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Tompson v. Fisher

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

January 15, 2019

Judith Tompson, Plaintiff
v.
David Fisher d/b/a Fisher Financial Services, Inc., Defendant

          Judith Tompson, pro se

          Kenneth B. Walton, Esq.

          Elena M. Brander, Esq.

          ORDER

          STEVEN J. McAULIFFE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se plaintiff, Judith Tompson, brings this action against David Fisher, d/b/a Fisher Financial Services (“Fisher”), seeking compensation for an array of alleged violations of state and federal law. At all relevant times, Fisher was acting as the duly authorized agent of the Lancelot Court Condominiums Association.

         By prior order (document no. 11), the court dismissed several of Tompson's claims. What remain are her claims that, by recording three liens against Tompson's condominium unit for unpaid assessments, Fisher violated: (1) the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; (2) the New Hampshire Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act; (3) the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act; and (4) the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. Tompson also alleges that, by recording those liens against her unit, Fisher was negligent and breached various common law duties he owed to her.

         Fisher now moves for summary judgment as to all of Tompson's remaining claims. That motion is granted.

         Background

         The factual backdrop to this case has been recounted many times, by numerous courts - both state and federal - including the magistrate judge in her Report and Recommendation (document no. 5). It need not be repeated. It is sufficient to note that Tompson lives in the Lancelot Court Condominiums, in Salem, New Hampshire. Fisher Financial Services is a Massachusetts corporation that provides property management, billing, and payment processing services under a contract with the Lancelot Court Condominiums Association.

         Beginning in or around 2008, Tompson fell into arrears on her condominium assessments and fees. Over the course of about three years, Lancelot Court brought three separate collection actions against Tompson to recover those unpaid sums. Each time it prevailed. In one of those cases, Tompson brought claims against Fisher as a third-party defendant, in which she alleged many of the same (or related) claims to those advanced in this action. See “Counterclaim” in Lancelot Court Condominium v. Tompson. No. 218-2014-cv-220 (N.H. Sup. Ct.) (document no. 40-8). In that case, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Lancelot Court and awarded it $17, 000. Subsequently, the trial court awarded the condominium association an additional $22, 742.51 in costs and attorneys' fees. See Order dated March 4, 2014 (document no. 40-9) (noting that the “barrage of motions filed by Tompson in what should have been a fairly straightforward dispute over unpaid condominium assessments” justified an award of fees that “would appear to be high given the size of the verdict and nature of the dispute”).

         During that same time period, attorneys for the condominium association prepared three “memoranda of lien” against Tompson's unit. See generally N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 356-B:46 (providing that the “unit owners' association shall have a lien on every condominium unit for unpaid assessments” and stating that such liens may be perfected by recording a “memorandum of lien” in the appropriate registry of deeds). Fisher, as the agent for the Lancelot Court Condominiums Association, signed and recorded those liens in the registry of deeds. See Memoranda of Lien (documents no. 40-6, 40-10, and 40-11).[1]

         Substantial additional state and federal court litigation ensued involving a writ of execution, a sheriff's sale of Tompson's unit, the eventual foreclosure of the mortgage deed to Tompson's unit, and at least two efforts to evict her from that unit. But, those proceedings are not material to this action.

         In this action, Tompson claims that Fisher violated various state and federal consumer protection statutes when, as the authorized agent of the condominium association, he signed and recorded the various liens prepared by the association's legal counsel. Tompson also ...


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