ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS
I. History*fn1 Plaintiffs Leonid and Nedezhda Dubinskiy reside at 7843 N. Backer Ave., Fresno, CA 93720. They purchased their home with a mortgage obtained on March 3, 2005. Plaintiffs appear to allege that Defendant Aurora Loan Services LLC ("Aurora") was the lender. However, other allegations imply that Defendant Santa Cruz Mortgage Company, Inc. ("Santa Cruz") may have been the lender. The Deed of Trust recorded March 11, 2005, identifies Defendant
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") as beneficiary. Plaintiffs fell behind on their mortgage payments. Defendant Cal-Western Reconveyance Corporation ("Cal-Western") filed a Notice of Default, recorded April 27, 2009. Defendant Cal-Western filed a Notice of Trustee Sale, recorded August 6, 2009 that set August 25, 2009 as the date of public auction of the property. Plaintiffs have also named as a Defendant, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Countrywide"), but do not explain how that entity is at all connected to these series of events.
Proceeding without legal representation, Plaintiffs filed suit in Superior Court, County of Fresno, on September 22, 2009. A first amended complaint was filed in state court on March 23, 2010. Doc. 1, Part 1. The complaint is comprised of eight causes of action: 1) the federal Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"); 2) California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("RFDCPA"); 3) negligence; 4) the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA");
5) breach of fiduciary duty; 6) fraud; 7) California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"); and 8) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The complaint includes a number of inchoate allegations regarding a scheme to infuse capital into the home mortgage lending system which resulted in the invalid transfer of beneficial interest to third parties through MERS (who allegedly does not have the authority to operate in California), questioning whether Plaintiffs were provided legal tender as part of the mortgage, and questioning whether the original promissory note or a substitute note was recorded. Defendant Countrywide removed the case to the Eastern District of California, based on federal question jurisdiction.
Defendants Countrywide, Aurora, and MERS filed motions to dismiss pursuant to Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs have filed no response. The matter was taken under submission without oral argument.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). "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. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)....a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007), citations omitted. "[O]nly a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where 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 shown that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009), citations omitted. The court is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must also assume that "general allegations embrace those specific facts that are necessary to support the claim." Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 889 (1990), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957), overruled on other grounds at 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1969. Thus, the determinative question is whether there is any set of "facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations of the complaint" that would entitle plaintiff to some relief. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002). At the other bound, courts will not assume that plaintiffs "can prove facts which [they have] not alleged, or that the defendants have violated...laws in ways that have not been alleged." Associated General Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983).
In deciding whether to dismiss a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court is generally limited to reviewing only the complaint. "There are, however, two exceptions....First, a court may consider material which is properly submitted as part of the complaint on a motion to dismiss...If the documents are not physically attached to the complaint, they may be considered if the documents' authenticity is not contested and the plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies on them. Second, under Fed. R. Evid. 201, a court may take judicial notice of matters of public record." Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir. 2001), citations omitted. The Ninth Circuit later gave a separate definition of "the 'incorporation by reference' doctrine, which permits us to take into account documents whose contents are alleged in a complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the plaintiff's pleading." Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1076 (9th Cir. 2005), citations omitted. "[A] court may not look beyond the complaint to a plaintiff's moving papers, such as a memorandum in opposition to a defendant's motion to dismiss. Facts raised for the first time in opposition papers should be considered by the court in determining whether to grant leave to amend or to dismiss the complaint with or without prejudice." Broam v. Bogan, 320 F.3d 1023, 1026 n.2 (9th Cir. 2003), citations omitted.
If a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is granted, claims may be dismissed with or without prejudice, and with or without leave to amend. "[A] district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc), quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995). In other words, leave to amend need not be granted when amendment would be futile. Gompper v. VISX, Inc., 298 F.3d 893, 898 (9th Cir. 2002).
Plaintiffs have not filed an opposition. Further, from the docket, it is unclear if other defendants have been served. Plaintiffs' complaint contains several unclear and confusing allegations. As stated, they fail to state a valid cause of action, but leave to amend is granted to allow Plaintiffs a chance to better explain how Defendants' actions may have given rise to legal claims.
Plaintiffs do not explain what role Defendant Countrywide played in the mortgage, its servicing, or foreclosure. There is no explanation for how Defendant Countrywide is connected to this transaction. "The FAC does not contain any allegations that CHL had any interest in the Loan or the Property." Doc. 8, Defendant Countrywide's Brief, at 2:4-5. Plaintiffs have provided no relevant allegations as to Defendant Countrywide.
Plaintiffs seek damages and rescission based on the allegation "Defendants violated TILA in numerous ways, including, but not limited to: (i) failing to provide required disclosures prior to consummation of the transaction; (ii) failing to make required disclosures clearly and conspicuously in writing; (iii) failing to timely deliver to plaintiff certain notices required by statute; (iv) placing terms prohibited by statute into the transaction; and (v) failing to disclose all finance charges and amounts finance." Doc. 1, Part 1, Complaint, at 11:14-19. "The purpose of the TILA is to ensure that users of consumer credit are informed as to the terms on which credit is offered them." Jones v. E*Trade Mortg. Corp., 397 F.3d 810, 812 (9th Cir. 2005). TILA "requires creditors to provide borrowers ...