United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO.
C. Hall United States District Judge.
before this court is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 39), which
was filed by defendants, Bank of America, Bendett &
McHugh, P.C., and Jeffrey Knickerbocker (“Moving
Defendants”), on October 1, 2018. The Notice to Self
Represented Litigants, required to be served pursuant to D.
Conn. L. Civ. R. 12(a) upon pro se litigants, was
docketed and served on October 2, 2018, by the moving
defendants. See Notice (Doc. No. 41). On November 7,
2018, the court issued an Order to Show Cause why the court
should not grant the defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
See Order (Doc. No. 42). The court set a deadline of
November 21, 2018, as the date by which to show such cause
and noted that failure to do so would likely result in the
Motion being granted. Id. On November 20, 2018,
plaintiff, Heather Lindsay (“Lindsay”), moved for
an extension of time for 30 days to file her opposition.
See Motion (Doc. No. 43), which Motion the court
granted on November 29, 2018, see Order (Doc. No.
44). That 30-day period expired on December 21, 2018. No.
opposition has been filed to the Motion to Dismiss as of the
plaintiffs' Amended Complaint consists essentially of
claims that have been raised in a state court foreclosure
proceeding. They all implicate the validity of loan
documents, the foreclosure of the subject property, and
enforcement of judgments in the foreclosure action.
See Second Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 36). Also
included are claims alleging fraud by Bank of New York and
its attorneys in a “fraudulent foreclosure
proceeding.” See id. ¶ 19. Viewing the
latest Order from the Connecticut Superior Court of August 6,
2018, in which the Superior Court reset law days after the
filing of a bankruptcy petition, the court views this Order
as evidence that there is a final judgment of foreclosure.
See Superior Court Case Lookup, FST-CV085006978S,
(“Docket Sheet”) Entry No. 312.01, available at
light of a final judgment in state court, this court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine to sit, in effect, in appellate review of judicial
determinations made in the state court. See District of
Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462
(1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413
(1923); Vossbrinck v. Accredited Home Lenders, Inc.,
773 F.3d 423, 426 (2d Cir. 2014) (applying
Rooker-Feldman doctrine to claims of fraudulent
foreclosure). Dismissal of this action for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction is therefore appropriate.
to the extent that the Second Amended Complaint could be
liberally read to avoid the Rooker-Feldman bar, the
issues raised in the Second Amended Complaint relate to
matters concerning the mortgage, the assignment of mortgage,
and actions taken in relationship to the note. Any attempt to
proceed by asserting claims in this court concerning such
subjects are barred by collateral estoppel. Under Connecticut
law, “[c]ollateral estoppel, or issue preclusion,
prohibits the relitigation of an issue when that issue was
actually litigated and necessarily determined in a prior
action.” Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Jones,
220 Conn. 285, 296 (1991). Mutuality of parties is not
required. Id. at 300.
in their Second Amended Complaint, raise claims of fraud,
fraudulent foreclosure, forgery of a mortgage assignment, and
abuse of process. See generally Second Am. Compl. In
a 22-page Order on the now-plaintiffs' Motion to Dismiss,
entered on January 6, 2017, in the foreclosure proceedings,
the Connecticut Superior Court addressed these same claims.
See Order (Doc. No. 39-5) (“Foreclosure Order
on Mot. to Dismiss”). The Connecticut court also noted
that it conducted a four-day evidentiary hearing on the
Motion to Dismiss. Id. at 5.
the Connecticut court, the plaintiffs in this action alleged
that the party seeking foreclosure against them had no
standing to do so, and that the Connecticut court was
therefore without jurisdiction. Id. The same
argument is now before this court. Second Am. Compl.
¶¶ 18, 65. The Connecticut court, in addressing
jurisdiction, also reached the argument that the assignment
of the mortgage was fraudulent and/or a nullity. Foreclosure
Order on Mot. to Dismiss at 15-20. Those arguments are also
before this court and form the factual basis, slim as it is,
for the plaintiffs' claims of fraud and abuse of process.
See Second. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 31, 60, 71, 77,
83, 94. The Connecticut court found these arguments to be
lacking, and denied the Motion to Dismiss, noting, as well,
that the Motion represented the sixth attack on the
Bank's standing to foreclose. Foreclosure Order on Mot.
to Dismiss at 22.
the issues presented to this court were actually litigated
before and resolved by the Connecticut Superior Court, and
because the findings made by the state court were essential
to the judgment of foreclosure, collateral estoppel bars the
plaintiffs from relitigating those issues of fact and law
before this court against not only the Bank of New York, but
also the three defendants in this case who were not parties
to the foreclosure action. See Aetna, 220 Conn at
least the above stated reasons, the Motion to Dismiss is
granted. Because of the legal basis for dismissal of
plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint, the court does not
deem it appropriate to grant the plaintiffs' right to
Clerk is directed to enter judgment for the moving defendants
and close this case.
 Defendant Bank of New York was
dismissed by Order of this court for failure to prosecute and
failure to serve. See ...