequently billing her as if she had not made payments on her mortgage. (Id. at 39). In doing so, the Plaintiff alleges, the Defendant has violated the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act 12 USC § 2601, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act 15 U.S.C. § 1602, Truth in Lending Act 15 U.S.C. § 1601, the Fair Debt Reporting Act, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), and wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343). (Id. at. 2 ¶ 40).

         The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants used the phone and mail to offer multiple loan modifications, but in each instance the Defendants withdrew or failed to fulfill their end of the loan modification, which resulted in further harm to the Plaintiff. (Id. at 31). The Plaintiff also alleges that in the course of these activities the Defendants executed a criminal scheme and engaged in racketeering activities, using phone and mail systems to defraud her in violation of RICO (42 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1966), IC § 35-45-6-2); mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), and wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343) statutes. (Id. at 31).

         The Plaintiff alleges that during foreclosure proceedings in Allen County Superior Court the Defendants devised and executed a scheme to obstruct justice through perjury by filing “different, fraudulent, conflicting and false documents” from 2008-2018. (Id. at 41). The Plaintiff alleges that the documents the Defendants filed in support of its foreclosure proceeding were inaccurate or forged. (Id. at 18, 20). The Plaintiff claims that the Defendants attached “symbols, markings and images belonging to government entities to give the appearance of validity and dependability” in violation of “8 U.S.C Chapter 25.” (Id. at 41).

         According to the Plaintiff, during her foreclosure proceedings from 2008-2018 Judge Boyer of the Allen County Superior Court, the Allen County Clerk of the Court, and the Indiana Court of Appeals developed a “conspiratorial relationship” with the other Defendants. (Id. at 29). The Plaintiff claims that Judge Boyer, the Allen County Clerk of the Court, and the Indiana Court of Appeals “willfully and knowingly schemed and conspired” with the other Defendants to deprive the Plaintiff of her property interest in violation of the Constitution. (Id. at 44). She states that Judge Boyer “turned a blind eye” to the Defendants' civil and criminal violations, which deprived the Plaintiff of meaningful access to the Superior Court. (Id. at 43). The Plaintiff alleges that Judge Boyer's conduct and rulings were prejudiced toward the Defendants and injured her.

         On May 9, 2018, the Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint and a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF Nos. 1, 2] in this Court, challenging these mortgage foreclosure proceedings. On May 14, 2018, the Court denied the Plaintiff's Motion and dismissed the Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice, as the Plaintiff's income disqualified her from proceeding in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 3]. On August 6, 2018, the Plaintiff filed an additional Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 6], and a Motion to Permit Filing of Complaint [ECF No. 7]. The Court construed the Motion to Permit Filing of Complaint as a motion requesting an extension of time, and granted the request [ECF No. 8]. The Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint on September 7, 2018 [ECF No. 10]. On September 10, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the Amended Complaint and attached a Second Amended Complaint [ECF No. 11 at 1, 11-1]. The Plaintiff seeks relief from several entities, including Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Option One Mortgage Corporation, Sand Canyon Corporation, American Home Mortgaging Inc., Judge Nancy Boyer of the Allen County Superior Court, the Allen County Clerk of the Court, and currently unidentified “John Does.” (Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. at 4-8).

         The Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint without leave from the Court. A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served; otherwise, it may amend only be leave of the court or by written consent of the adverse party. Fed R. Civ. P. 15(a). Leave to amend is freely given when justice so requires. Id. This right is not absolute, Brunt v. Serv. Employees Int'l Union, 284 F.3d 715, 720 (7th Cir. 2002), but the Court finds that the Plaintiff's actions were not taken in bad faith. Ind. Funeral Dirs. Ins. Trust v. Trustmark Ins. Corp., 347 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2003). Accordingly, the Court reviewed the Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint to conduct its analysis of the Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.

         DISCUSSION

         To authorize a litigant to proceed in Forma Pauperis, the Court must make two determinations: first, whether the litigant is unable to pay the costs of commencing the action, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1); and second, whether the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id., § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court finds that the Plaintiff's claims fail for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         To determine whether a Plaintiff may proceed in Forma Pauperis, the Court must look to the sufficiency of the Complaint to determine whether it can be construed as stating a claim for which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). “Subject-matter jurisdiction is the first question in every case, and if the court concludes that it lacks ...


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