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Johnson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 1, 2016

STEPHEN H. JOHNSON, PAULA A. JOHNSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK NA., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. 13]

          DEAN D. PREGERSON United States District Judge.

         Presently before the court is Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.’s Motion to Dismiss. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the court grants the motion and adopts the following Order.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs Stephen and Paula Johnson (“Plaintiffs”) filed an action against Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“Defendant”) in the San Bernardino County Superior Court in March 2014. (Case No. 5:14-cv-00777-DDP-JEMx, the “First Action”). The case was later removed to this court. In the First Action, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant did not have standing to initiate foreclosure proceedings against Plaintiffs’ property because Defendant did not acquire the right to enforce a deed of trust that was executed as part of Plaintiffs’ refinancing of their home in November 2006. (First Action Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiffs alleged five causes of action: “(1) Quiet Title; (2) Violations of Business and Professions Code section 17200, et seq.; (3) Quasi-Contract; (4) Negligence; and (5) Wrongful Foreclosure. (Id.) Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint, which this Court granted. (First Action Dkt. No. 21.) Plaintiffs filed a motion to set aside the judgment, which the Court denied. (First Action Dkt. No. 29.)

         Plaintiffs then filed a second state court action against Defendant. (Case No. 5:14-cv-01372-DDP-JEMx, the “Second Action”). The case, like its predecessor, was then removed to this Court. In the Second Action, Plaintiffs alleged the same underlying facts as the First Action and brought a claim for Quiet Title. (Second Action Dkt. No. 12.) Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint on res judicata grounds and the court granted the motion.

         Plaintiffs then filed the instant action in this Court (the “Third Action)” against Defendant, alleging causes of action for violation of the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), quiet title, and “cancellation of instrument.” Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) alleges the same underlying facts as the First and Second Actions, and bring a single claim for declaratory relief pursuant to TILA and based upon a Notice of Rescission allegedly sent to Defendant in July 2015. Defendant now moves to dismiss the FAC.

         II. Legal Standard

         A complaint will survive a motion to dismiss when it contains “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, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must “accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). Although a complaint need not include “detailed factual allegations, ” it must offer “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Conclusory allegations or allegations that are no more than a statement of a legal conclusion “are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at 679. In other words, a pleading that merely offers “labels and conclusions, ” a “formulaic recitation of the elements, ” or “naked assertions” will not be sufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Id. at 678 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

         “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement of relief.” Id. at 679. Plaintiffs must allege “plausible grounds to infer” that their claims rise “above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief” is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         III. Discussion

         Defendant contends that this action, like the Second Action before it, is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Res judicata “bars litigation in a subsequent action of any claims that were raised or could have been raised in the prior action.” Owens v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. 244 F.3d 708, 713 (9th Cir. 2001); W. Radio Servs. Co. v. Glickman, 123 F.3d 1189, 1192 (9th Cir. 1997). It applies when there is “1) [an] identity of claims, 2) a final judgment on the merits, and 3) identity or privity between the parties.” W. Radio Servs. Co., 123 F.3d at 1192.

         A. Identity of Claims The Ninth Circuit relies on four factors to determine if there is an identity of claims. The factors are

(1) whether rights or interests established in the prior judgment would be destroyed or impaired by prosecution of the second action; (2) whether substantially the same evidence is presented in the two actions; (3) whether the two suits involve infringement of the same right; and (4) whether the two suits arise out of the same transactional nucleus of facts.

Harris v. Jacobs, 621 F.2d 341, 343 (9th Cir. 1980); Constantini v. Trans World Airlines,681 F.2d 1199, 1201-02 ...


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