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Copeland v. Lehman Brothers Bank

December 23, 2009

SCOTT COPELAND, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEHMAN BROTHERS BANK, FSB; MONEYWORLD SALES/ MORTGAGES, INC.; AURORA LOAN SERVICES, INC.; AND ALL OTHER CLAIMANTS OF WHATSOEVER KIND AND CHARACTER AGAINST REAL PROPERTY COMMONLY KNOWN AS 7066 KEIGHLEY STREET, SAN DIEGO, CA 92120; APN 672-390-01-00; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

The matter before the Court is the Amended Motion to Dismiss ("Motion to Dismiss"), filed by Defendants Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB ("Lehman") and Aurora Loan Services, Inc. ("Aurora") (collectively, "moving Defendants"). (Doc. # 5).

I. Background

On August 14, 2009, Plaintiff Scott Copeland initiated this action by filing a Complaint in this Court. (Doc. # 1).

A. Allegations of the Complaint

Plaintiff is the owner of real property commonly known as 7066 Keighley Street, San Diego, CA 92120. On June 14, 2007, "[a]t the request of" Defendant Moneyworld Sales/Mortgages, Inc. ("Moneyworld") and Lehman, Plaintiff obtained a loan from Lehman. (Doc. # 1 ¶ 14). Prior to the funding of the loan, Moneyworld and/or Lehman misrepresented the terms of the loan. All Defendants failed to provide Plaintiff with the proper disclosures required by state and federal law. At the time the loan was executed, all Defendants engaged in "predatory lending behavior," including "[c]reating the loan with a high APR," "[c]harging improper broker fees," "[c]harging excessive prepayment penalties," and "[r]ushing the loan closing." (Doc. # 1 ¶ 21). The loan contract "was incomprehensible to a standard consumer." (Doc. # 1 ¶ 22).

The Complaint alleges ten claims: (1) violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617; (2) violation of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f; (3) violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692m; (4) violation of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1788; (5) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200; (6) negligent misrepresentation; (7) fraud; (8) rescission; (9) quasi-contract; and (10) "determination of validity of lien" (Doc. # 1 at 24).

B. Motion to Dismiss

On October 8, 2009, Lehman and Aurora filed the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. # 5). The moving Defendants contend:

[N]ot one of Copeland's ten claims state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Copeland's federal claims all fail as a matter of judicially-noticeable fact or law. Copeland's state-law claims also fail either because they are categorically barred under the preemption doctrine or tender rule, or because they independently fail to state a cause of action against either Lehman or Aurora. (Doc. # 5-1 at 2).

On October 30, 2009, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. # 8). Plaintiff contends that the Motion to Dismiss should be denied in its entirety, or, alternatively, Plaintiff should be granted leave to amend the Complaint.

On November 9, 2009, the moving Defendants filed a reply brief. (Doc. # 9).

II. Discussion

A. 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). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides: "A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain ... a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). 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). Courts may "consider ... matters of judicial notice without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment." U.S. v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003).

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, e.g., 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 ...


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