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Niranjan v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 13, 2013

SNEH NIRANJAN, Plaintiff,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., RECONTRUST COMPANY, DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATE HOLDERS OF HARBORVIEW MORTGAGE LOAN TRUST 2004-11, ASSET-BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2004-11 INDIVIDUALLY, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

In this foreclosure action, plaintiff has filed a motion seeking leave to file an amended complaint. This motion follows a previous order granting defendants' motion to dismiss all of plaintiff's claims. For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

STATEMENT

The basic facts alleged are in a prior order and need not be repeated in detail herein (Dkt. No. 35). In brief, plaintiff Sneh Niranjan acquired a loan from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. in 2004. The deed explicitly granted Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems ("MERS") the power to foreclose. Sometime after defendant Bank of America, N.A. acquired Countrywide in 2008, plaintiff fell behind on her payments. Bank of America substituted ReconTrust Company as the trustee and assigned the deed of trust to defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company. ReconTrust recorded a notice of default and a notice of trustee's sale to be held in October 2012.

Plaintiff's claims arise out of an attempt to invalidate a pending foreclosure on the theories that: (1) the note and deed of trust were improperly separated and are thus invalid; (2) MERS lacked authority to assign the deed of trust to the foreclosing entity; (3) the lender's failure to transfer the physical, original note made later foreclosure impossible; (4) securitization of the note left no party with the right to foreclose; and (5) defendants fraudulently "robo-signed" various documents.

Defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), and the motion was granted by an order dated April 18, 2013 (Dkt. No. 35). The April 18 order stated that if plaintiff sought leave to amend, she must "clearly explain how the amendments to the complaint cure the deficiencies identified" by that order ( id. at 9). Plaintiff's current motion seeking leave to file an amended complaint does not explain how the proposed amendments cure the deficiencies. Instead, the motion seeks to reargue issues already decided by the April 18 order. Moreover, the proposed amended complaint does not cure the deficiencies of the prior complaint. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

ANALYSIS

1. PLAINTIFF'S ARGUMENT FOR LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT.

Pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2), leave to amend should be freely given where justice so requires, absent a showing of bad faith, dilatory motive, or undue prejudice. Leave to amend may be denied, however, if the proposed amendment is futile or would be subject to dismissal. Saul v. United States, 928 F.2d 829, 843 (9th Cir. 1991). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009).

The majority of plaintiff's motion for leave to amend consists of arguments against the April 18 order. Contrary to that order, the motion does not outline how the proposed amendments cure the deficiencies of the original complaint. This is unsurprising, however, given that the proposed pleading adds three new claims while leaving the previously dismissed claims and supporting factual allegations virtually untouched. The proposed pleading's minor amendments and the newly added claims are insufficient to state a claim for relief. This order now considers the new claims in turn.

A. Quasi-Contract Claim.

The proposed amended complaint alleges that a quasi-contract exists between plaintiff and defendants because "[d]efendants acquired a benefit at the expense of [p]laintiff without [p]laintiff's knowledge or consent" (Dkt. No. 37-2 at 37). Quasi-contracts are not based upon the intent of the parties to be bound, but are rather "obligations created by law for reasons of justice." McGough v. Univ. of S.F., 263 Cal.Rptr. 404, 408 (Cal.Ct.App. 1989) (citations omitted). The proposed pleading does not provide adequate grounds for this order to grant such an equitable claim. More importantly, our court of appeals has established that a claim of quasi-contract "does not lie when an enforceable, binding agreement exists defining the rights of the parties." Paracor Finance, Inc. v. General Electric Capital Corp., 96 F.3d 1151, 1167 (9th Cir. 1996). While the proposed amended complaint argues that the underlying contract is fraudulent, plaintiff's claims are grounded in the previously dismissed theories that: (1) the deed and note were void as of the time the note was sold ...


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