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White v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

August 30, 2010


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


Presently before the Court is Deutsche Bank National Trust Company's ("Defendant") motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). (Doc. No. 13.) Also before the Court is Plaintiffs' opposition and Defendant's reply. (Doc. Nos. 14, 15.) For the reasons below, the Court HEREBY GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss. Further, the Court GRANTS Defendant's request for judicial notice.


In August of 2006, Lydia White executed a Deed of Trust to secure a promissory note executed on the same date. (See Doc. No. 1, ¶ 3 ("FAC"); see also Doc. No. 13-2, Request for Judicial Notice*fn1 ("RJN"), Ex. 1.) The Deed of Trust encumbers Lydia White's residence located in Encinitas, California. (FAC, ¶ 2, 3.) In November of 2008, Lydia White died intestate. (Id., ¶ 4.)

On March 6, 2009, a Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust was recorded. (See RJN, Ex. 2.) On April 16, 2009, a Substitution of Trustee was recorded. (Id., Ex. 3.) Finally, on June 12, 2009, Defendants recorded a Notice of Trustees Sale. (Id., Ex. 4.) Lydia White's two sons, Plaintiffs Bryan and Richard White, commenced this action in state court on June 30, 2009 in San Diego Superior Court. (Doc. No. 1.) The action was removed by Defendant to this Court on August 19, 2009. (Id.) On October 6, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). (Doc. No. 6.) Defendant subsequently filed the pending motion to dismiss the FAC on April 16, 2010. (Doc. No. 13.) Plaintiffs filed an opposition on June 4, 2010 and Defendant filed a reply on June 9, 2010. (Doc. Nos. 14, 15.) The hearing on the motion set for June 17, 2010 was thereafter vacated and the matter taken under submission without oral argument.


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." 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." Id. (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.

Where a motion to dismiss is granted, "leave to amend should be granted 'unless the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency.'" DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992) (quoting Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986)). In other words, where leave to amend would be futile, the Court may deny leave to amend. See Desoto, 957 F.2d at 658; Schreiber, 806 F.2d at 1401.


I. Constitutional Standing

Defendant asserts in its motion to dismiss that Plaintiffs do not have standing to bring this action. It is unclear whether Defendant is asserting a lack of constitutional standing or whether Defendant is asserting a lack of standing to bring the individual causes of action. As such, the Court will address both.

Article III, § 2 of the United States Constitution places a case-or-controversy limitation on federal judicial authority which underpins our standing jurisprudence.See Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Serv., Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 180 (2000)."[A] plaintiff must demonstrate standing separately for each form of relief sought." Id. at 185. The United States Supreme Court has set forth three requirements to establish Article III standing under the federal constitution: injury in fact, a causal connection between the injury and Defendants' conduct, and that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992) (internal citations omitted). Plaintiffs have the burden of establishing standing, and standing "must be supported in the same way as any other manner and degree of evidence required at the successive stages of the litigation." Id. At the motion to dismiss stage, the Court is constrained by the allegations in the complaint and those matters of which the Court takes ...

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