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McDonald v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 12, 2013

LINDA McDONALD, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. No. 4)

KANDIS A. WESTMORE, Magistrate Judge.

On May 30, 2013, Defendant Wells Fargo filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff Linda McDonald's complaint. (Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, "Def.'s Mot., " Dkt. No. 4.) On December 5, 2013, the Court held a hearing, and after careful consideration of the parties' arguments, for the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Well Fargo's Motion to Dismiss in full and without leave to amend, because any amendment to the pleadings would be futile.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Linda McDonald filed this action in Alameda County Superior Court on April 19, 2013. On May 22, 2013, Wells Fargo removed the case to federal court.

Plaintiff's complaint contains five causes of action against Wells Fargo for 1) fraudulent inducement to breach of contract; 2) TILA; 3) fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud; 4) California Civil Code § 2923.5 and request for declaratory relief; and 5) predatory lending in violation of truth in lending.[1] ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1, Ex. A.)

Plaintiff alleges that she obtained a residential mortgage loan in 1998 from World Savings Bank (since acquired by Defendant Wells Fargo) for the Subject Property, located at 7430 Halliday Avenue, Oakland, California. (Compl. ¶ 3.) The deed of trust was recorded by the Alameda County Recorder's Office. Id. Plaintiff submitted loan modification requests in July 2009 and January 2011, which resulted in "delays, lost documents, staff changes, and evasive actions." Id.

Plaintiff further contends that the economic collapse resulted in her filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2010. (Compl. ¶ 4.) During the bankruptcy process, she allegedly discovered that there were a number of "procedural improprieties" involving violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as well as "underwriting issues." (Compl. ¶ 6.)

On May 30, 2013, Wells Fargo filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

On September 13, 2013, Plaintiff finally responded to the Court's order to show cause, and filed an opposition to Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss. (Pl.'s Opp'n, Dkt. No. 18.) Plaintiff's Opposition, however, consists almost entirely of boilerplate language, and, among its deficits, addresses causes of action that do not appear in Plaintiff's complaint, including negligence and unjust enrichment. (Pl.'s Opp'n at 15, 19.) The Court also notes that the Opposition repeatedly refers to a first amended complaint, of which there is no such pleading.

On September 17, 2013, Wells Fargo filed a "response" to Plaintiff's "Amended Opposition" to inform the Court that Plaintiff's Opposition resembled "a form pleading drafted on behalf of Plaintiff by someone else, perhaps a paralegal, who has offered it to other litigants acting in pro per, in Northern California." (Dkt. No. 19 at 2.) Attached as Exhibit A was a virtually identical pleading filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. See Mullins v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Case No. 2:13-cv-00453-JAM-KJN (E.D. Cal.). Given that the several of the arguments raised in Plaintiff's Opposition bear no relation to the complaint, coupled with the close semblance to pleadings in other mortgage cases, the Court believes that Plaintiff is utilizing a document preparer or another resource in drafting her pleadings.

On September 20, 2013, the Court issued an order stating that it considered Plaintiff's September 13, 2013 filing to be an opposition to Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss, and giving Wells Fargo seven days to file a formal reply. (Dkt. No. 21.) Wells Fargo did not file a reply, so the motion is fully briefed.

On December 5, 2013, the Court held a hearing, at which the parties confirmed that Plaintiff is not currently in default, and all causes of action concern conduct at either the time of loan origination or loan modification.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a complaint to contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a)(2). However, "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." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, (1957)). Claims based on fraud, including state-law causes of action, must also meet the additional requirements of Federal Rule 9(b), that the circumstances of the fraud be pleaded with particularity. Vess v. Ciba-Geigy Corp., 317 F.3d 1097, 1103 (9th Cir. 2003).

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss based on the failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A motion to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in ...


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