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Williams v. Bank of America

July 29, 2010

FRANK WILLIAMS AND CINDY WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA F/K/A COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS; AMERICA'S WHOLESALE LENDER; MERIDIAN CAPITAL, INC.; ANATOLY STAVCHANSKY; WILLIAM J HAND JR.; JEFFREY B WIND; AND DOES 1-20, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND DENYING PLAINTIFFS' CROSS MOTION TO DISMISS

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. d/b/a America's Wholesale Lender's ("AWL's") and Defendant BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P.'s ("BAHL's") (erroneously sued as "Bank of America f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans") (collectively "Defendants'") Combined Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike ("MTD") Plaintiff Frank Williams' and Plaintiff Cindy Williams' (collectively "Plaintiffs'") First Amended Complaint. The motion to dismiss is brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The motion to strike is brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). Plaintiff also bring a Cross Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction (Doc. 24), and a Cross Motion to Strike (Doc. 29). Defendants oppose Plaintiffs' cross motions.*fn1

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On February 21, 2007, Plaintiffs entered into a loan agreement with Defendant AWL to refinance property at 757 Bramblewood Avenue, Lathrop, California ("subject property"). The terms of the loan were memorialized in a Promissory Note, which was secured by a Deed of Trust ("Deed"). The Deed identified ReconTrust Company N.A. as Trustee, and Defendant AWL as Lender.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants willfully and fraudulently placed them into an improper loan and failed to provide required disclosures. Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on February 18, 2010 alleging seven state causes of action. (Doc. No. 13.) Defendants filed this motion on March 3, 2010. (Doc. No. 19.) Plaintiffs filed a Statement of Non-Opposition on May 5, 2010 in which Plaintiffs did not address the MTD but rather asked the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 23.) On the same day, Plaintiffs filed a Cross Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

A party may move to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1975), overruled on other grounds by Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). Assertions that are mere "legal conclusions," however, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009), citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Dismissal is appropriate where the plaintiff fails to state a claim supportable by a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Upon granting a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court has discretion to allow leave to amend the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a). "Dismissal with prejudice and without leave to amend is not appropriate unless it is clear . . . that the complaint could not be saved by amendment." Eminence Capital, L.L.C. v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003).

Generally, the court may not consider material beyond the pleadings in ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Sherman v. Stryker Corp., 2009 WL 2241664, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 30, 2009) (internal citations omitted). There are two exceptions: when material is attached to the complaint or relied on by the complaint, or when the court takes judicial notice of matters of public record, provided the facts are not subject to reasonable dispute. Id. Here, Defendants request judicial notice of the Note, Deed of Trust, Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement, Loan Application Disclosure Acknowledgements, Uniform Residential Loan Application, and U.S. Party Index/Case Name Search Results for cases filed by attorney Sharon Lapin against various mortgage companies. (Docket No. 19.) The Court takes judicial notice of the documents as requested, as they are either relied on by Plaintiffs in their FAC or matters of public record.

A motion to strike is appropriate where the matter pled in the complaint is "redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). A court may strike prayers for relief which seek remedies that are unavailable as a matter of law, on the grounds that such remedies are immaterial. See Moreno v. The GEO Group, Inc., 2009 WL 841139, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 26, 2009).

B. Jurisdiction

"[I]n any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution." 28 U.S.C. 1367(a). "Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), a district court "may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction ... [if] the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction.' The court's discretion to decline jurisdiction over state law claims is informed by the values of judicial economy, fairness, convenience, and comity." Meza v. Matrix Servicing, 2010 WL 366623, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2010) (internal citations omitted)).

This case has been pending since November 2009. Plaintiffs' FAC does not address any of the issues alleged in Defendants' previous Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim, filed in December 2009. Rather, Plaintiffs omit the federal claims from the FAC and attempt to have the case dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs had the opportunity to file a notice of voluntary dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a) and re-file this case in state court. However, Plaintiffs chose to consume judicial resources and delay the proceedings. In the interest of fairness, convenience, and judicial economy, the Court does not wish to delay this matter any longer. Accordingly, the Court exercises its discretion to retain supplemental jurisdiction over this matter and rule on the merits. Plaintiffs' Cross Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction is DENIED.

C. Claims for ...


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