Slorp v. Lerner, Sampson & Rothfus

Citation:
File name 14a0745n.06; Docket No. 13-3402
Tag(s):
Ruling:
In an opinion not recommended for publication, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a decision of the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio dismissing Slorp's claims under the FDCPA, Ohio consumer protection act, an Ohio falsification law and conspiracy to falsify. However, the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded the District Court's decision denying Slorp's leave to amend his complaint and add a RICO count, holding that the proposed amended complaint adequately alleged the elements of a RICO claim. The Court of Appeals distinguished between standing to attack an assignment in regard to establishing valid title to property, as opposed to standing to attack it on a technical basis where a borrower is not a party to the assignment, and found Slorp had standing to bring his claims. However, dismissal of those claims was affirmed for the reasons cited by the District Court. The Sixth Circuit found Slorp adequately stated a RICO claim as he alleged injury to property (his real property), two or more predicate acts to further the harm, and allegations of an enterprise sufficient to allow the amended complaint to be filed.
Procedural context:
The District Court granted motions to dismiss filed on behalf of all defendants, and denied Slorp's motion to file an amended complaint. Slorp timely appealed all rulings.
Facts:
Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss ("LSR") filed a foreclosure action against Slorp on behalf of Bank of America in July, 2010. The suit was based on a note and mortgage in favor of Countrywide Bank, with MERS as nominee, and an assignment signed on behalf of MERS by Shellie Hill on July 9, 2010. Slorp defended, but the Bank of America obtained a summary judgment. Slorp moved to set the judgment aside, and after serving Hill with a subpoena duces tecum for information about her relationship with Bank of America, the bank voluntarily dismissed its suit and the foreclosure judgment was vacated. In June, 2012, Slorp filed suit in the District Court against LSR, Bank of America, Hill and MERS, alleging the assignment was falsely executed because Hill was not an employee of MERS, and Countrywide Bank did not exist as of the date of the assignment. The defendants moved to dismiss and Slorp moved to amend the complaint to add a RICO claim. The District Court granted the motions to dismiss, finding that Slorp did not have standing to challenge the assignment, that the FDCPA claim was barred by the statute of limitations, the Ohio consumer protection statute did not extend to real property transactions, and that the falsification and conspiracy claims required a criminal conviction before a civil action would lie. The District Court denied Slorp's motion to amend as futile, finding he had not identified an injury caused by the assignment.
Judge(s):
Moore, Gibbons and Sutton; opinion by Gibbons

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