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Ackerman v. Pnc Bank, National Association

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 29, 2014

Margaret K. Ackerman, Plaintiff,
v.
PNC Bank, National Association, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and Federal National Mortgage Association, Defendants.

Bryan R. Battina and William K. Forbes, Trepanier MacGillis Battina, PA, for Plaintiff.

David A. Schooler and David J. Supalla, Briggs and Morgan, P.A., for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Letter Request for Permission to File a Motion to Reconsider [Doc. No. 182]. Ms. Ackerman seeks reconsideration of the portion of the Court's Summary Judgment Order of July 21, 2014 (the "Order" [Doc. No. 178]) concerning any entitlement to damages under the Minnesota Residential Mortgage Originator and Service Licensing Act (the "Act"), Minn. Stat. § 58.01 et seq. Defendants filed a letter in response to Plaintiff's request, arguing that the request for reconsideration should be denied. (Defs.' Response Letter [Doc. No. 183].) Having considered Plaintiff's arguments, reconsideration of the Court's ruling is not warranted, as set forth below.

I. BACKGROUND

Among the summary judgment rulings in the Order, the Court found that Plaintiff was not entitled to relief under the Act. (Order at 36-37 [Doc. No. 178].) Ms. Ackerman has not expressly asserted a claim under the Act, but rather, argued in her summary judgment reply brief and in opposition to Defendants' summary judgment motion that the damages and attorney's fees potentially available to her under Minn. Stat. § 58.18 formed part of the "damages" supporting her breach of contract claim. (Pl.'s Reply Mem. at 16 [Doc. No. 167]; Pl.'s Opp'n Mem. at 5-14 [Doc. No. 155].)

While the Court declined to award summary judgment on Ackerman's breach of contract claim, the Court separately addressed the issue of relief under the Act's remedies provision, Minn. Stat. § 58.18. (Order at 36-37 [Doc. No. 178].) The Court found that this statute provides for a separate cause of action and relief under it is not subsumed in a breach of contract claim. (Id. at 37.) The Court further found that Plaintiff had amended her complaint twice and had not attempted to add a claim under the Act, nor had she demonstrated any good cause to amend her pleading outside of the Court's scheduling order. (Id.)

In addition, the Court found that relief under § 58.18 appeared to be futile in any event, because the statute is inapplicable to a residential mortgage loan originated by a federal or state chartered bank, savings bank, or credit union. Minn. Stat. § 58.18, subd. 4. While observing that Plaintiff's lender, National City/PNC, is a federally regulated and chartered bank, the Court did not refer to the loan's originator, Bell America Mortgage, LLC. (Order at 37 [Doc. No. 178].)

Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(j), Plaintiff requests leave to seek reconsideration, arguing that the Court was incorrect in applying the limitation of Minn. Stat. § 58.18, subd. 4, because her loan originated with Bell America, which, she argues, is not a federal or state chartered bank, savings bank, or credit union. (Pl.'s Letter at 1 [Doc. No. 182].) In addition, she asserts that § 58.18 is a remedy and that a claim for damages and attorney's fees under the statute need not be pleaded as a separate cause of action. (Id.) Citing her complaint's prayer for relief requesting "actual damages, statutory damages, exemplary damages, costs and reasonable attorney's fees" [Second Am. Compl. at p. 15 [Doc. No. 1-2 at 187]), and Rule 8's liberal pleading standard, Ackerman further argues that Defendants have been on notice that she sought statutory relief and attorney's fees.

Defendants object to Plaintiff's request for reconsideration, arguing that Ackerman fails to meet the standard of presenting "compelling circumstances" which mandate reconsideration of a court's order. (Defs.' Response Letter at 1 [Doc. No. 183].) Defendants contend that Ackerman's observation that the Court misidentified the entity from which her loan originated is not a "compelling circumstance" that requires reconsideration. (Id. at 2.) Rather, Defendants assert that that part of the Order stated an alternative, independent basis for rejecting Ackerman's arguments and any error in that alternative ruling does not entitle Ackerman to reconsideration of the Court's ruling or to relief under the Act. (Id.) In addition, Defendants contend that Ackerman's arguments concerning notice and claims versus remedies should be rejected for three reasons: (1) Ackerman failed to raise these arguments in her summary judgment briefs or during oral argument; (2) the notice-pleading argument is a red herring because Ackerman is not entitled to a remedy under the Act because she did not plead a violation of the Act; and (3) Ackerman is not entitled to statutory damages for a common law breach of contract claim - instead, she is entitled to expectation damages, or "the benefit of the bargain." (Id. at 1-2.)

II. DISCUSSION

As Defendants observe, a party requesting leave for reconsideration "must establish that compelling circumstances' mandate reconsideration of the Court's Order." Edeh v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, No. 11-CV-2671 (SRN/JSM), 2012 WL 4378189, at *1 (D. Minn. Sept. 25, 2012). Motions for reconsideration are "dimly viewed" by this Court. Hanson v. Loparex, Inc., No. 09-CV-1070 (SRN/FLN), 2011 WL 4808180, at *1 (D. Minn. Oct. 11, 2011) (quoting Transclean Corp. v. Bridgewood Servs., Inc. , 134 F.Supp.2d 1049, 1060 (D. Minn. 2001)).

As set forth in the Order, a party seeking to amend a pleading outside of the Court's scheduling order must demonstrate good cause. (Order at 37 [Doc. No. 178]) (citing Sherman v. Winco Fireworks, Inc. , 532 F.3d 709, 716 (8th Cir. 2008)). As the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently observed,

The primary measure of good cause is the movant's diligence in attempting to meet the [scheduling] order's requirements.... Our cases reviewing Rule 16(b) rulings focus in the first instance (and usually solely) on the ...

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