Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Escobedo v. Countrywide Home Loans

December 15, 2009

ANTONIO ESCOBEDO, AN INDIVIDUAL,, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC., A CORPORATION; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 20 INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS; ORDER DENYING MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES ALLEGATIONS

Defendant Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Defendant" or "Countrywide"), has filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED as to Plaintiff's first cause of action for breach of contract and second cause of action for declaratory relief. Defendant's motion is DENIED as to Plaintiff's third, fourth, and fifth causes of action. Defendant has also filed a motion to strike Plaintiff's punitive damages allegations. Defendant's motion to strike is DENIED.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In February 2007, Plaintiff took out a loan that was secured by his home. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff alleges that on a date unknown, Countrywide began acting as an agent for the beneficiary of the loan and became the servicer of the loan. (Compl. ¶ 17.)

On April 17, 2009, Countrywide and Fannie Mae entered into a Servicer Participation Agreement ("Agreement") for the Home Affordable Modification Program under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. (Ex. 1 to Compl.) The Agreement provided that Countrywide shall perform the loan modification and other foreclosure prevention services described in the Financial Instrument (attached to the Agreement) and the program guidelines and procedures issued by the Treasury.

Plaintiff alleges that when he attempted a modification of his loan, Countrywide would not provide him with a modification. (Compl. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff also alleges that after he stopped making payments, Countrywide began harassing him in an attempt to collect payments on the loan. (Compl. ¶ 21.)

Plaintiff asserts causes of action for: (1) breach of written contract; (2) declaratory relief; (3) violation of California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("RFDCPA"), Cal. Civ. Code §1788, et. seq.; (4) invasion of privacy; and (5) unfair business practices in violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200.

II. STANDARD

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), the plaintiff is required only to set forth a "short and plain statement" of the claim showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief and giving the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957). A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) should be granted only where a plaintiff's complaint lacks a "cognizable legal theory" or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the allegations of material fact in plaintiff's complaint are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). Although detailed factual allegations are not required, factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "A plaintiff's obligation to prove 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.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Breach of Contract

Plaintiff attempts to sue on the Agreement as a third-party beneficiary. Countrywide argues that Plaintiff lacks standing to sue because he is not an intended third-party beneficiary. The Court agrees with Countrywide.

The Agreement is governed by and must be construed under federal law. (Agreement, § 11A). In applying federal law regarding third-party beneficiaries, the Ninth Circuit is guided by the Restatement of Contracts. See Klamath Water Users Protective Ass'n v. Patterson, 204 F.3d 1206, 1210-11 (9th Cir. 2000). The Restatement on Contracts explains:

(1) Unless otherwise agreed between promisor and promisee, a beneficiary of a promise is an intended beneficiary if recognition of a right to performance in the beneficiary is appropriate to effectuate the intention of the parties and . . . (b) the circumstances indicate that the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.