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Beltrame v. JPMorgan Chase Bank

August 25, 2010

EUGENIO BELTRAME, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge

ORDER: (1) GRANTING REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE AND (2) GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. No. 22)

Presently before the Court are Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.'s motion to dismiss and request for judicial notice. (Doc. Nos. 22-1& 22-2.) The Court has also received Plaintiff's opposition and Defendant's reply. (Doc. Nos. 25 & 26.) Both the request for judicial notice and motion to dismiss are GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Eugenio Beltrame owns the property located at 45600 Rainbow Canyon Road, Temecula, California. (Doc. No. 21 (FAC) ¶ 2.) On "July 17, 2007, Plaintiff applied for a loan with Defendant WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK." (Id.) This loan, amounting to $372,000, was approved the next day and secured by a deed of trust on the property. (Id. ¶ 3.) In April 2009, "Plaintiff began to suspect that Defendant JPMORGAN CHASE BANK was overcharging Plaintiff for his mortgage payment." (Id. ¶ 4.) He alleges that he subsequently sent Defendant two Qualified Written Requests (QWRs), and that Defendant only responded to one. (Id. ¶¶ 5--9.)

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a party to raise by motion the defense that the complaint "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted," generally referred to as a motion to dismiss. The Court evaluates whether a complaint states a cognizable legal theory and sufficient facts in light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Although Rule 8 "does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' . . . it [does] demand[] more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation."*fn1 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, -- US - , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In other words, "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." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A claim is facially plausible when the facts pled "allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). That is not to say that the claim must be probable, but there must be "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. Facts "'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" fall short of a plausible entitlement to relief. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, the Court need not accept as true "legal conclusions" contained in the complaint. Id. This review requires context-specific analysis involving the Court's "judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950 (citation omitted). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'-'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id.

ANALYSIS

I. DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Defendant moves the Court to take judicial notice of three documents. (Doc. No. 22-2 (RJN).) It requested that this Court take judicial notice of the same three documents for purposes of its previous motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 12-2.) The Court granted that request, and finds it proper to GRANT it here as well. (See Doc. No. 20 (Prior Order) at 3.) Although Plaintiff again objects, his objections are word-for-word identical to those made in opposition to the documents' consideration for the prior motion to dismiss. (Compare Doc. No. 14 at 19--20; with Opp. at 14.) As the Court observed in its Prior Order, these "broad and generalized allegations of general impropriety with the mortgage market" are inadequate to merit denial of this motion and do not "offer any actual reasons for the Court to decline this request for notice." (Prior Order at 3.)

II. REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURE ACT CLAIM

Plaintiff's first cause of action alleges violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA). According to Plaintiff "Defendant JPMORGAN CHASE BANK failed to properly respond to Plaintiff's inquiry and Qualified Written Request [(QWR)] by not responding in a timely manner and by not providing all of the requested information. Further, Defendant JPMORGAN CHASE BANK did not make corrections to Plaintiff's account, crediting late charges and penalties, or provide Plaintiff with an explanation as to why it believed the account was correct." (FAC ¶ 17.)

Plaintiff's RESPA complaints arise out of 12 U.S.C. § 2605. Section 2605(e)(1)(A) provides, in relevant part:

If any servicer of a federally related mortgage loan receives a qualified written request from the borrower . . . for information relating to the servicing of such loan, the servicer shall provide a written response acknowledging receipt of the correspondence within ...


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