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Naranjo v. Aurora Loan Services, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 26, 2014

CARMEN NARANJO, Plaintiff,
v.
AURORA LOAN SERVICES, LLC, et. al, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND STRIKE

JOHN A. HOUSTON, District Judge.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Carmen Naranjo, originally filed this action for breach of contract, negligence, California Business and Professions Code ยง 17200, et. seq., and declaratory relief in Superior Court on December 3, 2013. The action involves real property known as 7060 Heron Circle, Carlsbad, California 92011. She names Aurora Loan Services LLC, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, as defendants. Defendants removed the matter to federal court on January 9, 2014. Shortly thereafter, Defendants filed the pending motion to dismiss and strike. Plaintiff filed an opposition and Defendants filed a reply. The matter was set for hearing but was taken under submission pursuant to Local Rule 7.1. Upon review of the parties' submissions and for the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss.

DISCUSSION

Defendants move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants also seek to strike Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages and attorney's fees.

I. Motion to Dismiss

A. Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block , 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). Dismissal is warranted under Rule 12(b)(6) where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. , 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984); see Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989) ("Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes a court to dismiss a claim on the basis of a dispositive issue of law."). Alternatively, a complaint may be dismissed where it presents a cognizable legal theory yet fails to plead essential facts under that theory. Robertson , 749 F.2d at 534. While a plaintiff need not give "detailed factual allegations, " he must plead sufficient facts that, if true, "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 547). A claim is facially plausible when the factual allegations permit "the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id . In other words, "the non-conclusory factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief. Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

B. Analysis

Defendants argue Plaintiff's claims are barred by her bankruptcies. They further argue Plaintiff lacks standing to assert her claims because she does not allege she tendered or is able to tender the amount of her debt, and she fails to show prejudice. Defendants also argue each of Plaintiff's claims fail on their own.

1. Bankruptcy Bar

Defendants argue Plaintiff lacks standing to bring the pending action due to her Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They maintain Plaintiff initiated a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on March 3, 2011. See Bankruptcy Petition, Defs' Exh. I (Doc. No. 3-4).[1] Defendants argue under the Bankruptcy Code all Plaintiff's claims became property of the bankruptcy estate upon filing and remain its property. They further argue Plaintiff has not obtained an abandonment of the claims from the trustee, and as such, she is not the real party in interest and is without standing to pursue her claims.

In opposition, Plaintiff argues the claims are not part of her Chapter 7 bankruptcy, because they did not arise until after the filing of the first bankruptcy case. She maintains that at the time of the bankruptcy filing, she was involved in the loan modification application process and was trying to work with Defendant Aurora. She contends her Statement of Intention, in which she expressed her intention to reaffirm the loan, evidences her belief that Aurora would correct its errors and enable her to save her home. Plaintiff argues it was not until after Aurora transferred the loan to Nationstar that the pursuit of the loan modification concluded and the claims asserted in the complaint arose. She further argues the legal ...


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