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Hertel v. Mers

Hertel v. Mers

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Published by Steve Dibert
Federal Judge Rules on Hertel Lawsuit
Federal Judge Rules on Hertel Lawsuit

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Published by: Steve Dibert on May 08, 2013
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11/22/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGANSOUTHERN DIVISIONCURTIS HERTEL and NANCYHUTCHINS,Plaintiffs,File No. 1:12-CV-174v.HON. ROBERT HOLMES BELLMORTGAGE ELECTRONICREGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC,et al.,Defendants./
O P I N I O N
This matter is before the Court on motions to dismiss filed by Defendant Wells FargoBank (Dkt. No. 76); Defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”),Bank of America, N.A., CitiMortgage, Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co., and MERSCORP, Inc.(collectively with Wells Fargo, “Bank Defendants”) (Dkt. No. 78); and Intervenors Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation(“Freddie Mac”), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) (Dkt. No. 80.) Thesemotions raise the issue of Plaintiffs Curtis Hertel and Nancy Hutchins’ standing to bring the present suit. On April 10, 2013, this Court ordered that if Plaintiffs wished to provideevidence of standing, they should file such evidence with this Court within 7 days. On April17, Plaintiffs filed notice of proofs of standing. (Dkt. No. 125.) The Bank Defendants fileda response to this notice on April 19. (Dkt. No. 126.) For the reasons that follow, the Bank 
Case 1:12-cv-00174-RHB Doc #131 Filed 05/03/13 Page 1 of 22 Page ID#2078
 
Defendants’ motions to dismiss will be granted, and the Intervenors’ motion to dismiss will be denied as moot.Also before the Court is the Bank Defendants’ motion for leave to file supplementalauthority (Dkt. No. 113), and a motion for entry of judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) by the non-diverse defendants previously dismissed (Dkt. No. 83). For the reasons that follow, the motion for leave to file supplemental authority will be granted,and the motion for entry of judgment will be denied as moot.
I.
On November 10, 2011, Hertel, Register of Deeds of Ingham County, and Hutchins,Register of Deeds of Branch County, filed a complaint in Ingham County Circuit Court.Plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that the Bank Defendants and other, non-diverse defendantsviolated Michigan’s State Real Estate Transfer Tax Act (“SRETTA”) and County Real EstateTransfer Tax Act (“CRETTA”), Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 207.502, 207.523, by improperlyclaiming exemptions. On February 27, 2012, the case was removed to this Court. (Dkt. No.1.)Following substantial briefing, this Court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to remand (Dkt. Nos. 49, 50), dismissed the non-diverse defendants (Dkt. Nos. 60, 67, 69), denied theMichigan Attorney General and Michigan Department of Treasury’s motion to intervene(Dkt. Nos. 74, 75), and granted the federal entities’ motion to intervene (
 Id.
). Plaintiffs have
1
 No claims are asserted against the Intervenors, however, some of the claims against the
1
other defendants implicate transactions involving the Intervenors.2
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since voluntarily dismissed their claims arising under the SRETTA. (Dkt. No. 70.)Subsequently, all remaining defendants filed motions to dismiss.
II.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a party may assert “failure tostate a claim upon which relief can be granted” as an affirmative defense. “[T]o survive amotion to dismiss [under 12(b)(6)], the complaint must contain either direct or inferentialallegations respecting all material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legaltheory.”
 In re Travel Agent Comm’n Antitrust Litig.
, 583 F.3d 896, 903 (6th Cir. 2009)(internal quotation marks omitted). In reviewing such a motion, the Court must “accept allof plaintiff’s factual allegations as true and determine whether any set of facts consistent withthe allegations would entitle the plaintiff to relief.”
G.M. Eng’rs & Assoc., Inc. v. W. Bloomfield Twp.
, 922 F.2d 328, 330 (6th Cir. 1990). As a general rule, however, the Court“need not accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences, and conclusoryallegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual allegations will not suffice.”
 In reTravel Agent 
, 583 F.3d at 903.
 
According to the Supreme Court, “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaicrecitation of a cause of action’s elements will not do.”
 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly
, 550 U.S.544, 545 (2007) (internal quotations omitted). While detailed factual allegations are notrequired, the pleading standard “demands more than an unadorned,3
Case 1:12-cv-00174-RHB Doc #131 Filed 05/03/13 Page 3 of 22 Page ID#2080

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