United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
LEROY A. CAMPBELL
LAUREN R. TABAS, et al.
complex financial world, notes and mortgages can be assigned
by one bank to another without the knowledge of the mortgagor
so that, if the mortgagor defaults, he may find himself
subject to suit by a party he has never heard of. That is
what happened to pro se plaintiff Leroy Campbell, against
whom a state court entered a foreclosure judgment. He now
sues the bank that brought the action against him-U.S.
Bank-along with its vice president, various lawyers, and a
notary public, alleging they conspired to fabricate documents
to make it appear that U.S Bank had been assigned the
mortgage and note. However, he provides no grounds for his
allegations and, even if he had, this court lacks
jurisdiction over his claims. Therefore, as explained below,
defendants' motions to dismiss are granted.
November 21, 2006, Mr. Campbell, along with Marcia R.
Campbell, executed a note and mortgage reflecting a debt of
$249, 994.00 secured by real property located at 5008 Foxdale
Drive, Whitehall, Pennsylvania 18052. Compl. ¶¶ 22,
24, Exs. A (Note), Ex. C (Mortgage). The recorded mortgage
identified the lender as Lend America and its nominee,
successors and assigns as Mortgage Electronic Registration
Systems, Inc. (MERS). Id.
August 2013, the Campbells had defaulted on their mortgage
payments and U.S. Bank filed a foreclosure action against
them in state court. Id. Ex. A. U.S. Bank claimed to
have been assigned the mortgage by MERS. Id. ¶
25. This action is based on that assignment, which Mr.
Campbell argues was fraudulent.
Campbell alleges a vast conspiracy to fabricate documents
purporting to show an assignment so that U.S. Bank could
appear to have standing to bring the state court action. He
avers U.S. Bank's counsel, defendant law firm Powers,
Kirn & Javardian, LLC, created false documents describing
the assignment, id. ¶ 27; defendant Paula Lynn
Laslie, “purporting to be” assistant secretary of
MERS, signed and executed the false assignment, id.
¶ 28; and defendant Carrie Bratcher, a notary public,
improperly notarized the defective assignment. Id.
¶ 30. U.S. Bank then allegedly paid Mr. Campbell's
attorney not to appear in court in order to obtain a default
judgment. Id. ¶ 32.
court entered a foreclosure judgment in favor of U.S. Bank on
May 15, 2015. Id. Ex. G. Mr. Campbell filed a motion
to vacate the judgment. Id. ¶¶ 33, 34.
When this was denied, he appealed. Id. ¶¶
35, 36. His appeal was also denied. Id. ¶ 37. A
sheriff's sale of his home was scheduled for January 27,
2017. He then filed his complaint in federal court commencing
this action and requested a temporary restraining order
against the sale, which was denied. Docket No. 8.
basis for Mr. Campbell's belief in the alleged conspiracy
appears to be his discovery that Lend America, Inc., from
which he obtained the mortgage, was dissolved on January 26,
2011. Id. ¶¶ 26, 30, 39, Ex. D. Mr.
Campbell argues that the fact that Lend America had been
dissolved before its nominee/assignee, MERS, assigned the
note and mortgage to U.S. Bank suggests that the assignment
was invalid and procured through fraud. Id.
¶¶ 30, 39.
Campbell requests compensation for his state litigation
expenses and “cloud upon title which made [his] home
unmarketable.” Id. ¶ 40. He brings the
following claims: (1) violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.), (2) violation
of the Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organizations Act (18
U.S.C. § 1961, et seq.), (3) violation of the
Pennsylvania Unlawful Collection Agency Practices (18 Pa.
Cons. Stat. § 7311, et seq.) and (4) civil conspiracy.
order to state a claim, a pleading must contain “a
short and plain statement of”: 1) “the grounds of
the courts' jurisdiction” and 2) “the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Before addressing a
motion to dismiss, a court must first establish that it has
jurisdiction over the action. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a
Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998). “Without
jurisdiction the court cannot proceed at all in any
court has jurisdiction, it can proceed to address whether the
plaintiff has stated a claim showing entitlement to relief.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a court to
dismiss all or part of an action for “failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Typically, a
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” but must include “enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption
that all of the allegations in the complaint are true.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citations omitted). This “calls for enough fact[s] to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence of” the necessary element. Id. at
556. In reviewing a complaint, “[t]he District Court
must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as
true, but may disregard any legal conclusions.”
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d
Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). It “must then determine whether the facts
alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the
plaintiff has a ‘plausible claim for
relief.'” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679).
Mr. Campbell is proceeding pro se, the court “must
liberally construe his pleadings, and . . . apply the
applicable law, irrespective of whether [he] has mentioned it
by name.” Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365,
369 (3d Cir. 2003). “[H]owever inartfully pleaded,
” a pro se complaint must be held to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520-21 (1972). Unless amendment would be inequitable or
futile the Court should not dismiss the ...