In apparent connection with a foreclosure, Richardson, acting pro se, brought and FDCPA suit for failure to adequately verify debts under 15 U.S.C. § 1692(g) against Shapiro & Brown, Nationstar Mortgage and Rushmore Loan Management. In a very terse one-page memorandum opinion, the district court dismissed the case due to res judicata and the statute of limitations. It can be surmised only from the brief filed by Nationstar at the district court with its Motion to Dismiss, that Richardson had previously raised FDCPA claims in an attempt to halt the foreclosure and that those had been dismissed with prejudice.
The 4th Circuit, acting on this scant order, however, held that while res judicata bars relitigation of a cause of action if they “arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions, or the same core of operative facts.” Here, however, Shapiro & Brown had not been parties to the prior FDCPA lawsuit, even though it had served as the foreclosure attorneys for Nationstar. As to Nationstar, Richardson’s current suit was based on alleged violations that occurred subsequent to and distinct from the earlier case. It was also from those subsequent actions that the one-year FDCPA statute of limitations ran.
That notwithstanding, the 4th Circuit found that the record supported dismissal as his allegation, namely that the debt verification by the defendants were inadequate, was itself inadequate and conclusory under the Iqbal/Twombley standard.
This would seem to be a case that was rife with inadequate and conclusory pleadings and opinions, including the allegedly flawed debt validations, Richardson’s pleadings, and lastly the district court opinion.
For a copy of the decision, please see: