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Marino v. Countrywide Financial Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 23, 2014

ANTHONY MARINO, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL CORPORATION, et al., Defendants

For Anthony Marino, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff: George Henry Spizzirri, LEAD ATTORNEY, George Spizzirri, Attorney at Law, San Clemente, CA.

For Countrywide Financial Corporation, n.k.a. Bank of America Home Loans, Countrywide Home Loans Inc, Bank of America Corp, Bank of America NA, Defendants: Aileen Marie Hunter, Katherine Mae Harrison, Stuart W Price, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Bryan Cave LLP, Irvine, CA; Nafiz Cekirge, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bryan Cave LLP, Santa Monica, CA.

Page 950

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (Doc. 15)

HONORABLE JOSEPHINE L. STATON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is a Motion to Remand filed by Plaintiff Anthony Marino. (Mot., Doc. 15.) Defendants Countrywide Financial Corporation; Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (" Countrywide Defendants" ); Bank of America Corporation; and Bank of America, N.A. (" Bank of America Defendants" ) opposed, and Plaintiff replied. (Opp'n, Doc. 18; Reply, Doc. 19.) Having read the papers, heard oral argument, and

Page 951

taken the matter under submission, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff entered into two mortgage loans with Countrywide Defendants that were secured by his property. (First Am. Compl. (" FAC" ) at 9:18-25, Doc. 1 Ex. A.) Plaintiff contends, on behalf of himself and proposed class members,[1] that Countrywide Defendants allegedly knew but failed to disclose that: (1) a significant percentage of Countrywide Defendants' California borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages did not earn sufficient income to make loan payments once their rates were adjusted upward; [2] (2) when the housing boom ended, these borrowers would default and their homes would be foreclosed upon in such large quantities that supply would exceed demand, causing a decline in home prices; and (3) as a result, the balances due on the loans Plaintiff and proposed class members entered into would exceed the values of their homes, and thus they would face substantially increased risks of deficiency judgments on their second mortgages if they defaulted. ( Id. at 83:6-18.) Plaintiff seeks to hold all Defendants liable for any deficiencies on his and proposed class members' second mortgages. ( Id. at 84:12-26, 87:3-15.) Plaintiff also seeks restitution from all Defendants on the grounds that he and proposed class members were injured by: (1) having paid money to Countrywide Defendants to obtain loans he and proposed class members would not otherwise have obtained had they known the above facts; and (2) having repaid cash loans with a second mortgage, not knowing there was an increased risk of a deficiency judgment on the second mortgage in case of default. ( Id. at 85:18-23, 85:28-86:10, 87:17-22.)

Plaintiff's FAC provides over thirty pages of allegations as to Countrywide Defendants' nationwide lending practices. ( Id. at 31-65.) The FAC then addresses Countrywide Defendants' response to the financial crisis and the effects of their lending practices on that crisis. ( Id. at 65-75.) The allegations focus on, but are not limited to, effects felt in California, where slightly less than half of Countrywide Defendants' income-deficient loans were issued. ( Id. ; see also id. at 21:15-16, 22:1-17.)

Plaintiff alleges Bank of America Defendants " are liable as successors-in-interest to Countrywide [Defendants] for the conduct alleged . . . under the doctrines of de facto merger and assumption of liabilities." ( Id. at 77:7-9.) According to Plaintiff, " Bank of America transferred all of the operating assets of Countrywide Financial, Countrywide Home Loans, and other Countrywide Financial subsidiaries to itself and its non-Countrywide Financial subsidiaries." ( Id. at 80:16-18.) Bank of America Defendants allegedly assumed Countrywide Defendants' liabilities through public statements and by paying out Countrywide Defendants' liabilities in connection with various lawsuits and settlements. ( Id. at 13:27-14:3, 81:10-25.)

Plaintiff filed this action on December 5, 2013, in the Superior Court of California, asserting claims against all Defendants for " declaratory/injunctive relief" and for violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200. ( Id. at 1, 82, 85.) On January 13, 2014, Bank of America, N.A. removed the action, asserting ...


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