The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently denied a borrower's motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of claims that she made asserting “mishandling” of her mortgage, holding they were barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine because a final judgment of foreclosure had been entered in state court. See Davis v. Bank of Am., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40529 (D.N.J. Mar. 7, 2022). Plaintiff Kim Davis (“Davis”) executed a mortgage on property in Jackson, New Jersey, and the mortgage was eventually assigned to Defendant Bank of America (“BoA”). After Davis defaulted on her mortgage, BoA filed for foreclosure in state court in 2016, with a final judgment of foreclosure entered on May 21, 2018. Davis filed a series of appeals that were denied, and eventually filed this action against BoA in federal court, asserting various causes of action alleging the “mishandling” of her mortgage. The Court agreed with BoA's argument that Davis's claims should be dismissed for a number of reasons, including the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which prohibits actions when “(1) the federal plaintiff lost in state court, (2) the plaintiff complain[s] of injuries caused by [the] state-court judgments, (3) those judgments were rendered before the federal suit was filed, and (4) the plaintiff is inviting the district court to review and reject the state judgment.”
In her motion for reconsideration, Davis argued that Federal Rules 60(a) and (b) supported granting reconsideration. Rule 60(a) provides that a “court may correct a clerical mistake or mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record.” The Court found that Davis' argument under this rule was unavailing, as it centered on the substance of the Court's Opinion and Order, and not on a scrivening or clerical error, making it inappropriate for relief under Rule 60(a).
Rule 60(b) provides relief from a final judgment for a number of enumerated reasons, including mistake and fraud, as well as a catchall provision that allows for reconsideration for “any other reason that justifies relief.” The Court rejected Davis's mistake and fraud contentions, noting that her arguments for reconsideration merely “regurgitated” the same facts presented in her motion to dismiss papers. The Court further noted that relief under the catchall provision was appropriate only in “extraordinary, special circumstances” that are not present in cases of legal errors that can be addressed by appeal. The Court bluntly stated that Davis had raised nothing more than disagreement with the Court's decision as alleged legal error, and said that given the Court's earlier decision regarding Rooker-Feldman, that the denial of reconsideration should come as no surprise to Davis.
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