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Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

September 25, 2014

ELIZABETH ANN WILLIAMS, Plaintiff(s),
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendant(s)

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Docket Item No(s). 33]

EDWARD J. DAVILA, District Judge.

In this action concerning real property located in Gilroy, California, Plaintiff Elizabeth Ann Williams ("Plaintiff") filed a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") asserting causes of action for (1) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Business and Professions Code § 17200, (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) anticipatory breach of contract, (4) declaratory relief, and (5) injunctive relief against Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo").

Federal jurisdiction arises pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Presently before the court is Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss the SAC. See Docket Item No. 33.[1] For the reasons explained below, Wells Fargo's motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

The court previously explained the background of this action in the order granting Plaintiff's preliminary injunction motion, and repeats it again here. This action stems from two loans which Plaintiff obtained from predecessors of Wells Fargo. The first was a mortgage from World Savings Bank obtained on or about December 27, 2000, and the second was a home equity line of credit ("HELOC") obtained on or about April 6, 2006.

From December 2000 until approximately May 2007, Plaintiff paid both of her mortgage payments via automatic bank withdrawals. In or around May 2007 Plaintiff opened a new bank account. Plaintiff informed Wachovia Corporation (Wells Fargo's predecessor) that she had a new bank account and directed them to withdraw monthly payments for both her mortgage and the HELOC. However, HELOC payments were not automatically deducted, although mortgage payments continued. Plaintiff called Wells Fargo, but the situation was not corrected.

After several months, Wells Fargo requested that Plaintiff pay late fees due on the uncollected HELOC payments. In December 2007, Wells Fargo recorded a Notice of Default on the HELOC. Plaintiff claims she attempted to contact Wells Fargo to arrange payment of all late fees and arrears, however Wells Fargo did not respond.

In September or October 2008, Plaintiff was served with eviction and foreclosure notices, stemming from the default on the HELOC. Plaintiff engaged the help of an attorney, who sent a letter to Wells Fargo requesting a reinstatement amount and stating that Plaintiff was willing and able to pay the reinstatement figure with certified funds. The trustee's deed upon sale was rescinded on or about October 14, 2008, and around January, 2009, Wells Fargo reinstated the HELOC after Plaintiff paid fees and expenses.

In the meantime, Wells Fargo stopped automatically withdrawing payments for Plaintiff's mortgage in October, 2008. In March, 2009, Plaintiff received a statement indicating that she was five months late on payments for her mortgage and requesting fees to cure her default. Plaintiff contacted Wells Fargo to inquire about repaying her mortgage, but was told that there was no record of her loan. In March, 2009, Plaintiff met with a bank representative to pay the full amount of her loan payments, but was told that she would be required to pay fees and penalties in addition to the arrears, which she refused to pay. Wells Fargo's employee refused to accept any payment that did not include the fees and penalties. On August 6, 2009, Wells Fargo recorded a Notice of Default on the mortgage. Starting in October, 2009, Plaintiff submitted a number of loan modification applications, which were each denied.

Plaintiff initiated this action in Santa Clara County Superior Court on June 27, 2013, and Wells Fargo removed it on July 19, 2013. Plaintiff filed the SAC on September 25, 2013. This motion followed.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a plaintiff to plead each claim with sufficient specificity to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations omitted). A complaint which falls short of the Rule 8(a) standard may be dismissed if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory." Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr. , 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008). Moreover, the factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level" such that the claim "is plausible on its face." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556-57.

When deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court generally "may not consider any material beyond the pleadings." Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co. , 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n. 19 (9th Cir. 1990). The court must accept as true all "well-pleaded factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 664 (2009). The court must also construe the alleged facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Love v. United States , 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1988). However, the court may consider material submitted as part of the complaint or relied upon in the complaint, and may also consider material subject to judicial notice. See Lee v. City of Los Angeles , 250 F.3d 668, 688-69 (9th Cir. 2001). "[M]aterial which is properly ...


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