United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
H. SHELBY NELSON, Plaintiff,
US BANK NA, as Trustee for J.P. Morgan Alternative Loan Trust 2006-A3, Defendant.
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Objections to the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (ECF No. 27) of the United States Magistrate Judge recommending that the Court grant Defendant U.S. BANK NA, as Trustee for J.P. Morgan Alternative Loan Trust 2006-A3's ("Defendant") Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 23). Plaintiff timely filed Objections to the R&R. (ECF No. 32). Having reviewed the entire record, including Plaintiff's Objections and Defendant's Reply to Plaintiff's Objections, the Court finds the Magistrate Judge fairly and accurately summarized the facts and applied the correct principles of law. Accordingly, the Court adopts the R&R and fully incorporates it into this Order.
Plaintiff challenges a judgment issued by the Master in Equity for Charleston County awarding Defendant a judgment of foreclosure. The Complaint alleges that Defendant pursued a mortgage foreclosure action on property owned by Plaintiff at 36 Mary Street, Charleston, South Carolina ("the subject property"). On July 24, 2013, the Master in Equity for Charleston County entered an order of foreclosure in Defendant's favor, and the subject property was to be sold on April 15, 2014. There is no evidence that Plaintiff appealed the judgment of foreclosure in state court.
Plaintiff filed this action on April 14, 2014, and the sale was cancelled pending suit. Plaintiff alleges that the Note and Mortgage at issue in the foreclosure were not properly endorsed over to Defendant and that Defendant therefore lacked standing to initiate the foreclosure proceedings. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant does not have the legal authority to conduct a foreclosure sale on the subject property. Plaintiff brings this suit against Defendant for misrepresentation and wrongful foreclosure and seeks an order "voiding" the foreclosure sale.
On April 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Complaint. Defendant filed an Answer on May 5, 2014, followed by the instant Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion") on July 28, 2014. Plaintiff filed a Response on September 4, 2014. On September 10, 2014, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Defendant's Motion be granted. Plaintiff timely filed Objections to the R&R and Defendant timely filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Objections. This case was reassigned to the undersigned United States District Judge on November 25, 2014. The R&R is now ripe for consideration.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
I. Magistrate Judge's R&R
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). Parties are allowed to make a written objection to the Magistrate Judge's proposed findings and recommendations within fourteen days after being served a copy of the R&R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). This Court is charged with conducting a de novo review of any portion of the R&R to which a specific objection is registered, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify the R&R's findings and recommendations in whole or in part. Id. Additionally, the Court may receive additional evidence or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. Id. A party's failure to object is accepted as an agreement with the conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985). In the absence of a timely filed, specific objection - or as to those portions of the R&R to which no specific objection is made - this Court "must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'" Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee note). Moreover, in the absence of specific objections to the R&R, the Court need not provide any explanation for adopting the Magistrate Judge's analysis and recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).
II. Motion for Summary Judgment
To grant a motion for summary judgment, a court must find that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The judge is not to weigh the evidence but rather must determine if there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). All evidence should be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Perini Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915 F.2d 121, 124 (4th Cir. 1990). "[W]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate." Teamsters Joint Council No. 83 v. Centra, Inc., 947 F.2d 115, 119 (4th Cir. 1991). Summary judgment is not "a disfavored procedural shortcut, " but an important mechanism for weeding out "claims and defenses [that] have no factual basis." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986).
Plaintiff objects to the R&R on the grounds that the Magistrate Judge erred in three ways: (1) in finding that the doctrine of res judicata barred Plaintiff's claims; (2) in concluding that the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine barred Plaintiff's claims; and (3) in determining that the ...