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Schnelke v. JP Morgan Chase Bank

March 25, 2010

ANDY SCHNELKE PLAINTIFF,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO WASHINGTON MUTUAL, WASHINGTON MUTUAL, AND DOES 1-50, INCLUSIVE. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Andy Schnelke ("Plaintiff") seeks monetary relief from Defendant JP Morgan Chase, N.A. as acquirer of assets and liabilities in Washington Mutual*fn1 ("Defendant") based on claims of breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of statutory duties, unfair business practice, and Rosenthal Act violations.

Presently before the Court is a Motion by Defendant to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).*fn2 For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted.

BACKGROUND*fn3

This action arises out of activity surrounding a residential loan transaction for Plaintiff's property located in the City of Stockton, County of San Joaquin, California ("Property"). Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a written contract in which Defendant would service a mortgage for real property. The contract required 360 monthly payments of $1,339.56. Plaintiff asserts that he performed all conditions, covenants and promises required by him. However, Plaintiff is currently unable to continue to make the monthly payments. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant advertised and offered loan modifications, but will not offer a loan modification to Plaintiff. On September 25, 2009, Plaintiff filed suit in Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Joaquin and on November 9, 2009, Defendants removed to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.

STANDARD

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the "grounds" of his "entitlement to relief" requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Id. at 1964-65 (internal citations and quotations omitted). Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Id. at 1965 (citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-36 (3d ed. 2004) ("The pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action")).

"Rule 8(a)(2)...requires a 'showing,' rather than a blanket assertion of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirements of providing not only 'fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also 'grounds' on which the claim rests." Twombly, 550 U.S. 556 n.3. A pleading must contain "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. If the "plaintiffs...have not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, their complaint must be dismissed." Id. Nevertheless, "[a] well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and 'that a recovery is very remote and unlikely.'" Id. at 556.

When a claim for fraud is raised, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) provides that "a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud." "A pleading is sufficient under Rule 9(b) if it identifies the circumstances constituting fraud so that the defendant can prepare an adequate answer from the allegations." Neubronner v. Milken, 6 F.3d 666, 671-672 (9th Cir. 1993) (internal quotations and citations omitted). "The complaint must specify such facts as the times, dates, places, benefits received, and other details of the alleged fraudulent activity." Id. at 672.

A court granting a motion to dismiss a complaint must then decide whether to grant leave to amend. A court should "freely give" leave to amend when there is no "undue delay, bad faith[,] dilatory motive on the part of the movant,...undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of...the amendment, [or] futility of the amendment...." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Generally, leave to amend is denied only when it is clear the deficiencies of the complaint cannot be cured by amendment. DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992).

ANALYSIS

A. Breach of Contract

Under California law, to state a claim for breach of contract, the plaintiff must plead: 1) the existence of the contract; 2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance of the contract; 3) defendant's breach of the contract; and 4) resulting damages. Armstrong Petrol. Corp. V. Tri Valley Oil & Gas Co., 116 Cal. App. 4th 1375, 1391 n. 6 (2004).

Plaintiff states that he made payments under the contract but cannot afford to continue to make payments. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant will not offer a loan modification to him, and then alleges the contract was breached when Defendants failed to comply with the terms of the contract and the modification by ...


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