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Kuoha v. Equifirst Corp.

October 7, 2009

SAMUEL AND DANA KUOHA, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
EQUIFIRST CORPORATION; HOMECOMINGS FINANCIAL; ETS SERVICES, LLC; AND DOES 1-10, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER

The matters before the Court are the Motions to Dismiss filed by all Defendants. (Doc. # 9, 10).

I. Background

On May 20, 2009, Plaintiffs, proceeding pro se, initiated this action by filing a "Complaint and Request for Original Promissory Note of Real Property Located at 9739 Towne Lane, El Cajon, CA [92021], APN# 396-012-14; Violation of GAAP, RESPA, TILA and UCC; The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; Wrongful Eviction; Points and Authorities in Support of Complaint Request with Fraud and Intent to Defraud" ("Complaint"). (Doc. # 1). The Complaint alleges that "[o]n or about 12/15/05, [Plaintffs] applied and were granted a Mortgage for the property located at 9739 Towne Lane, El Cajon, CA ..., and signed a 'Promissory Note' ... for $671,500.00 from Equifirst Corporation; which was used to pay off and secure the ... 'property' in dispute." (Compl., Doc. # 1, at 4). The Complaint alleges, among other things, that "Defendants do not have proof of ownership of [the] property" (id. at 2), "Plaintiff(s) was not sent a Declaration [p]ursuant to California Code section 2923.5(c) by [Defendants]..." (id. at 4), and the loan is "null and void" because "[t]he transaction that took place was merely a change of currency (without authorization)," and therefore, "[t]he bank never made the loan" (id. at 10, 11). The Complaint further alleges: "This court has an obligation to sign the order to stop the trustee sale on the subject property in the interest of justice as the Plaintiff has attempted to resolve this with the alleged mortgage holder to no avail and therefore is filing this suit to recover requested property under GAAP, TILA, RESPA, and CUCC." (Id. at 42).

On July 16, 2009, Defendant Equifirst Corporation filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. # 9), and Defendants Homecomings Financial and ETS Services, LLC filed a Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Doc. # 10) (collectively, "Motions to Dismiss"). On September 2, 2009, Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the Motions to Dismiss (Doc. # 17), and on September 10 and 11, 2009, Defendants filed replies (Doc. # 19, 20).

II. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

To sufficiently state a claim to relief and survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations" but the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). When considering a motion to dismiss, a court must accept as true all "well-pleaded factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). However, a court is not "required to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 683 (9th Cir. 2009) ("Plaintiffs' general statement that Wal-Mart exercised control over their day-to-day employment is a conclusion, not a factual allegation stated with any specificity. We need not accept Plaintiffs' unwarranted conclusion in reviewing a motion to dismiss."). "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quotations omitted).

Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se plaintiff's complaint must be construed liberally to determine whether a claim has been stated. See Zichko v. Idaho, 247 F.3d 1015, 1020 (9th Cir. 2001). "Although a pro se litigant ... may be entitled to great leeway when the court construes his pleadings, those pleadings nonetheless must meet some minimum threshold in providing a defendant with notice of what it is that it allegedly did wrong." See Brazil v. U.S. Dep't of Navy, 66 F.3d 193, 199 (9th Cir. 1995). When dismissing a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim, "the district court must give the plaintiff a statement of the complaint's deficiencies." Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623-24 (9th Cir. 1988).

III. Discussion

A. Failure to Comply With the Rules of Pleading

"Although [courts] construe pleadings liberally in their favor, pro se litigants are bound by the rules of procedure." See Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir. 1995).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides:

A pleading that states a claim for relief ...


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