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Saldana v. Bank of America

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 1, 2015

RAYMUNDO SALDANA, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS Re: Dkt. No. 6

JAMES DONATO, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Raymundo Saldana, Joe Ruiz and Luz Ruiz ask this Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, and to order the specific performance of an alleged "short sale" contract between them and defendant Bank of America National Association ("Bank of America").[1] Bank of America has moved to dismiss this action for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that plaintiffs' complaint is completely devoid of any independent cause of action. The plaintiffs filed no opposition and the Court grants the motion.

BACKGROUND

As alleged in the complaint, on November 15, 2005, Plaintiff Raymundo Saldana obtained a loan from America's Wholesale Lender for $825, 000. Dkt. No. 1-2, Ex. A ¶¶ 1, 11. The loan is secured by a deed of trust on real property in Oakley, California, and Bank of America National Association ("Bank of America") is the current beneficiary of the deed. Id. ¶¶ 1, 3, 12. Saldana took out a second loan for $165, 000, which is secured by a deed of trust on the same property. Id. ¶¶ 13-14. The complaint suggests that Bank of America is also the beneficiary of that deed, but that is only vaguely alleged. Id. ¶¶ 28-29.

In 2007 and 2008, Saldana suffered "business losses which made it impossible for him to maintain payments on the loans he received." Id. ¶ 30. A notice of default was recorded on April 29, 2008, which indicated that Bank of America intended to sell the property to satisfy Saldana's loan obligations. Dkt. No. 6 at 1. Saldana tried to "seek relief through a short sale, ' which would involve [Bank of America's] consent." Dkt. No. 1-2, Ex. A ¶ 30. At that time, Saldana believed that the fair market value of the property was $252, 000; Joe and Luz Ruiz, also plaintiffs in this action, agreed to take over the obligation for the remaining loan, subject to a $252, 000 price. Id. ¶¶ 2, 31. After negotiations with Bank of America, who determined that the $252, 000 price was insufficient, the Ruiz's agreed to pay $258, 000. Id . ¶ 32. Bank of America then sent out a letter, "which was electronically signed by Eric Maza of [Bank of America's] Home Loan Team, confirming the agreement and arranging for payment of the said $258, 800." Id. ¶ 32.

The complaint alleges that Bank of America then backed out of the sale agreement because, according to the bank, it "had neglected to consider the satisfaction of [Saldana's] second loan in their negotiations." Id. ¶ 33. Plaintiffs now seek declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as specific performance of the short sale. Id. ¶¶ 22, 25, 34. Defendant Bank of America has moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint in its entirety for failure to state any substantive claim. Dkt. No. 6. Plaintiffs did not file an opposition to the motion.

DISCUSSION

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss "can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). To avoid dismissal, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly at 556). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the Court must assume that the plaintiff's allegations are true and must draw all reasonable inferences in his or her favor. Usher v. City of Los Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987). However, the Court need not "accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). When the Court dismisses a complaint, it "should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Plaintiffs ask for declaratory relief, injunctive relief and specific performance relating to a failed agreement to conduct a short sale of Saldana's property. Dkt. No. 1-2, Ex A ¶¶ 22, 25, 34 (asking for (1) a "judicial determination and declaration of Plaintiffs' and Defendant [Bank of America's] respective rights and duties"; (2) an injunction enjoining the sale of the real property at issue; and (3) a "decree of specific performance requiring conveyance of the Real Property to Plaintiffs Ruiz for the agreed purchase price of $258, 000."). But these are remedies, not claims. See Rosenfeld v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 732 F.Supp.2d 952, 975 (N.D. Cal. 2010) ("Declaratory and injunctive relief are not causes of action; rather, they are remedies.") (citation omitted); see also Harara v. ConocoPhillips Co., 377 F.Supp.2d 779, 796 n.20 (N.D. Cal. 2005) ("Specific performance is a form of contractual relief, not an independent claim."). Plaintiffs do not allege a substantive claim at all in the complaint. It is therefore dismissed in its entirety. See Riese v. Chase Home Fin., LLC, No. C 11-03297 NJV, 2011 WL 4344590, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 13, 2011) (dismissing claims for injunctive relief and specific performance because they are remedies, not separate claims).

The Court is concerned about plaintiffs' failure to respond to the motion in any way. With some reluctance in light of that default, the Court dismisses the complaint without prejudice. Plaintiffs may file an amended complaint within 14 days of this order, should they wish to do so. In the amended complaint, plaintiffs must explicitly and clearly include an independent cause of action, and facts supporting each element of the claim. Failure to do so, especially in light of plaintiffs' failure to respond to this motion, will result in the dismissal of this case.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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