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Prado v. Chase Home Financial

August 28, 2009

DAVID PRADO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHASE HOME FINANCIAL, DEFENDANT.



ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This case came before the court on April 3, 2009, for hearing of defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc. No. 6). S. Christopher Yoo, Esq. appeared telephonically for defendant Chase Home Finance, LLC, erroneously sued as Chase Home Financial. Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se in this action, made no appearance at the hearing.*fn1

Upon consideration of all written materials filed in connection with the motion, the arguments at the hearing, and the entire file, the undersigned recommends that defendant's motion be granted and this action be dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his fee-paid verified complaint in this action on February 5, 2009. Therein, he alleged fraud, usury, abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress and trespass apparently in connection with a mortgage loan taken out by plaintiff and subsequent foreclosure proceedings. (Doc. No. 1.) On February 26, 2009 defendant Chase Home Finance filed its motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 6) along with a Request for Judicial Notice of documents appearing in the public record related to the Deed of Trust on the subject property.*fn2 (Doc. No. 7.) Plaintiff filed no written opposition to the motion to dismiss. Counsel for defendant filed a timely reply, noting plaintiff's failure to file opposition. (Doc. No. 9 at 2.)

PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

In his complaint plaintiff alleges in conclusory fashion that defendant Chase Home Finance, and its employees, failed to disclose and concealed facts from plaintiff that they had a duty to disclose and made misrepresentations to plaintiff that influenced his conduct. (Compl. at 3-4.) Plaintiff appears to allege that defendant Chase Home Finance charged him a usurious rate of interest and used its superior skill and experience in the area of home loans to defraud him. (Compl. at 5.) Finally, plaintiff also appears to allege that defendant trespassed on his property (apparently in connection with foreclosure proceedings) and asks this court to enjoin any eviction or foreclosure proceedings. (Id. at 6-8.) Based on these vague allegations, plaintiff's complaint purports to state causes of action for fraud, usury, abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress and trespass. In addition to the injunctive relief noted above, the complaint seeks general and damages totaling $4,000,000.00. (Id. at 10.)

DEFENDANT'S ARGUMENTS

Defendant seeks dismissal of plaintiff's claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the grounds that plaintiff has simply failed to allege facts sufficient to state a cognizable claim with respect to any of his purported causes of action. Specifically, defendant observes that plaintiff's complaint "consists of a hodgepodge of incoherent claims with virtually no supporting factual allegations" all apparently stemming from a Deed of Trust encumbering plaintiff's Vallejo property. (Mot. at 1.) Defendant argues that there are no allegations of: what representations were allegedly made by Chase Home Finance; that plaintiff justifiably relied on such representations, specific intrusions or trespasses by defendant or of any viable theory of recovery against defendant Chase. Defendant argues that under the governing legal standards, plaintiff's complaint fails to state any cognizable claim and should be dismissed with prejudice.*fn3

As noted above, plaintiff filed no opposition to the pending motion and failed to appear at the hearing.

LEGAL STANDARDS APPLICABLE TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. N. Star Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 581 (9th Cir. 1983). "Dismissal can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A plaintiff is required to allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, , 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Thus, a defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the court's ability to grant any relief on the plaintiff's claims, even if the plaintiff's allegations are true.

In determining whether a complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, the court accepts as true the allegations in the complaint and construes the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). In general, pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). However, the court need not assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. W. Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). The court is permitted to consider material which is properly submitted as part of the complaint, documents not physically attached to the complaint if their authenticity is not contested and the plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies on them, and matters of public record. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir. 2001).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9, titled "Pleading Special Matters," provides as follows with regard to claims of "Fraud, Mistake, Condition of the Mind":

In all averments of fraud or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other condition ...


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