United States District Court, C.D. California
Stephen Hild, et al.
Bank of America, N.A., et al
For Stephen Hild, an individual, Lois Hild, an individual, Plaintiffs: Stephen R Golden, Te Aira L Law, Stephen R Golden and Associates, Pasadena, CA.
For Bank of America, N.A., Defendant: Sharon K Brown, Bryan Cave LLP, Santa Monica, CA.
For Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Defendant: Adam F Summerfield, LEAD ATTORNEY, McGuireWoods LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Carlo Luis Rodes, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC.
Honorable JESUS G.
BERNAL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Proceedings: Order (1) GRANTING IN PART Defendant Nationstar Mortgage's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 22); (2) GRANTING Defendant Bank of America's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 24); and (3) VACATING the February 2, 2015, Hearing (IN CHAMBERS)
Before the Court are two motions to dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint from Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC (" Nationstar"), (Doc. No. 22), and Bank of America, N.A. (" Bank of America" or " BOA"), (Doc. No. 24). The Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without a hearing. See Local Rule 7-15; Fed.R.Civ.P. 78. After considering all papers timely filed in support of and in opposition to the Motion, the Court GRANTS IN PART Nationstar's motion and GRANTS Bank of America's motion. The Court VACATES the February 2, 2015, hearing.
A. Procedural History
On September 10, 2014, Plaintiffs Stephen Hild and Lois Hild (" Plaintiffs") filed a Complaint in California Superior Court for the County of Riverside against Defendants Bank of America and Nationstar Mortgage, LLC (collectively, " Defendants"). (Complaint, Doc. No. 1, Ex. A.) Defendants removed the case to this Court on October 15, 2014. (Not. of Removal, Doc. No. 1.)
Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint on December 3, 2014. (" FAC, " Doc. No. 19.) On December 17, 2014, Defendant Nationstar filed a motion to dismiss the FAC. (" Nationstar Mot., " Doc. No. 22.) Defendant Bank of America also filed a motion to dismiss the FAC on December 22, 2014. (" BOA Mot., " Doc. No. 24.) Plaintiffs opposed BOA's motion on January 13, 2015. (" BOA Opp'n, " Doc. No. 26.) They opposed Nationstar's motion on January 15, 2015. (" Nationstar Opp'n, " Doc. No. 27.) BOA filed its reply brief on January 16, 2015. (" BOA Reply, " Doc. No. 28.) Nationstar replied on January 22, 2015. (" Nationstar Reply, " Doc. No. 29.)
B. Allegations in the FAC
On November 1, 2005, Plaintiffs obtained a $1, 000, 000 loan from America's Wholesale Lender, (FAC ¶ 11), and purchased real property located at 24310 Three Springs Road, Hemet, California 92545 (" Hemet Property"), (FAC ¶ 10). Plaintiffs state that BOA is the " purported servicer of the loan" and that Nationstar is the " purported current servicer of the loan." (FAC ¶ ¶ 2-3.) Plaintiffs allege that the servicing of Plaintiffs' loan transferred from BOA to Nationstar on or about June 29, 2013. (FAC ¶ 19.)
Plaintiffs assert that, in 2009 and 2010, while BOA remained the servicer of Plaintiffs' loan, they attempted to refinance their home because the balance of their loan exceeded the value of their home. (FAC ¶ ¶ 15-16.) Plaintiffs allege that they approached BOA in 2009 and requested a list of approved real estate appraisers but the BOA representative told her that it was against the law to provide such a list. (FAC ¶ 15.) Plaintiffs allege that, in 2010, they again approached BOA for an appraisal but that BOA " refused to return Plaintiffs' calls or provide them their needed appraisal." (FAC ¶ ¶ 16-17.)
After Nationstar became the servicer of Plaintiffs' loan, Plaintiffs submitted a loan modification application to Nationstar on November 1, 2013. (FAC ¶ 21.) Plaintiffs were informed on November 5, 2013, that they were not eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (" HAMP"). (FAC ¶ 23.) Plaintiffs submitted an income and expense sheet on January 29, 2014, and submitted a complete first lien loan modification application on March 14, 2014, so that they could be reviewed for an in-house modification. (FAC ¶ ¶ 24-25.) Plaintiffs allege that they were denied in April 2014 but never received a letter of denial. (FAC ¶ 30.) On April 23, 2014, Plaintiffs' counsel contacted Nationstar, inquired about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (" HARP") and in-house modifications, and a Nationstar representative stated that Plaintiffs would be reviewed. (FAC ¶ 31.) Plaintiffs were told that they would be reviewed for a 12 to 24 month modification program. (FAC ¶ ¶ 31-32.) Plaintiffs did not receive any further information regarding the review for that program during the following four months; Nationstar did not request additional documents or inform Plaintiffs that their previously submitted documents had become stale. (FAC ¶ ¶ 33-34.) Plaintiffs' representative contacted Nationstar for an update in August 2013 and was informed that Plaintiffs' application for an in-house modification was under review but that all of Plaintiffs' documents had expired and submission of a new application package was required. (FAC ¶ 34.) Plaintiffs also allege that a single point of contact was appointed in November 2013 but the point of contact was changed three times thereafter, in March 2014, April 2014, and May 2014. (FAC ¶ ¶ 22, 26-28.)
The FAC alleges nine causes of action against Defendants: (1) lack of standing and quantum meruit related to the defective securitization of Plaintiff's mortgage; (2) negligent loan administration; (3) quiet title; (4) declaratory relief; (5) violation of California Civil Code § 2923.7; (6) intentional interference with contractual relations; (7) intentional interference with prospective economic relations; (8) negligent interference with prospective economic relations; and (9) violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17200, et seq. (FAC ¶ ¶ 35-93.) The sixth, seventh, and eighth claims are alleged against only BOA, and the remaining six claims are raised against both Defendants. (Id.)
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to bring a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b)(6) is read in conjunction with Rule 8(a), which requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) (holding that the Federal Rules require that a plaintiff provide " 'a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests") (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must accept all material allegations in the complaint -- as well as any reasonable inferences to be drawn from them -- as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Doe v. United States, 419 F.3d 1058, 1062 (9th Cir. 2005); ARC Ecology v. U.S. Dep't of Air Force, 411 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2005); Moyo v. Gomez, 32 F.3d 1382, 1384 (9th Cir. 1994).
" While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, 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." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Rather, the allegations in the complaint " must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id.
Surviving a motion to dismiss requires a plaintiff to allege " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 697, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). " The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The Ninth Circuit has clarified that (1) a complaint must " contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively, " and (2) " the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation." Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).
Although the scope of review is limited to the contents of the complaint, the Court may also consider exhibits submitted with the complaint, Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990), and " take judicial notice of matters of public record outside the pleadings, ...