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Nino v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 4, 2019

LUDYS C. NINO Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC., ET AL. Defendants.

          RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC NO. 53) AND PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION (DOC. NO. 72).

          JANET C. HALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Ludys C. Nino (“Nino”) brings this pro se action against defendants Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (“CHL”); Bank of America, N.A. (“BOA”); Indy Mac;[1]Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“Ocwen”); JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMC”); OneWest Bank (“CIT”);[2] Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”); M&T Bank Corporation (“M&T”); and various Jane and John Does. See Complaint (Doc. No. 1) at 4-5. Nino alleges that the defendants committed fraud, in violation of Connecticut law, and violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), by misrepresenting the appraisal value of two properties and fraudulently inducing Nino into entering into mortgages on those properties. See Compl. ¶¶ 113-18.

         The court previously dismissed Nino's claims against CHL, BOA, IndyMac, JPMC, CIT (OneWest Bank), and M&T. See Ruling (Doc. No. 57). The court also dismissed Nino's claims against the various John and Jane Does. See Order (Doc. No. 71). Before the court is defendants MERS and Ocwen's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 53). Also before the court is Nino's Objection to this court's Ruling dismissing her claims against all other defendants and this court's Order dismissing Nino's claims against the Doe defendants. See Objection (Doc. No. 72).

         For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED, and Nino's Objection is DENIED.

         II. NINO'S OBJECTION

         Nino objects to this court's dismissal of her claims as to CHL, BOA, IndyMac, JPMC, CIT (OneWest Bank), and M&T, as well as this court's Order dismissing her claims against unnamed John and Jane Doe defendants. See Objection (Doc. No. 72) at 1. The court liberally construes this Objection as a Motion for Reconsideration. See, e.g., McLeod v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, 864 F.3d 154, 156 (2d Cir. 2017) (noting the Second Circuit “liberally construe[s] pleadings and briefs submitted by pro se litigants, reading such submissions to raise the strongest arguments they suggest”).

         The standard for granting a Motion for Reconsideration is strict, and such a motion “will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995) (citations omitted).

         Nino's Objection raises many of the same arguments as her Complaint (“Compl.”) (Doc. No. 1), her Objections to the prior Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 26, 37), and her prior Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 59). She argues that the defendants fraudulently inflated property values in relation to mortgage agreements, resulting in damage to her. See Objection (Doc. No. 72) at 2 ¶ 3. Nino argues that the court's conclusion, in its prior Ruling, that Nino's claims were time barred because she could have discovered the alleged fraud through a reasonable inquiry, was “arbitrary and capricious.” See id. at 2. As an initial matter, Nino's subjective disagreement with the court's Ruling, standing alone, is not sufficient to warrant reconsideration. See, e.g., Rotundo v. Vill. of Yorkville, No. 6:09-CV-1262, 2011 WL 1558685, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 25, 2011) (“Simply because plaintiffs disagree with the outcome of the . . . motion does not permit them to reargue the issue on a motion for reconsideration.”). To the extent that Nino's request for reconsideration is based only on her disagreement with the court's Ruling, it is denied.

         A. Civil RICO Claims

         Nino further argues that the continuing violations doctrine excepts her civil RICO claims from the applicable statute of limitations. See Objection (Doc. No. 72) at 3-4. Nino argues that “the fraudulent acts of Defendant(s) . . . are such that it has [sic] not abated and is ongoing . . . which will be much more evident upon completion of discovery.” Id. However,

[t]he continuing violations doctrine does not apply under RICO; instead RICO actions are subject to a rule of separate accrual, meaning that each time a plaintiff discovers or should have discovered an injury caused by the defendant's violation of the statute, a new cause of action arises as to that injury, regardless of when the actual violation occurred.

Hilow v. Rome City Sch. Dist., No. 6:14-CV-288, 2015 WL 893050, at *9 n.10 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2015) (citing Bankers Trust Co. v. Rhoades, 859 F.2d 1096, 1105 (2d Cir. 1988) (quotations and alterations omitted)). A plaintiff, therefore, has a right to sue, even after the statute of limitations has run as to the underlying racketeering activity, when a “new and independent injury is incurred from the same [RICO] violation.” 421-A Tenants Ass'n, Inc. v. 125 Court St. LLC, 760 Fed.Appx. 44, 50 (2d Cir. 2019). An injury is not independent of the alleged underlying RICO violation where it is caused in material part by the original fraud. See id.

         Here, Nino has not alleged any injury independent of the underlying alleged RICO violation. The “alleged misconduct” noted in the Complaint included the following: (1) misrepresentation of the value of properties in loan documents; (2) false overstatement of property values in loan documents; and (3) understatement of a loan-to-value ratio in loan documents. Compl. ¶ 71. Nino alleges that she has suffered injury in the form of underwater mortgages, see Objection (Doc. No. 72) at 2-3, but-as Nino herself argues-that injury is caused by the original conduct of misrepresenting property values in the loan documents. Therefore, Nino's alleged injury is not a “new, independent injury” falling outside of the RICO statute of limitations. See 421-A Tenants Ass'n, Inc., 760 Fed.Appx. at 50 (concluding that injuries caused by renewal of leases were ...


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