United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS APPEAL (DOC. NO.
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
George Cameron (“Mr. Cameron”) filed this appeal
pro se from an Order of the United States Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Connecticut (“the Bankruptcy
Court”). See generally Notice of Appeal from
Bankruptcy Court (“Appeal”) (Doc. No. 1). The
Order denied Mr. Cameron's Motion for Reconsideration of
the Bankruptcy Court's prior Order, which prior Order
granted appellee PHH Mortgage Corporation (“PHH”)
in rem relief from an automatic stay as to property
located at 631 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield, Connecticut
06002 (“the Property”). See Order Denying
Motion to Reconsider (Doc. No. 40), In re Cameron,
No. 18-20369 (Bankr. D. Conn.) (“Second Bankruptcy
Action”); Ruling on Motion for In Rem Relief
from Stay (“Order Lifting Stay”) (Doc. No. 27),
Second Bankruptcy Action. PHH now moves to dismiss Mr.
Cameron's Appeal. See Motion to Dismiss Appeal
(Doc. No. 11).
reasons discussed below, PHH's Motion to Dismiss is
24, 2010, PHH filed a foreclosure action in Connecticut
Superior Court against Mr. Cameron and his wife (“Mrs.
Cameron”) (collectively, “the Camerons”),
seeking to foreclose on the Property (“the Foreclosure
Action”). See PHH Mortg. Co. v. Cameron, No.
HHDCV106012369S, 2017 WL 4508613, at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct.
Aug. 29, 2017) (summarizing the history of the Foreclosure
Action). After addressing numerous motions, including motions
to strike, motions to dismiss, motions for nonsuit, and
motions for summary judgment, the Superior Court held a
two-day trial on October 6 and October 17, 2015. See
id. On April 29, 2016, the Superior Court ruled in favor
of PHH, concluding that:
[T]he plaintiff [PHH] has established its prima facie case
for foreclosure: the plaintiff is the current owner and
holder of the underlying Note; the Note is endorsed in blank;
the plaintiff and/or their agents have been in possession of
the original note since prior to the start of this
foreclosure action; when this suit was commenced, the owner
of the Note, Fannie Mae, authorized the plaintiff to act as
servicer of this loan including bring [sic] a foreclosure
action in servicer's name; the plaintiff is the current
mortgagee of record; the plaintiff issued a written notice of
default to the defendant; the defendant failed to cure the
underlying default; and the loan is in default and currently
due for the October 1, 2007, mortgage payment.
PHH Mortg. Corp. v. Cameron, No. HHDCV106012369S,
2016 WL 2935570, at *9 (Conn. Super. Ct. Apr. 29, 2016). The
Superior Court also rejected all eighteen special defenses
raised by the Camerons, as well as all of their
counterclaims. Id. at *10.
14, 2016, the Superior Court entered a Judgment of Strict
Foreclosure and set the law day for August 1, 2016.
See Judgment of Strict Foreclosure (Doc. No.
283.50), PHH Mortg. Corp. v. Cameron, No.
HHD-CV10-6012369-S (Conn. Super. Ct.) (“Foreclosure
Action”); Order (Doc. No. 276.10), Foreclosure Action.
Under Connecticut law, if the law day runs without the
mortgagor redeeming legal title to the mortgaged property,
the absolute title to the property passes to the mortgagee on
that date. See Sovereign Bank v. Licata, 178
Conn.App. 82, 97 (2017).
August 1, 2016, the date of the law day, Mrs. Cameron filed
for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7. See generally
Chapter 7 Voluntary Petition (Doc. No. 1), In re
Cameron, No. 16-21256 (Bankr. D. Conn.) (“First
Bankruptcy Action”). Pursuant to section 362(a)(1) of
title 11 of the United States Code, Mrs. Cameron's filing
of a bankruptcy petition created an automatic stay against
the Foreclosure Action. See Rexnord Holdings, Inc. v.
Bidermann, 21 F.3d 522, 527 (2d Cir. 1994) (“[T]he
filing of a bankruptcy petition creates an automatic stay
against the commencement or continuation of a judicial,
administrative, or other action or proceeding against the
debtor that was or could have been commenced before the
commencement of the case.”) (internal quotation marks
and alterations omitted) (quoting 11 U.S.C. §
362(a)(1)). Accordingly, the law day in the Foreclosure
Action was reset for after the completion of the bankruptcy
proceeding. See Order (Doc. No. 302.86), Foreclosure
Action, at 1 (rescheduling the law day in the Foreclosure
Action for March 19, 2018).
