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Bret D. Landrith v. Bank of New York Mellon; Catherine A. Rein; Bank of America Corporation

March 4, 2013

BRET D. LANDRITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON; CATHERINE A. REIN; BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION; COUNTRYWIDE HOMELOAN, INC.; CWALT, INC.; ALTERNATIVE LOAN TRUST 2007-OA7; BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP; COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL; COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS; KPMG LLP; STEPHEN E. SUMMERS; REALTY EXECUTIVES OF KANSAS CITY; SOUTH & ASSOCIATES, PC; AND BRYAN CAVE, LLP, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eric F. Melgren United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Bret D. Landrith, proceeding pro se, brought suit against Defendants on various grounds stemming from Defendants' foreclosure of property in which Plaintiff claims to have a legal interest. Defendants have brought several motions to dismiss Plaintiff's suit on different grounds. All of the motions, however, argue that Plaintiff has no standing to sue because the Kansas state court has already held that Plaintiff has no legal interest in the property at issue.

Because the Court agrees that collateral estoppel prohibits this Court from relitigating the issue of Plaintiff's legal interest in the property, the Court grants the Defendants' motions to dismiss.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff Bret D. Landrith, represented by counsel at the time, filed suit alleging that Defendants committed and conspired to commit violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO").*fn1 Landrith is a Kansas resident and a disbarred Kansas attorney. The defendants are all related to the field of financing and/or real estate.*fn2

Landrith's suit stems from a foreclosure action initiated in Johnson County, Kansas, by Defendant South & Associates, P.C., on behalf of Defendant Bank of New York Mellon against Jeffrey Basler. Basler was served notice of the foreclosure by publication after service by certified mail was returned undelivered. On April 27, 2010, Defendants obtained, in state district court, a default judgment of foreclosure against Basler. On April 21, 2011, the property at issue-Leawood Estates, a subdivision located in Leawood, Kansas-was sold at auction. The highest bidder at the auction was Defendant Bank of New York Mellon, acting as trustee for Defendant CWALT, Inc., Alternative Loan Trust 2007-OA7. On July 21, 2011, the redemption period expired without any party coming forward to exercise the right of redemption. On August 2, 2011, the purchasers received a sheriff's deed to the Leawood property.

On August 9, 2011, Landrith filed a motion in the state court case that was entitled "Notice of Successor in Interest and Motion for Extension of Time to Answer." Claiming to be a bona fide purchaser of Leawood Estates, Landrith produced a quitclaim deed dated August 1, 2011, that purported to convey to Landrith an interest in the property once owned by Basler.*fn3

Attached to the deed was a Rejection Notice from the Johnson County Department of Records and Tax Administration that indicated the deed was never recorded due to technical deficiencies in its execution. Landrith never attempted to redeem the property during the statutory period following the sale.

Without waiting for leave from the court in Johnson County, Landrith filed an answer and a motion to set aside the sale and judgment of foreclosure. In response, Defendant South & Associates moved to strike Landrith's motions on the grounds that he did not have a cognizable interest in the property and thus was not a party with standing in the state action. On September 28, 2011, the Johnson County District Court issued a Journal Entry wherein the court made the following findings:

Any interest Bret D. Landrith claims to the Property stems from a purported quit claim deed from Defendant Basler, dated after Basler's rights to the Property were extinguished.

Bret D. Landrith does not have standing to set aside the April 21, 2011 foreclosure sale or to seek additional time to answer Plaintiff's Petition.*fn4

The court therefore dismissed Landrith's motions as moot.

On November 14, 2011, Landrith had filed a lawsuit in New York state court alleging that Defendants Bank of New York Mellon and Alternative Loan Trust 2007-OA7 had engaged in fraudulent proceedings when foreclosing on the Leawood, Kansas, property. Landrith claimed that the New York defendants did not have sufficient documentation to foreclose and that they made material misrepresentations to the Kansas district court through Defendant South & Associates. The defendants named in the New York suit moved to dismiss on several grounds, including lack of standing and forum non conveniens. The New York court granted the motion to dismiss on the grounds of forum non conveniens.

Landrith then returned the focus of his suit to Kansas, filing a Motion for Relief from Judgment and a Notice of Supplemental Authority with the Johnson County District Court. Defendants moved to strike Landrith's motion. On June 13, 2012, the court granted Defendants' motion to strike Landrith's pleadings and reaffirmed its ...


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