Scott H. Lansing, Plaintiff- Appellant,
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., successor by merger to Wells Fargo Bank Southwest, N.A., formerly known as Wachovia Mortgage, FSB, formerly known as World Savings Bank, FSB, Defendant-Appellee.
Submitted: February 12, 2018
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - Minneapolis
SMITH, Chief Judge, MURPHY and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
appeal arises from a third lawsuit between Wells Fargo Bank
and Scott Lansing involving foreclosure on Lansing's
property at 12015 Mayflower Circle in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
In this case, after Wells Fargo foreclosed on the property,
Lansing alleged that the bank violated Minn. Stat. §
582.043 when it continued with foreclosure proceedings after
Lansing had submitted an application for a loan modification.
Wells Fargo brought a counterclaim against Lansing for breach
of a prior settlement agreement, and then moved for judgment
on the pleadings. The district court ruled for Wells Fargo,
concluding that res judicata barred Lansing's
claims and that Wells Fargo was entitled to judgment as a
matter of law on its counterclaim. The district court also
denied Lansing leave to amend his complaint, and dismissed
Lansing's complaint with prejudice. Lansing appeals, and
2004, Lansing executed and delivered a note, secured by a
mortgage, to World Savings Bank, FSB, in the amount of $203,
500.00. World Savings Bank, FSB, changed its name to Wachovia
Mortgage, FSB, and then merged with Wells Fargo in 2009.
Under the merger, Wells Fargo acquired the mortgage interest
in Lansing's property. In late 2009, Lansing defaulted
under the terms of the note and the mortgage by failing to
make monthly payments. Wells Fargo initiated a foreclosure by
advertisement, resulting in a sheriff's sale of the
property on August 30, 2011.
the 2011 foreclosure sale, Lansing sued Wells Fargo in
Minnesota state court for alleged violations of
Minnesota's foreclosure statutes and sought to set aside
the sale. Wells Fargo removed the case to federal court, and
the parties eventually settled the case in April 2013. Under
the settlement agreement, which was described on the record
at a hearing before a magistrate judge, Wells Fargo agreed to
rescind the foreclosure sale in exchange for Lansing's
dismissal of the lawsuit. The parties further agreed to
reinstate the previously existing mortgage so that Wells
Fargo could proceed with re-foreclosure. Lansing
"waive[d] the right to challenge any deficiencies in the
magistrate judge noted that it would be
"appropriate" for the parties to memorialize their
agreement in writing, and said that the court would resolve
any future disputes over wording. Thereafter, Lansing
affirmed that he understood that the agreement was "a
final and fully enforceable settlement even in the absence of
signatures." After the hearing, counsel for the parties
exchanged drafts of a written settlement agreement, but the
parties never signed an agreement.
14, 2013, Wells Fargo commenced a second foreclosure on
Lansing's property by filing a complaint in Minnesota
state court. Lansing, represented by counsel, filed an answer
on August 2, 2013. The parties engaged in discovery, and on
January 3, 2014, Wells Fargo moved for summary judgment.
Lansing wrote a letter to the court on January 24, 2014,
explaining that his counsel had withdrawn on January 10,
2014, contrary to Lansing's wishes.
January 31, 2014, the state court held a hearing on Wells
Fargo's motion for summary judgment. Lansing appeared
pro se. On March 20, 2014, the court granted summary
judgment for Wells Fargo and awarded it a decree of
foreclosure on the property. Wells Fargo then purchased the
property at a sheriff's sale.
appealed the grant of summary judgment to the Minnesota Court
of Appeals. He argued for the first time that Wells Fargo had
improperly proceeded with foreclosure, in violation of Minn.
Stat. § 582.043, after Lansing submitted a loan
modification application. According to Lansing, he faxed
Wells Fargo an application on November 21, 2013, at which
point Wells Fargo had a legal obligation to cease foreclosure
proceedings. The court of appeals rejected Lansing's
argument and affirmed the judgment for Wells Fargo. The court
of appeals ruled that Lansing's claim under §
582.043 was not properly before the court, because Lansing
had failed to raise it in the trial court. Alternatively, the
court reasoned that there was no evidence in the record that
Lansing ever submitted a modification application.
August 24, 2015, Lansing, acting pro se, commenced
this third lawsuit. He alleged, among other things, that
Wells Fargo violated Minn. Stat. § 582.043 when it
proceeded to seek a foreclosure judgment after receiving
Lansing's loan modification documents. Wells Fargo
removed the action to the federal district court and filed a
counterclaim for breach of contract. According to Wells
Fargo, because Lansing agreed not "to challenge any
deficiencies in the future foreclosure," he breached the
settlement agreement by opposing the 2013 judicial
foreclosure and filing the instant complaint. Wells Fargo
moved for judgment on the pleadings. Lansing moved for leave
to amend his complaint to allege breach of contract against
Wells Fargo on the ground that the bank violated the
settlement agreement by taking "bad faith actions"
on Lansing's loan modification requests.
district court granted judgment on the pleadings for Wells
Fargo on Lansing's claims and Wells Fargo's
counterclaim, denied Lansing leave to amend his complaint,
and dismissed Lansing's complaint with prejudice. The
court concluded that res judicata barred
Lansing's claims, that he had violated the April 2013
settlement agreement by continuing to challenge the
foreclosure, and that his proposed breach of contract claim