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Wazney v. Wazney

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

March 9, 2018



          Kevin F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge.

         The Plaintiff, Robert William Wazney, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint seeking to have this Court issue an injunction to hold in abeyance the foreclosure of certain real property he mortgaged to the defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association (doc. 1 at 4). The Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Corrections' Lee Correctional Institution. He has filed this action in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Plaintiff's complaint is subject to summary dismissal for the reasons set forth below.


         The Plaintiff alleges that in 1997, he married the defendant Sharon Renee Wazney, a/k/a Sharon Renee Chobassole (“Wife”) (doc. 1 at 2, ¶ 8). In 2003, the Plaintiff gave a mortgage to the defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association (“Chase”) that encumbered certain real property known as 2040 Hideaway Drive, in Sumter, South Carolina (the “Property”) (doc. 1 at 2, ¶ 9).

         In 2013, the Plaintiff was incarcerated, and Wife filed for divorce (doc. 1 at 2, ¶¶ 11-12). The Plaintiff alleges that the defendant Sumter County Family Court ordered Wife to pay the mortgage on the Property (doc. 1 at 2, ¶ 15). The Plaintiff further contends that although Wife has collected rent from the Property, Wife has failed to make mortgage payments to Chase, causing Chase to commence foreclosure proceedings against the Property (doc. 1 at 2, ¶¶ 13-14, 16).


         Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review the complaint for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. The Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the district court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         As a pro se litigant, the Plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading remains subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).


         The Plaintiff's action is subject to summary dismissal. In the present case, the Plaintiff asks the court “to hold the foreclosure process in abeyance until I can manage my assets to where I can remedy the backed [sic] payments, [and] to temporarily stop any and all foreclosure action regarding the [Property]” (doc. 1 at 4). The court construes Plaintiff's request as seeking to have this court enjoin Chase from proceeding with its foreclosure of the Property.[1]

         The Anti-Injunction Act provides that “[a] court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.” 28 U.S.C. § 2293. Although the Act enumerates three exceptions, none is applicable to the present case.[2]

         “An injunction issued against parties to a state court proceeding is, for purposes of the Act, considered an injunction to stay the state court proceeding itself.” In re MI Windows and Doors, Inc., Prods. Liab. Litig., 860 F.3d 218, 224 (4th Cir. 2017) (citing Atl. Coast Line R.R. v. Bhd. of Locomotive Eng'rs, 398 U.S. 281, 287 (1970)). Here, the Plaintiff seeks to have this court “hold the foreclosure process in abeyance” until he can make arrangements to pay the arrearage. The relief the Plaintiff seeks is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, and his action should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Liggett v. Fifth Third Mortg., C/A 7:16-4011-HMH-JDA, 2017 WL 4083136, at *3 (D.S.C. Aug. 14, 2017), report and recommendation adopted, C/A 7:16-4011-HMH-JDA, 2017 WL 4074884 (D.S.C. Sept. 14, 2017).


         It is recommended that the district court dismiss this action without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The ...

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