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Watts v. One Mortgage Co. LLC

June 11, 2009

EVA L. WATTS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ONE MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC; COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS; SAXON MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC.; MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller United States District Judge

ORDER: 1) GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS BY DECISION ONE MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC; and 2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR LEAVE TO DECISION AMEND Doc. No. 25

On October 9, 2008, Plaintiff Eva L. Watts ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, raising claims arising out of a mortgage loan transaction. (Doc. No. 1, Exh. A, "Complaint.") The proceeds of the loan were used to purchase Plaintiff's principal dwelling (the "Property"), which is now subject to non-judicial foreclosure. Following service of the Summons and Complaint, Defendant Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Countrywide") timely removed the action to federal court on January 12, 2009. (Doc. No. 1.) Defendant Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC ("Decision One") filed an Answer on April 27, 2009. (Doc. No. 22.)

Now pending before the court is Decision One's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(c). ("Mot.," Doc. No. 25.) Plaintiff submitted a tardy opposition, accompanied by a "request to file amended complaint pursuant to FRCP 15(a)." ("Opp.," Doc. No. 32.) Decision One provided its reply brief on May 29, 2009. ("Reply," Doc. No. 33.)

Pursuant to Civ.L.R. 7.1(d), the matter was taken under submission by the court on June 5, 2009. For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Decision One's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and DENIES Plaintiff's request for leave to file an amended complaint.

BACKGROUND

According to the Complaint, Decision One offered Plaintiff a home mortgage loan to finance the purchase of the Property and the loan closed on August 7, 2006. (Compl. at ¶¶ 12, 26.) Plaintiff later defaulted on the loan, leading to entry of a Notice of Default on September 2, 2008. (Compl. at ¶ 35.) The present status of any pending or completed sale is unclear from the parties' submissions. Against all defendants, Plaintiff asserted federal causes of action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. ("RICO"), the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. ("TILA"), and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. ("RESPA"). Plaintiff also raised state law claims to quiet title and for fraud, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, cancellation based on impossibility, and slander of title. Plaintiff sought injunctive relief (labeled as a "first cause of action"), damages, attorneys' fees and costs, declaration that the loan and Deed of Trust are null and void, and rescission.

The court previously granted a motion to dismiss by Defendants Countrywide and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"), in which Defendant Saxon Mortgage Services ("Saxon") joined, resulting in the dismissal of all claims against these three defendants except for the claims for negligence and negligent infliction of emotion distress against Saxon. Judgment was entered in favor of Countrywide and MERS on April 17, 2009. The two remaining claims against Saxon are the subject of a separate motion for judgment on the pleadings, not addressed here. (Doc. No. 31.)

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standards

A Rule 12(c) motion challenges the legal sufficiency of an opposing party's pleadings. See FRCP 12(c). As with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must assume the truthfulness of the material facts alleged in the complaint and must construe all inferences reasonably drawn from the allegations in favor of the responding party. See Gen. Conference Corp. of Seventh-Day Adventists v. Seventh-Day Adventist Congregational Church, 887 F.2d 228, 230 (9th Cir. 1989). "Judgment on the pleadings is proper when the moving party clearly establishes on the face of the pleadings that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1989). Thus, judgment on the pleadings in favor of a defendant is not appropriate if the complaint raises issues of fact that, if proved, would support the plaintiff's legal theory. Gen. Conference Corp., 887 F.2d at 230.

Notably, in her opposition, Plaintiff does not counter any of the arguments presented by Decision One but rather states that if she is granted leave to amend, she "will abandon the TILA and RESPA claims, and the vast majority of the California common law claims." (Opp. at 2-3.) Despite Plaintiff's apparent acquiescence to the entry of judgment on most of her claims, the court reviews the motion on its merits.

II. Analysis

A. Fraud

Plaintiff argues, in essence, that Defendants are liable for fraud because they misrepresented to Plaintiff that she could afford the mortgage payments. (Compl. at ΒΆΒΆ 39, 42.) Decision One offers that Plaintiff's fraud cause of action must be dismissed because it has not been pled with particularity with ...


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