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Sun v. Wells Fargo Bank, National Association

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 22, 2014

PATRICIA SUN, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT

WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

In this foreclosure action, plaintiff moves for leave to file a first amended complaint. For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

STATEMENT

The background has been set forth in the March 25 order (Dkt. No. 29). In brief, plaintiff commenced this foreclosure action in state court. Following removal, defendant moved to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) and preemption. A March 25 order granted this motion. Plaintiff was invited to seek leave to amend her claims for constructive fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, promissory estoppel, and violation of California's Unfair Competition Law.

Plaintiff now moves for leave to file a first amended complaint pursuant to the March 25 order. Defendant opposes the motion, arguing that allowing amendment would be futile. The proposed amended complaint alleges four claims for relief: (1) constructive fraud; (2) promissory estoppel; (3) negligence; (4) negligent misrepresentation.

This order notes that plaintiff's proposed amended complaint is deficient. No redlined version is appended as required by the March 25 order. Plaintiff - who is not proceeding pro se, but is represented by counsel - also ignored the March 25 order by failing to explain how the proposed amended complaint cures the deficiencies identified in the previous order.

ANALYSIS

Under Rule 15, leave to amend should be freely given when justice so requires. The underlying purpose of Rule 15 is to facilitate decisions on the merits, rather than on the pleadings or technicalities. United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981). A principal limiting factor to the liberal amendment standard is that "[l]eave to amend need not be granted when an amendment would be futile." In re Vantive Corp. Sec. Litig., 283 F.3d 1079, 1097 (9th Cir. 2002).

Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint fails to successfully plead sufficient facts to establish a duty of care or detrimental reliance. None of her claims for relief would survive a motion to dismiss; therefore, plaintiff's amendment is futile and is DENIED.

1. CONSTRUCTIVE FRAUD, NEGLIGENCE, NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION.

As discussed in the March 25 order, the validity of plaintiff's claims for constructive fraud, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation rest on establishing the existence of a fiduciary relationship or a confidential relationship between defendant and plaintiff.

Nymark v. Heart Fed. Savings & Loan Ass'n., 231 Cal.App.3d 1089, 1096 (1991) (citations omitted) held:

[A]s a general rule, a financial institution owes no duty of care to a borrower when the institution's involvement in the loan transaction does not exceed the scope of its conventional role as a mere lender of money.... Liability to a borrower for negligence arises only when the lender actively ...

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