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Clark v. Mell

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

October 4, 2019

VANCE CLARK, Plaintiff,
ANN L. MELL and SALAM A. AL-YASIRY Defendants.



         This case is before the Court on Defendant Ann L. Mell's Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 7] and Defendant Al-Yasiry's Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 13].[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Motions will be granted.

         Facts and Background

         On March 11, 2019, Plaintiff, acting pro se, filed this lawsuit in the St. Francois County, Missouri, Circuit Court against Defendants concerning a property Plaintiff purchased in 2009 using a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture, (“USDA”). Defendant Mell subsequently removed this case to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1442(a)(1).

         In November 2009, Plaintiff purchased property located at 3416 Hildebrecht Road, Doe Run, Missouri 63637 (the “Hildebrecht Property”). To finance the purchase, Plaintiff sought and obtained a $122, 000 loan from the USDA. Plaintiff executed a Deed of Trust in favor of the USDA, which the USDA recorded with the St. Francois County Recorder of Deeds at Document No. 2009R-10926, and rerecorded at Document 2010R-00327.

         As a condition of the loan, Plaintiff was required to obtain property insurance. Plaintiff applied for and received a homeowner's insurance policy from Farm Bureau Town and Country Company of Missouri (hereinafter, “Farm Bureau”). In September 2010, the Hildebrecht Property suffered damage from fire. Plaintiff submitted a claim to Farm Bureau, which denied coverage.

         On December 28, 2010, Farm Bureau filed a lawsuit in Missouri state court naming Plaintiff and the USDA. See Mo. No. 10SF-CC00289 (St. Francois County) (the “Farm Bureau Lawsuit”). Farm Bureau alleged that on the application for insurance, Plaintiff concealed the fact that he had prior felony convictions. Farm Bureau alleged that the USDA, as the mortgagee on the Hildebrecht Property, was “subject to the same terms, exclusions, and conditions that apply to the named insured.” The United States counter-claimed, alleging Farm Bureau owed the United States for the property loss under the homeowner's policy because the United States was the mortgagee on the property.

         Farm Bureau and the USDA settled the claims between them, whereby Farm Bureau agreed to pay the USDA an undisclosed amount of money. On February 21, 2014, the USDA and Farm Bureau agreed to a voluntary dismiss the USDA from the Farm Bureau Lawsuit.

         The USDA applied the settlement proceeds to the outstanding balance of Plaintiff's loan, although the settlement was insufficient to satisfy the outstanding principal balance. Farm Bureau is still prosecuting the Farm Bureau Lawsuit against Plaintiff in the state court.

         Plaintiff stopped making payments to the USDA on the remaining balance of the $122, 000 loan. On February 21, 2012, the USDA sent via certified mail an acceleration letter pursuant to the promissory note signed by Plaintiff, demanding full payment of the outstanding loan balance and accrued interest. When Plaintiff failed to comply, the USDA contacted the caretaker of Plaintiff's property, notifying him that the USDA intended to foreclose on Plaintiff's property.

         On April 30, 2018, the Substitute Trustee under the Deed of Trust conducted a foreclosure sale of the Hildebrecht Property. The foreclosure sale netted a total of eleven thousand dollars ($11, 000.00) in proceeds. Because the foreclosure sale did not satisfy the outstanding principal balance on the loan, there were no excess proceeds to remit to Plaintiff.

         This suit was brought against Defendants Ann L. Mell, Substitute Trustee and Salam A. Al-Yasiry, purchaser of the property at the foreclosure sale.

         Plaintiff raises six counts in his petition. In Count I Plaintiff requests declaratory and injunctive relief seeking a determination that the foreclosure sale of the Hildebrecht Property was improper and that Defendant Mell did not have authority as Substitute Trustee under the deed of trust to conduct the foreclosure sale. Count II seeks to quiet title in his favor of the property. Count III alleges Defendant Mell was negligent by foreclosing on the property. Count IV alleges that Defendant Mell breached her fiduciary duty to him by foreclosing on the Hildebrecht Property. In Count V, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Mell wrongfully foreclosed the Property. Count VI, Plaintiff alleges that both defendants acted willfully, wantonly and maliciously in that they knew or should have known of their lack of “legal standing and/or lack of interest in the Hildebrecht Property prior to and following the Trustee's Sale.”

         Defendant Mell moves to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Defendant Mell moves to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. ...

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