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Samuel St. James v. Jp Morgan Chase Bank Corporation

December 21, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court


[Doc. No. 9]

Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss brought by Defendants JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., an acquirer of certain assets and liabilities of Washington Mutual Bank from the FDIC acting as receiver, California Reconveyance Company, and Chase Home Finance LLC (collectively "Defendants"). (Doc. No. 9.) For the reasons described herein, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss.


The subject of this suit is a mortgage loan contract entered into by Plaintiff on April 7, 2005 for real property located at 6923 Worchester Place, San Diego, CA 92126. (Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("FAC") ¶ 8.) Prior to that mortgage contract, Plaintiff refinanced the property two or three times from approximately July 2001 through April 2005. (Id. ¶ 9.) In these refinance transactions, the lenders utilized the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. ("MERS"). (Id. ¶ 9.) Based upon the involvement of MERS, Plaintiff alleges there exists a cloud on title. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff alleges Defendants were aware of the cloud on title resulting from MERS' involvement in the refinance transactions prior to April 7, 2005. (Id.)

On September 17, 2009, through attorney John Bakhit, Plaintiff entered into a "Making Home Affordable" ("MHA") loan modification with one or more of the Defendants. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff was unaware of the cloud on title when he entered into the MHA program and would not have entered into the agreement and made monthly payments under that agreement had he known of the cloud on title. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.)

Plaintiff filed his original complaint in this action on September 10, 2010, and he filed his FAC on October 1, 2010. (Doc. Nos. 1, 6.) Defendants filed the present motion to dismiss on October 22, 2010. (Doc. No. 9.) Plaintiff filed a response in opposition and Defendants filed a reply. (Doc. Nos. 11, 14.)


I. Legal Standard

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) (2009). A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 731 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must accept all factual allegations pled in the complaint as true, and must construe them and draw all reasonable inferences from them in favor of the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, rather, it must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ---, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

However, "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 (citation omitted). A court need not accept "legal conclusions" as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ---, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). In spite of the deference the court is bound to pay to the plaintiff's allegations, it is not proper for the court to assume that "the [plaintiff] can prove facts that [he or she] has not alleged or that 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).

II. Analysis

A. Causes of Action Arising Under Federal Law

Plaintiff asserts causes of action against JPMorgan under the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA") and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). Defendants argue that Plaintiff cannot assert any claims against JPMorgan based on the alleged conduct of Washington Mutual Bank ("WaMu"). Defendants argue that the Purchase and Assumption Agreement ("P & A Agreement") entered into with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") ...

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