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Aaron Brewer v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 6, 2017

AARON BREWER, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.


          HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations[1]

         Plaintiffs Aaron Brewer and Della Chambers Brewer (“Plaintiffs”) have filed suit against Defendants Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”) and The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM”), in its capacity as trustee for the World Savings Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”) Trust, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Series 29 (“REMIC Trust”), regarding their home loan with Wells Fargo's predecessor-in-interest, World Savings Bank, FSB (“WSB”). See Dkt. No. 1, Ex. A (“Compl.”).

         i. Loan Agreement

         Plaintiffs entered into a loan agreement with WSB on March 12, 2007. Compl. ¶ 7. WSB sold Plaintiffs' loan to the REMIC Trust-a mortgage-backed securities trust set up under New York law-on April 27, 2007. Id. ¶ 8. BNYM served as the trustee for the REMIC Trust. Id. According to Plaintiffs, New York law required WSB to transfer the loan documents to the REMIC Trust within 90 days of the closing date, but no public records show that this transfer occurred. Id. ¶ 9.

         ii. Information Requests

         On May 19, 2015, Plaintiffs sent Wells Fargo a Qualified Written Request (“QWR”) and Debt Dispute Letter under the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e) (“RESPA”), in an attempt to ascertain who owned their loan. Id. ¶ 10. The QWR also asserted Plaintiffs' rights under Regulation X of the Mortgage Servicing Act (“Regulation X”), which is a component of the Dodd-Frank Act under RESPA. Id. Wells Fargo responded to the QWR on June 18, 2015. Compl. ¶ 12. It stated that it was searching for responsive information and that the QWR was overbroad. Id. Perceiving this to be a deficient response, on June 9, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Id. ¶ 13. Wells Fargo acknowledged the inquiry. Id. On July 1, 2015, Wells Fargo provided Plaintiffs with a copy of their promissory note (the “Note”). Id. ¶ 14. The copy of their Note contained a one-page addendum that was not included in the note they originally executed. Id. The addendum contained two different signatures: one from Wells Fargo and one from WSB. Id. The WSB signature was stamped “CANCELLED.” Id.

         On July 5, 2015, Plaintiffs sent Wells Fargo a second QWR, which Wells Fargo acknowledged it received. Id. ¶ 15. Wells Fargo responded on August 4, 2015, stating that it had already provided Plaintiffs with a copy of the Note and refusing to provide any additional information. Id.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiffs filed this suit in state court on February 4, 2016. See Dkt. No. 1. Defendants removed the action to this Court on May 17, 2016. Id. Plaintiffs' first claim seeks a declaratory judgment stating that: (1) their deed of trust (“DOT”) became void when it was transferred into the REMIC Trust after the trust's closing date elapsed, Compl. ¶ 21; and (2) in the alternative, their DOT became void under California Civil Code § 1558 because the parties to the DOT are not identifiable. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. Plaintiffs' second claim is for violation of RESPA. Plaintiffs contend that Defendants violated 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e), which governs QWRs, when they failed to timely provide a satisfactory response to Plaintiffs' two QWRs. Id. ¶¶ 26-27. Plaintiffs' third claim for violation of Regulation X, as well as their fourth claim for violation of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”), rely on the same factual basis as their RESPA claim. Id. ¶¶ 31-33. For each of these four claims, Plaintiffs also assert derivative violations of California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) for unlawful and unfair practices. Compl. ¶¶ 34-39.

         On the basis of each of their claims, Plaintiffs request that the Court enjoin Defendants from foreclosing on their property, and seek compensatory and punitive damages.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]” A defendant may move to dismiss a complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 540, 570 (2007). A claim is facially ...

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