31, 2017, PHH moved the Bankruptcy Court to lift the
automatic stay as to the Property. See generally
Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay (Doc. No. 29), First
Bankruptcy Action. After holding a hearing on the matter, in
which both Mr. and Mrs. Cameron participated, the Bankruptcy
Court lifted the automatic stay as to the Property, reasoning
Res judicata, collateral estoppel and the Rocker [sic]
Feldman doctrine bar the Debtor's re-litigation of the
Debtor's alleged defenses and claims and bind this Court
to the judgment of the Superior Court. The claims and
defenses of the Debtor and her husband were previously raised
and fully adjudicated at trial at [t]he Superior Court and
are spurious, dilatory and utterly without merit. To the
extent [that] such defenses and claims are further
prosecuted, the Court will entertain appropriate requests for
Order Granting PHH Mortgage Corporation Relief from Stay
(Doc. No. 46), First Bankruptcy Action, at 1. Mrs. Cameron
subsequently filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
Bankruptcy Court's decision to lift the automatic stay.
See Motion to Reconsider (Doc. No. 53), First
Bankruptcy Action. After holding a hearing on the matter, the
Bankruptcy Court denied the Motion, noting that:
The Court, having reviewed the docket and rulings in this
matter (and the State Court decisions) and considered the
arguments advanced at its hearings and in the papers related
to the Debtor's myriad requests for reconsideration,
hereby denies any reconsideration of its ruling on the Motion
for Relief from Stay. The abusive, dilatory and misguided
efforts and arguments of Mr[.] and Mrs[.] Cameron have fueled
interminable, wasteful, duplicative and dilatory proceedings.
Neither the Debtor nor her husband have been credible in
these matters or the State Court and their repetitive and
strained arguments have been found to be meritless after
plenary proceedings in the State Court.
Order on Motion to Reconsider (Doc. No. 75), First Bankruptcy
Action. On December 19, 2017, Mrs. Cameron appealed the
Bankruptcy Court's denial of reconsideration to this
District Court (Thompson, J.), which appeal was ultimately
dismissed for failure to pay the requisite filing fee or
obtain a fee waiver. See Order (Doc. No. 7), In
re Cameron, No. 17-cv-02142-AWT (D. Conn.).
12, 2017, while PHH's Motion for Relief from Stay was
still pending before the Bankruptcy Court, Mrs. Cameron
initiated an Adversary Proceeding in the Bankruptcy Court
against PHH and various other entities. See
generally Complaint (Doc. No. 1), Cameron v.
PHH, No. 17-02033 (Bankr. D. Conn.) (“Adversary
Proceeding”). In her Complaint, she requested an
injunction prohibiting these defendants from foreclosing on
the Property; a determination that all liens encumbering the
Property were unsecured and void; and compensatory and
punitive damages. See id. at 7. Mrs. Cameron argued
that she was entitled to this relief because, inter
alia, the assignment of the mortgage to PHH was a
fraudulent conveyance and the defendants lacked standing to
bring the Foreclosure Action. See id. at 4-6.
February 1, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court granted the
defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Adversary Proceeding,
reasoning that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, res
judicata, and collateral estoppel barred Mrs. Cameron from
asserting her claims. See Rulings and Order on
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and Plaintiff's Motion
to Amend Complaint (Doc. No. 42), Adversary Proceeding, at
12, 13, 15, 24. In addition, the Bankruptcy Court granted the
defendants' Motion for Sanctions, awarding the defendants
“twice their reasonable fees and expenses, incurred in
connection with these bankruptcy proceedings[.]”
Id. at 24. In awarding sanctions, the Bankruptcy
Court noted that “the unabashed vigor of the Camerons
and their repetitive assaults upon the Movants have remained
undeterred despite multiple judicial admonitions.”
Id. at 23. The Bankruptcy Court also highlighted
“the Debtor's elusive, false, misleading and
spurious filings and her repeated use of the Court system to
delay an inevitable and fully litigated foreclosure.”
Id. Mrs. Cameron subsequently appealed the
Bankruptcy Court's dismissal of her Adversary Proceeding,
which dismissal was ultimately affirmed by this District
Court (Thompson, J.). See Ruling on Bankruptcy
Appeal (Doc. No. 14), In re Cameron, No.
18-cv-00289-AWT (D. Conn.), at 3.
the Bankruptcy Court lifted the automatic stay as to the
Property, the State Trial Court set a new law day in the
Foreclosure Action for March 19, 2018. Order (Doc. No.
302.86), Foreclosure Action. However, on March 19, 2018, Mr.
Cameron filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, thereby staying
the running of the law day for a second time. See
Chapter 7 Voluntary Petition (Doc. No. 1), In re
Cameron, No. 18-20369 (Bankr. D. Conn.) (“Second