The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge
This matter is before the court on the motions of American Home Mortgage Acceptance, Inc. ("AHMA"), American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. ("AHMSI"), and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company ("Deutsche Bank") (collectively, "defendants") to dismiss Kira B. Christensen's ("plaintiff") complaint ("Compl.") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("FRCP") 12(b)(6). Defendants also move to strike plaintiff's request for punitive damages and attorneys' fees.*fn1 Plaintiff opposes the motions. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED.*fn2 (Docket #s 6, 10.)
Plaintiff executed an Adjustable Rate Note in November 2005 with lender AHMA, through broker James Becker, in the amount of $1,620,000. (Pl.'s Compl. ("Compl."), filed April 27, 2010 (Docket #1), ¶ 11.); (Def.'s Mot Dismiss ("MTD"), filed May 4, 2010 (Docket #6), 9.) This note was exectued to refinance the existing mortgage on plaintiff's property, located in Sacramento, CA, at 511 Knightsbridge Lane ("the Property"). Plaintiff alleges Becker, at the consummation of the loan, knowingly entered false information relating to plaintiff's monthly income, misstated the value of the property, and misrepresented, inter alia, the desirability of the loan, the loan's premium, and plaintiff's ability to modify the loan in the future. (Compl. ¶¶ 13, 1-6; 24, A-L.) Plaintiff further characterizes these practices as "predatory lending." (Id. at ¶ 22);(Pl.'s Opp.'n to Def.'s Mot Dismiss ("Opp.'n"), filed June 4, 2010 (Docket #9), 2.)
Plaintiff believes AHMA and AHMSI should be liable for Becker's actions based on an agency relationship between defendants and Becker, and by virtue of the fact that defendants "participated in," "were aware of," and "should have been aware of" Becker's "acts or omissions," and because "[defendants] did not verify the plaintiff[']s correct income" prior to the consummation of the loan. (Id. at ¶ 14, a-d.)
Plaintiff contends, on information and belief, that AHMSI was created, subsequent to her refinance through AHMA, as a result of AHMA's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy restructuring (Opp.'n at 2), and that AHMSI is the "assignee, successor and servicer of to the said loan [sic] and current beneficiary under the deed of trust." (Compl. ¶ 7). Further, plaintiff alleges that AHMA and AHMSI are "the same entity . . . for legal purposes." (Opp.'n at 2.) In August 2009, AHMA assigned the Deed of Trust relating to the Property to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company.
Under FRCP 8(a), a pleading must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Under notice pleading in federal court, the complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations omitted). "This simplified notice pleading standard relies on liberal discovery rules and summary judgment motions to define disputed facts and issues and to dispose of unmeritorious claims." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002).
On a motion to dismiss, the factual allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). The court is bound to give plaintiff the benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn from the "well-pleaded" allegations of the complaint. Retail Clerks Int'l Ass'n v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 753 n.6 (1963). A plaintiff need not allege "'specific facts' beyond those necessary to state his claim and the grounds showing entitlement to relief. Twombley, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.
Nevertheless, the court "need not assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations." United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d 638, 643 n.2 (9th Cir. 1986). While Rule 8(a) does not require detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. A pleading is insufficient if it offers mere "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."). Moreover, it is inappropriate to assume that the plaintiff "can prove facts which it has not alleged or that the defendants have violated the . . . laws in ways that have not been alleged." Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983).
Ultimately, the court may not dismiss a complaint in which the plaintiff has alleged "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570 (2007)). Only where a plaintiff has failed to "nudge [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible," is the complaint properly dismissed. Id. at 1952. While the plausibility requirement is not akin to a probability requirement, it demands more than "a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 1949. This plausibility inquiry is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950.
As a threshold matter, the court must determine whether plaintiff's claims for relief are timely filed. If they are not, and plaintiff cannot allege facts sufficient to invoke the doctrine of equitable tolling, plaintiff's claims must be dismissed.*fn3
"Equitable tolling may be applied if, despite all due diligence, a plaintiff is unable to obtain vital information bearing on the existence of his claim." Santa Maria v. Pacific Bell, 202 F.3d 1170, 1178 (9th Cir. 2000). "If a reasonable plaintiff would not have known of the existence of a possible claim within the limitations period, then equitable tolling will serve to extend the ...