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Brian Anthony Armendariz and Alicia Armendariz v. Chase Bank N.A.

October 15, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia U.S. District Judge


Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint ("TAC"). (Doc. No. 73.) In accordance with Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1, the Court finds this motion suitable for determination on the papers and without oral argument. Accordingly, the motion hearing scheduled for October 26, 2012 is hereby vacated. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion and dismisses the case with prejudice.


In October 2004, Plaintiffs obtained a $455,000 mortgage loan from Washington Mutual Bank ("WaMu"). (Doc. No. 1, Ex. 3.) The mortgage note was secured by a Deed of Trust that identifies WaMu as the lender and beneficiary, and California Reconveyance Company ("California Reconveyance") as the trustee. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. 4.) Plaintiffs subsequently defaulted on the mortgage loan.

(Doc. No. 1, Ex. 1.) California Reconveyance recorded a Notice of Default on February 3, 2010. (Id.) The Notice of Default indicates that Plaintiffs had accumulated $13,563.09 in arrears. (Id.)

Plaintiffs filed this action pro se on January 24, 2011, and Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint on February 18, 2011. (Doc. No. 13.) On May 13, 2011, this Court dismissed Plaintiffs' Complaint with leave to amend. (Doc. No. 48.) Plaintiffs timely filed their First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on May 27, 2011. (Doc. No. 50.) Defendants moved to dismiss the FAC for failure to state a claim, and on November 10, 2011, the Court granted Defendants' motion and dismissed the FAC, again with leave to amend. (Doc. No. 56.) Plaintiffs subsequently filed their Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") on December 9, 2011. (Doc. No. 59.) On December 27, 2011, Defendants moved to dismiss the SAC for failure to state a claim. (Doc. No. 61.) On April 18, 2012, the Court granted Defendants' motion and dismissed the SAC with leave to amend. (Doc. No. 68.) On June 15, 2012, Plaintiffs filed their Third Amended Complaint ("TAC"). (Doc. No. 72.)

In the TAC, Plaintiffs allege the following claims against all Defendants: (1) fraud and forgery; (2) fraudulent misrepresentation and RESPA / TILA violations, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601 et seq., 12 U.S.C. § 2602; (3) broken chain of title; and (4) quiet title to real property.*fn1 On July 2, 2012, Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss the TAC. (Doc. No. 73.)


Motion to Dismiss

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). The court must accept all factual allegations pleaded 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). A complaint may survive a motion to dismiss only if, taking all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, it contains enough facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). However, because Plaintiffs are proceeding pro se, their Complaint "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers," as the Supreme Court has reaffirmed since Twombly. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). Iqbal incorporated the Twombly pleading standard, and Twombly did not alter courts' treatment of pro se filings; accordingly, the Court construes pro se filings liberally when evaluating them under Iqbal. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010); see also McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, 640-42 (7th Cir. 2010); Bustos v. Martini Club Inc., 599 F.3d 458, 461-62 (5th Cir. 2010); Casanova v. Ulibarri, 595 F.3d 1120, 1124 n. 2, 1125 (10th Cir. 2010); Capogrosso v. Sup. Ct. of N.J., 588 F.3d 180, 184 & n. 1 (3d Cir. 2009); Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2009) (noting that even following Twombly and Iqbal, "we remain obligated to construe a pro se complaint liberally").

Leave to Amend

Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, leave to amend "shall be freely given when justice so requires," bearing in mind "the underlying purpose of Rule 15 to facilitate decision on the merits, rather than on the pleadings or technicalities." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir.2000) (en banc) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). When dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim, "'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.'" Id. at 1130 (quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir.1995)). Generally, leave to amend shall be denied only if allowing amendment would unduly prejudice the opposing party, cause undue delay, or be futile, or if the moving party has acted in bad faith. Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publ'g, 512 F.3d 522, 532 (9th Cir.2008).


In its previous orders dismissing the Complaint, the FAC, and the SAC, the Court commented on the general insufficiency of Plaintiffs' claims. (Doc. No. 48 at 3-4; Doc. No. 56 at 3; Doc. No. 68 at 3-4.) Like the previous three complaints, the TAC consists of unclear, conclusory allegations about the Defendants' alleged wrongful conduct based on speculation, lacking properly pleaded facts, and alleging various violations both statutory and constitutional without asserting the underlying basis. For the ...

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