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Cavalier v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 20, 2015

ANNIE CAVALIER
v.
NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC

RULING AND ORDER

JOHN W. DeGRAVELLES, District Judge.

I. FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This matter began with an executory action previously litigated in the 21st Judicial District Court, State of Louisiana wherein Nationstar Mortgage, LLC ["Nationstar"] filed a Petition to Enforce Security Interest by Executory Process [1] versus Travis A. Cavalier and Annie F. Cavalier ["Cavaliers"] filed July 31, 2012. Nationstar sought to enforce a promissory note and mortgage made by the Cavaliers in favor of Homecomings Financial, LLC, which mortgage identified Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as lender's nominee. Nationstar alleged that the Cavaliers had defaulted on the subject promissory note. The Cavaliers were each served with Notice of Seizure and Notice to Appoint Appraiser through Travis Cavalier on August 17, 2012.[2] However, the court record does not indicate that they were served with Nationstar's Petition. [3] On September 3, 2013, the Cavaliers filed a Motion for Postponement of Sheriff Sale alleging fraud by Nationstar's legal counsel.[4] The sheriff sale was scheduled for the following day. Because the Cavaliers were not served with the Petition, the state court granted the Cavaliers' motion on September 4, 2013, stopping the sheriff sale.[5] On November 12, 2013, the Cavaliers filed a Petition for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary injunction and/or Permanent Injunction again alleging fraud by Nationstar's legal counsel, again the day before the sheriff sale was scheduled.[6] Again, the state court granted the Cavaliers' motion, on November 13, 2013, but conditioned the order stopping the sheriff sale on the Cavaliers posting a $5, 000.00 bond before the sale.[7] The bond was not furnished and the subject property was sold at sheriff sale on November 13, 2013 to Nationstar.[8] The Cavaliers then filed a Motion for Appeal on December 4, 2013.[9] Devolutive appeal was granted to the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.[10] On August 26, 2014, the appeal was dismissed as abandoned by the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal because the Cavaliers failed to file a brief in support of their appeal.[11] Ownership of the subject property was transferred from Nationstar to Federal National Mortgage Association ["Fannie Mae"] on January 9, 2014.[12] On March 12, 2014, in the 21st Judicial District Court, State of Louisiana, Fannie Mae was issued a writ of possession for the eviction of the Cavaliers from the subject property.[13]

Plaintiff, Annie Cavalier, filed a Petition for Damages and Temporary Restraining Order Suspending the Eviction of Plaintiff and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Permanent Injunction and/or For the Annul the Sheriff Sale and/or For the Return of the Property against Defendant, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, in the 21st Judicial District Court, State of Louisiana on October 15, 2014.[14] Nationstar removed the matter to this Court on November 5, 2014.[15] Plaintiff alleges that previous state court executory action resulted in an invalid judgment because the evidence presented to the state court in support of the executory action was fraudulent.[16] Nationstar moved to dismiss pursuant to FRCP Rule 12(b)(6) on the ground that the Plaintiff's claims are res judicata. [17]

II. APPLICABLE LAW

A. Dismissal Under Federal Rule Of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

Nationstar's Motion to Dismiss[18] is based on a defense raised pursuant to FRCP Rule 12(b)(6) that Plaintiff's Petition fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. This court is limited to a review of the facts stated in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint, and matters of which judicial notice may be taken under FRE Rule 201 when considering Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.[19] A claim for relief must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and a demand for the relief sought.[20]

B. Res Judicata Under La. R.S. 13:4231

The Supreme Court has held that, "under the Full Faith and Credit Act a federal court must give the same preclusive effect to a state-court judgment as another court of that State would give."[21] "It has long been established that ยง 1738 does not allow federal courts to employ their own rules of res judicata in determining the effect of state judgments. Rather, it goes beyond the common law and commands a federal court to accept the rules chosen by the State from which the judgment is taken."[22]

In Louisiana, a valid and final judgment is conclusive between the same parties, except on appeal or other direct review.[23] Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 13, Section 4231, provides as follows:

Except as otherwise provided by law, a valid and final judgment is conclusive between the same parties, except on appeal or other direct review, to the following extent:
(1) If the judgment is in favor of the plaintiff, all causes of action existing at the time of final judgment arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the litigation are extinguished and merged in the judgment;
(2) If the judgment is in favor of the defendant, all causes of action existing at the time of final judgment arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the litigation are extinguished and the judgment bars a subsequent action on those causes of action;
(3) A judgment in favor of either the plaintiff or the defendant is conclusive, in any subsequent action between them, with respect to any issue actually litigated and determined if ...

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