United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JOHN L. MCLEMORE, Plaintiff,
U.S. BANK N.A., Defendant.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
Bohringer (“Bohringer”) will apparently stop at
nothing to prevent the consummation of a foreclosure by
Defendant on a property he owns at 431 S. 94th Street. In
March 2019, he attempted to remove the foreclosure action
from Wisconsin state court to this Court. U.S. Bank
Nat'l Ass'n v. Daniel J. Bohringer,
19-CV-317-JPS (E.D. Wis.), (Docket #1). This was a
transparent attempt to frustrate or delay the foreclosure
process. Id., (Docket #3). The Court dismissed the
action because it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the
then filed a second action in May 2019, wherein he laughably
tried to assert that he had a mortgage on the
property senior to that of Defendant, and wanted to foreclose
against Defendant and be paid $300, 000 for his
trouble. Daniel J. Bohringer v. U.S. Bank N.A.,
19-CV-665-JPS (E.D. Wis.), (Docket #1). The Court dismissed
the case because Bohringer failed to pay the filing fee.
Id., (Docket #6).
same day he filed the second case, Bohringer orchestrated the
filing of a third action. John L. McLemore v. U.S. Bank
and Daniel J. Bohringer, 19-CV-803-JPS (E.D. Wis.),
(Docket #1). It contained precisely the same allegations as
the second complaint, except that Bohringer identified
himself as a defendant and John L. McLemore
(“McLemore”) as the plaintiff, namely as a
“substitute trustee” for Bohringer's trust.
Id., (Docket #1). It was clear that the action was
prompted by Bohringer, and the Court observed that it was not
clear whether McLemore even knew about the suit.
Id., (Docket #2).
Court dismissed the action for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction. Id., (Docket #2). It also found that
the claim was barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine:
Beyond the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction, this action
is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Rooker
v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); District
of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462
(1983). Rooker-Feldman precludes lower federal
courts from exercising what would effectively be appellate
jurisdiction over final state court judgments. Lance v.
Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 463 (2006). It is “a narrow
doctrine, confined to ‘cases brought by state-court
losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court
judgments rendered before the district court proceedings
commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of
those judgments.'” Id. at 464 (quoting
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544
U.S. 280, 284 (2005)).
Bohringer's foreclosure claim is precisely the sort which
is prohibited by Rooker-Feldman. Bohringer's
goal in this case is to undermine or modify the state court
judgment of foreclosure, and be paid $300, 000 in the
process. This is clearly impermissible. The only legitimate
method available to avoid the state court judgment is to
appeal through the state court system and, if Bohringer is
unsuccessful there, to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If
all of those options fail, the judgment is final and is no
Id., (Docket #2 at 3). Finally, in light of
Bohringer's repeated frivolous filings, the Court
sanctioned him and barred him from filing new cases until he
pays the $1, 000 he owes the Court. Id., (Docket #2
Court did not bar McLemore from further filings, as he did
not seem to be responsible for Bohringer's misdeeds. The
Court must now reconsider that position. The instant case is
titled a “complaint for injunctive relief, ” and
is again purportedly filed by McLemore. (Docket #1). The ruse
is not difficult to discern, though, as the style of the
complaint matches those filed by Bohringer. Moreover, the
substance of the complaint aims to directly benefit
wants this Court to enjoin execution of the writ of
assistance issued by the Milwaukee County Circuit Court to
eject Bohringer, McLemore, and anyone else from the subject
property, as they have refused to leave after losing the
foreclosure action. (Docket #1 at 1-3 and Docket #1-1 at 8).
McLemore brings this request pursuant to the Protecting
Tenants in Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“PFTA”).
(Docket #1 at 1). McLemore suggests that he falls within the
protections of the PFTA, and that Defendant failed to comply
with various notice requirements contained therein.
Id. at 1-3. McLemore also filed a “memorandum
in support” of his complaint, which is mostly comprised
of allegations that Defendant has not complied with certain
provisions of state law in the foreclosure process and in
obtaining the writ. Id. at 5-10.
action, like all the others, must be dismissed for numerous
reasons. First, the PFTA does not provide a private right of
action for tenants to file lawsuits. Logan v. U.S. Bank
Nat'l Ass'n, 722 F.3d 1163, 1169- 73 (9th Cir.
2013). The statute does not expressly permit tenants to sue
to enforce it, and nothing in the statute, its legislative
history, or related enactments implies that a right of action
should exist. Id. As noted in Logan,
“[t]he PTFA is framed in terms of
‘protections' for tenants, suggesting that it was
intended to provide a defense in state eviction proceedings
rather than a basis for offensive suits in federal
court.” Id. at 1173.
to the extent McLemore attempts to state any claims for
violation of state law in the foreclosure process, the Court
lacks jurisdiction to hear them. The Court has now explained
the contours of subject-matter jurisdiction to both Bohringer
and McLemore multiple times. Federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction, and may only hear cases in two primary
categories: 1) those raising issues of federal law, known as
“federal question” jurisdiction, and 2) those
between parties who are citizens of different states and
which involve an amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000.00,
known as “diversity” jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1332(a). Foreclosure of mortgages is
not an issue of federal law.
the parties may be of diverse citizenship, there remains the
matter of an amount in controversy. In a suit for injunctive
relief, “the amount in controversy is measured by the
value of the object of the litigation.” Macken ex
rel. Macken v. Jensen, 333 F.3d 797, 799 (7th Cir.
2003). “[T]he object may be valued from either
perspective-what the plaintiff stands to gain, or what it
would cost the defendant to meet the plaintiff's
demand.” Id. at 799-800. Here, the object of
the suit is not the home itself, as the foreclosure action is
already concluded in Defendants' favor. The object of
this case is only the enforcement, or non-enforcement, of the
writ. McLemore does not, and could not credibly, allege that
the cost of enforcing the writ-sending sheriff's deputies
to physically remove him from the home-or the cost of
non-enforcement-McLemore being allowed to simply remain in
the home unlawfully-exceeds $75, 000. Diversity jurisdiction
is therefore absent.
this case is yet another example of a claim which violates
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Bohringer lost the
foreclosure action in state court. He cannot come to this
Court with claims, no matter how cleverly titled or
presented, which would run counter to the state court
foreclosure judgment. ...