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Reinhard A. Tiefenthaler et al v. Wells Fargo Bank Na et al

July 19, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge


ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT [Motion filed on May 31, 2011 Term. Dkt. Nos. 26, 28, and 32]

This matter comes before the court on a Motion to Dismiss filed by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. successor in interest by merger with Wachovia Mortgage, FSB and NDEX West L.L.C ("Defendants"). After reviewing the materials submitted by the parties and considering the arguments therein, the court GRANTS the motion and adopts the following Order.


On October 2, 2008, Plaintiffs Reinhard and Margaret Tiefenthaler ("Plaintiffs") obtained a loan from Wachovia, secured by a deed of trust against the subject property at 1309 E. Country Club Blvd., Big Bear City, California 92314 (the "Property"). (Wachovia's Request For Judicial Notice in Support of Motion to Dismiss ("RJN"), Ex. A.) Plaintiffs defaulted on their loan, so a notice of default was recorded on June 29, 2010. (RJN, Ex. B.) On October 4, 2010, a Notice of Trustee's Sale was recorded noticing a trustee's sale on October 26, 2010. (RJN, Ex. C.) On October 5, 2010, Plaintiffs brought suit against Defendants in state court, seeking to enjoin the foreclosure sale, damages for alleged fraud, and declaratory relief. (Complaint ("Compl.") ¶¶ 66, 67, 78.) On October 26, 2010, the Trustee's Sale took place and the property was sold. (RJN, Ex. D.) On November 8, 2010, Defendants removed the present action to this court based on diversity jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal ¶ 2.) After removal, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), 8, and 9(b). (Dkt. No. 7.) This court granted the motion with leave to amend. (Dkt. No. 21.) On May 12, 2011, Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint ("FAC"). (Dkt. No. 24.)


Under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint is subject to dismissal when the plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When considering a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, "all allegations of material fact are accepted as true and should be construed in the light most favorable to [the] plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 433, 447 (9th Cir. 2000).

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009), the Supreme Court explained that a court considering a 12(b)(6) motion should first "identify[] pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth."

Id. Next, the court should identify the complaint's "well-pleaded factual allegations, . . . assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief."

Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) ("In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief" (internal quotation marks omitted)).


A. Rule 8

Defendants seek to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for failure to comply with the pleading requirements under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 requires a plaintiff to "plead a short and plain statement of the elements of his or her claim, identifying the transaction or occurrence giving rise to the claim and the elements of the prima facie case." Bautista v. Los Angeles County, 216 F.3d 837, 840 (9th Cir. 2000). It is well settled, for example, that a pleading may not simply allege a wrong has been committed and demand relief, but rather, must give "fair notice" of the claim being asserted and the "grounds upon which it rests." Yamaguchi v. United States Dept. Of Air Force, 109 F.3d 1475, 1481 (9th Cir. 1997).

Here, even construing all allegations of material fact in Plaintiffs' favor, Plaintiffs' causes of action do not satisfy the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8. Plaintiffs' FAC lists statutes and definitions in support of their claims. (FAC ΒΆΒΆ 9-28.) However, Plaintiffs have failed to identify any specific facts underlying Plaintiffs' allegations as to the various statutory provisions pursuant to which Plaintiff bring suit. In particular, Plaintiffs do not identify any particular conduct by Wachovia that violates the statutory provisions. A mere recitation of statutes and legal definitions does not constitute a claim. Such pleading does not give Defendants fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Vague allegations and mere labels and conclusions are insufficient to ...

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