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Pro Se Plaintiff’s Adversary Complaint Dismissed For Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Carr v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (In re New Century TRS Holdings, Inc.), Adv. No. 13-51058 (KJC), 2014 WL 392848 (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 3, 2014)

In this Memorandum, Judge Carey dismissed a pro se plaintiff’s adversary complaint because the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue certain claims, and the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider the remaining.  This decision serves as a reminder that every creditor or party-in-interest, regardless of their legal acumen, should seek counsel to represent them in our Court.

Here, the Court had a difficult time determining what causes of action the pro se plaintiff alleged in her complaint, which sought a judgment in the amount of $2,346,000.00 and an injunction against the defendants JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Chase Home Finance, LLC to prevent them from selling or evicting the plaintiff from her real property.  The Court stated that the complaint was “rather confusing and set[] forth very few factual allegations amid a number of claims and legal conclusions.”  However, the Court construed the pro se litigant’s complaint liberally and interpreted it to assert causes of action for (i) violation of the automatic stay, (ii) avoidance, (iii) fraud, and (iv) violation of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

The Court dismissed the stay violation claim because the plaintiff was not a debtor or a creditor and therefore lacked authority under the Bankruptcy Code to enforce the stay on behalf of the debtors or herself.  The Court also dismissed the avoidance claim because the factual allegations did not support the claim, i.e., the alleged “transfer” did not occur pre-petition.  Finally, the Court found that it was not the appropriate forum for either the fraud or California state law claims as such claims would not affect the interpretation, implementation, consummation, execution, or administration of the debtors’ confirmed plan or trust agreement as required under binding Third Circuit case law.  The Court also held that the resolution of the plaintiff’s claims would have no conceivable effect on the liquidating trust.  Accordingly, the claims did not fall into the narrow scope of the Court’s post-confirmation “related to” jurisdiction, and the adversary complaint was dismissed.