United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
August 26, 2016, Plaintiff Joyce Hunt filed a Complaint in
the Lake County, Indiana, Circuit/Superior Court, alleging
that in 2006 Defendant JP Morgan Chase Bank issued fraudulent
loans in Plaintiff's name without her knowledge or
consent and changed the terms of a legitimate loan Plaintiff
took out so that Defendant could pay off the fraudulent loan.
Compl. ¶¶ 7-18, ECF No. 3. On October 31, 2016,
Defendant removed the matter to this Court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). This
matter is before the Court on the Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment [ECF No. 33]. Plaintiff, who is currently
proceeding pro se, was served with a Notice of Summary
Judgment Motion in conformity with Northern District of
Indiana Local Rule 56-1(f) and Timms v. Frank, 953
F.2d 281, 285 (7th Cir. 1992). The motion is fully briefed
and ripe for ruling. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “[T]he burden on the moving party
may be discharged by ‘showing'-that is, pointing
out to the district court-that there is an absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
“If the moving party has properly supported [its]
motion, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to come
forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Spierer v. Rossman, 798 F.3d
502, 507 (7th Cir. 2015). “To survive summary judgment,
the nonmoving party must establish some genuine issue for
trial such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in
[his] favor.” Gordon v. FedEx Freight, Inc.,
674 F.3d 769, 772-73 (7th Cir. 2012).
this context, the Court must construe all facts and
reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Frakes v. Peoria Sch.
Dist. No. 150, 872 F.3d 545, 550 (7th Cir. 2017).
However, the nonmoving party “is only entitled to the
benefit of inferences supported by admissible evidence, not
those ‘supported by only speculation or
conjecture.'” Grant v. Trs. of Ind. Univ.,
870 F.3d 562, 568 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing Nichols v.
Michigan City Plant Planning Dep't, 755 F.3d 594,
599 (7th Cir. 2014)). Likewise, irrelevant or unnecessary
factual disputes do not preclude the entry of summary
judgment. Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th
Cir. 2012) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).
is proceeding pro se. The Court “liberally construe[s]
the pleadings of individuals who proceed pro se.”
Greer v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chi., Ill., 267
F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001). “The essence of liberal
construction is to give a pro se plaintiff a break when,
although [she] stumbles on a technicality, [her] pleading is
otherwise understandable.” Hudson v. McHugh,
148 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 1998). However, the Court
“still holds Plaintiff to the same substantive
standards as other civil litigants when it considers the
motion for summary judgment.” Runnels v. Armstrong
World Indus., Inc., 105 F.Supp.2d 914, 918 (C.D. Ill.
OF MATERIAL FACTS
the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the
following are the undisputed material facts of record. In
January 2006, Plaintiff applied for a loan (the “1934
Loan”) from Chase Bank USA backed by a mortgage on her
real estate in Gary, Indiana. Compl. ¶ 7. The 1934 Loan
was initially denied on January 30, 2006, based on
“ownership deficiencies.” Resp. to Summ. J. 2,
ECF No. 48.
Bank USA later reversed course and approved this loan. As a
result, on February 24, 2006, Plaintiff signed a note
agreeing to pay Chase Bank USA $40, 000.00 plus interest in
exchange for a $40, 000.00 loan. Mem. Supp. Summ. J., Ex. 1,
at 5-7, ECF No. 34-1. The 1934 Loan was backed by a mortgage,
which Plaintiff also signed, on Plaintiff's real estate
in Gary, Indiana. Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 10-23. On the
same day, Plaintiff signed a U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (“HUD”) Settlement Statement
authorizing the release of loan funds in the amounts of: $20,
055.00 to “HFC, ” a creditor of Plaintiff's;
$2820.61 to Chase Bank USA in settlement charges for the
loan; and the balance of $17, 124.39 to Plaintiff in cash.
Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 31-32.
note on the 1934 Loan explicitly authorized Chase Bank USA to
transfer servicing of the loan, and, on February 24, 2006,
Plaintiff signed a “Notice of Assignment, Sale or
Transfer of Servicing Rights” acknowledging the
transfer of the 1934 Loan from Chase Bank USA to Defendant,
JP Morgan Chase Bank. Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 5, 34-35.
When that transfer became effective on April 1, 2006, the
1934 Loan number was updated to a number ending in 8455 (the
“8455 Loan”). Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 64.
Thus, the 1934 Loan and the 8455 Loan both refer to the same
transaction (together the “1934/8455 Loan”).
See Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 64.
August 28, 2006, Plaintiff signed documents for a new loan
(the “5283 Loan”) with Chase Bank USA, backed by
a new mortgage on her same real estate in Gary, Indiana. Mem.
Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 36-63. This loan was for $55,
200.00, with $41, 985.73 allocated to pay off the 1934/8455
Loan, $911.00 allocated toward paying off a tax lien on
Plaintiff's mortgaged real property, and the remaining
balance going to Plaintiff. Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 62-
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges: (1) the 8455 Loan was taken out
“without her consent or authorization”; (2) $20,
055.00 of the 8455 Loan was not actually paid to HFC despite
Defendant's representation to the contrary; and (3)
Defendant used $41, 985.75 of the 5283 Loan to pay off the
8455 Loan and $911.00 of the 5283 Loan to pay off a tax lien
without Plaintiff's consent to those terms. Compl.
¶¶ 9, 11-15. Defendant argues that it is entitled
to summary judgment because the unrefuted evidence
contradicts each of these claims or absolves Defendant of
liability and because Plaintiff failed to respond to requests
for admission, effectively admitting that each of these
claims are false. Mem. Supp. Summ. J. 6. The Court agrees
with Defendant that there are no genuine issues of material
fact and that no reasonable fact finder could find for
Plaintiff. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also
Dempsey v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 16
F.3d 832, 836 (7th Cir. 1994) (“[T]he record must
reveal that ‘no reasonable jury could find for the
nonmoving party.'” (quoting Anderson v.
Stauffer Chem. Co., 965 F.2d 397, 400 (7th Cir. 1992))).
The Court considers each basis of Plaintiff's fraud claim
Plaintiff claims that the 8455 Loan was fraudulently taken
out in her name without her authorization. Compl. ¶ 9.
But, as set forth above, the 8455 Loan and the 1934 Loan are
one and the same. Defendant has submitted documents that were
signed by Plaintiff and notarized which show that she
authorized the 1934 Loan for $40, 000 on February 24, 2006.
See Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex. 1, at 5-7, 22, 29. These
documents also show that, on the same date that she signed
the 1934 Loan, Plaintiff explicitly authorized Defendant to
transfer the 1934 Loan. See Mem. Supp. Summ. J. Ex.
1, at 5, 29, 35. Defendant then transferred the 1934 Loan
from “Chase Bank USA” to “JPMorgan Chase
Bank, ” giving notice to Plaintiff the ...