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Dawn Chestnut and Rodney Chestnut v. Wells Fargo Bank

August 20, 2012

DAWN CHESTNUT AND RODNEY CHESTNUT, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Plaintiffs Dawn and Rodney Chestnut ("Plaintiffs") commenced this action pro se on September 17, 2010 against Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Defendant" or "Wells Fargo"), asserting claims arising out of Defendant's foreclosing on Plaintiffs' property located at 112 W. Bartlett Road in Middle Island, New York. On November 1, 2010, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint, which this Court granted on March 2, 2011. The Complaint was dismissed with prejudice and judgment was entered in favor of Defendant on March 4, 2011. Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to vacate. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

The Court assumes familiarity with the facts underlying this foreclosure dispute which the Court detailed in its March 2, 2011 Memorandum and Order dismissing this action with prejudice. See Chestnut v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 10-CV-4244, 2011 WL 838914 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2011). Thus, the Court will only briefly summarize the relevant procedural history.

Plaintiffs commenced this action in September 2010, purporting to assert twenty-three separate causes of action, including, inter alia, fraudulent inducement, unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, violations of the Truth-In-Lending Act, as well as some imaginative claims with no basis in any statute or common law doctrine, such as "Lender Profit by Credit Default Swap Derivatives" and "Extra Profit on Sale of Predatory Loan Product." All of Plaintiffs' claims related to a foreclosure action commenced by Defendant in New York State Supreme Court, Suffolk County in July 2006 that resulted in a Judgment of Foreclosure being entered in favor of Wells Fargo in July 2007.*fn1 Mr. Chestnut twice attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the Judgment of Foreclosure vacated by the state court on three separate occasions: first, by moving the state court to vacate the judgment in January 2009 and, second, by moving the state court to reconsider its denial of his motion to vacate in March 2010. When those efforts failed, Plaintiffs commenced the present action.

On November 1, 2010, Wells Fargo moved to dismiss the Complaint, arguing that: (1) Plaintiffs' claims were barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, (2) Plaintiffs' claims were barred by collateral estoppel, and (3) Plaintiffs' otherwise failed to plead a cognizable cause of action. (Docket Entry 21.) On November 29, 2010, Plaintiffs filed their opposition brief. (Docket Entry 26.) Plaintiffs argued that their claims were sufficiently pled but did not contest Defendant's argument that their claims were barred by Rooker-Feldman and/or collateral estoppel. Defendant filed its reply on December 20, 2010. (Docket Entry 28.)

On March 2, 2011, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss finding that all of Plaintiffs' claims were barred by Rooker-Feldman, collateral estoppel, and/or res judicata because Plaintiffs' Complaint was merely another attempt to re-litigate the state court foreclosure proceeding and the issues adjudicated therein. See Chestnut, 2011 WL 838914, at *2-3 (citations omitted). Plaintiffs' claims were accordingly dismissed with prejudice (Docket Entry 32) and judgment was entered in favor of Defendant (Docket Entry 33). Plaintiffs did not appeal.*fn2

On September 9, 2011, Plaintiffs filed the pending motion to vacate the judgment. (Docket Entry 34.)

DISCUSSION

Notwithstanding Plaintiffs' assertion that they are seeking relief from judgment pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. 5015(3), the Court construes Plaintiffs' motion as a motion to vacate pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Milgram v. Orthopedic Assocs. Defined Contribution Pension Plan, 666 F.3d 68, 78 (2d Cir. 2011) (stating that the C.P.L.R.'s procedural rules do not apply in federal court); Brown v. Enzyme Dev., 380 F. App'x 97, 98 (2d Cir. 2010) (construing a pro se plaintiff's motion for relief from judgment as a motion under Rule 60(b)).*fn3

The Court will first address the standard of review on a Rule 60(b) motion to vacate before turning to the merits of Plaintiffs' motion.

I. Standard of Review

Rule 60(b) provides that a district court may relieve a party from a final judgment ...


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