United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, J.
2015, Wells Fargo Bank sought to foreclose on Michael Earl
Davis's home. The Philadelphia County Court of Common
Pleas ordered the foreclosure and awarded Wells Fargo $313,
210 in November, 2016. Two weeks after the state court's
decision, Davis filed his Complaint (which he amended the
following day) in this case seeking to recover the amount
awarded to Wells Fargo, along with punitive damages.
Fargo moves to dismiss Davis's Amended Complaint on three
grounds: First, Wells Fargo seeks dismissal for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), asserting
that the claims are nothing more than an appeal of the common
pleas court's decision and are barred by the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Wells Fargo also
moves to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim. Finally, Wells Fargo contends that res
judicata bars the claims Davis raised or could have
raised in previous actions. For the reasons that follow,
Wells Fargo's motion is granted pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1). Because the Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, it dismisses the Amended Complaint without
addressing Wells Fargo's 12(b)(6) or res
29, 2005, Davis executed a note and mortgage for the home
located at 4015 Green Street in Philadelphia (the
“Property”) to BNC Mortgage, Inc.
(“BNC”) (Am. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 2.) On
January 5, 2008, Wells Fargo locked Davis out of the Property
without having received an assignment of the note and
mortgage from BNC. (Id. ¶ 7.) On January 25,
2008, Wells Fargo commenced its first foreclosure action
against Davis in the Philadelphia County Court of Common
Pleas (the “2008 foreclosure”). See
(id. ¶ 8); (Defs.' Mem., at 5). After Wells
Fargo initiated the 2008 foreclosure, Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), as nominee
for BNC Mortgage, Inc., purported to assign the mortgage to
Wells Fargo for the first time. (Id. ¶ 9.)
Davis contends that the assignment was invalid.
is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, and was
ordered to active duty while the 2008 foreclosure action was
ongoing. (Id. ¶ 10.) He requested a stay of the
2008 foreclosure under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
(SCRA). (Id. ¶ 11.) Though his request was not
docketed, Wells Fargo moved to vacate a default judgment it
had secured when it learned that Davis was an active duty
servicemember. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) Davis
remained on active duty until October 1, 2011. (Id.
October 12, 2011, just after Davis returned from active duty,
MERS again purported to assign the mortgage to Wells Fargo.
(Id. ¶ 13.) Davis contends that this assignment
was also invalid because “it did not confirm the
[first] assignment and signing authority.”
(Id.) Following this second purported assignment,
Wells Fargo took out an insurance policy on the Property.
See (id. ¶ 15). Davis remained locked
out of the Property. See (id. ¶ 14).
November 8, 2011 Wells Fargo first inspected the Property and
discovered a roof leak that was damaging the ceiling, wall
and floor in the master bedroom. (Id. ¶ 14.)
The next day, Wells Fargo filed a claim with its insurer to
cover the damage. (Id. ¶ 15.) Wells Fargo and
its insurer settled the claim for $317, but Wells Fargo never
repaired the roof leak or the damage to the master bedroom.
(Id. ¶¶ 16-17.) As a result, the Property
continued to deteriorate. See (id. ¶
a year after Wells Fargo discovered the leak, Davis received
a violation notice from the City of Philadelphia stating that
the Property was unsafe. (Id. ¶ 18.) He
requested and received keys from Wells Fargo so that he could
inspect the Property. (Id. ¶ 19.) Davis then
discovered that the house's rear wall had partially
collapsed and that mold had grown throughout the Property.
(Id. ¶ 20.) He contends that the cost of
rehabilitating the property exceeds $200, 000. (Id.
parties have litigated-and re-litigated-this and related
matters in state and federal courts over the last five years.
The previous cases also concerned a mortgage on the Property.
Davis first sued U.S. Bank in federal court in 2012.
See Complaint, Davis v. U.S. Nat'l Bank
Ass'n, No. 12-cv-05943 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 18, 2012), ECF
No. 1 (alleging SCRA violations and trespass). Judge Savage
dismissed that case on January 24, 2013. Id. at ECF
No. 23. Davis then sued Wells Fargo and its insurer in 2014.
See Complaint, Davis v. Wells Fargo U.S. Bank
Nat'l Ass'n & Assurant, Inc., No.
14-cv-7014, ECF No. 1 (alleging trespass, breach of contract,
breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair
dealing, negligence, insurance fraud, bad faith, loss of
rental income and violations of the Bank Holding Company
Act). That case was originally assigned to Judge Slomsky but
was reassigned first to Judge Kearney on January 26, 2015,
(ECF No. 8), and then to this Court on March 9, 2015, (ECF
No. 25). The Court granted the Defendants' motion to
dismiss in that case on June 8, 2015. (ECF No. 51.) Davis
appealed and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in
part, vacated in part and remanded. Davis v. Wells
Fargo, 824 F.3d 333 (3d Cir. 2016). Following the
appeal, the parties settled and the Court dismissed the case
under Local Rule of Civil Procedure 41.1(b). (ECF No. 69.)
Property has been the subject of multiple foreclosure
proceedings. Davis removed the 2008 foreclosure action to
federal court and subsequently filed counterclaims against
Wells Fargo. See Notice of Removal &
Counterclaim, U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n v.
Davis, No. 15-00494, ECF Nos. 1 & 12. That case was
remanded to state court. Id., ECF No. 18. Wells
Fargo again sought to foreclose on the Property on February
4, 2015 (the “2015 foreclosure”). See
(Def.'s Mem., at 3-4, & Ex. F). The Philadelphia
County Court of Common Pleas ordered the foreclosure and
awarded Wells Fargo $313, 210 on November 3, 2016.
See (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-24). Davis appealed
that judgment to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
See Notice of Appeal, US Bank Nat'l
Ass'n v. Davis, No. 1502-00729, Phila. Cty. Ct.
Common Pleas (Dec. 5, 2016).
November 17, 2016 (before appealing to the superior court),
Davis filed this lawsuit seeking the $313, 000 the common
pleas court awarded Wells Fargo. He seeks to set aside the
mortgage and contends that Wells Fargo was “unjustly
enriched . . . with a money award ...