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Faught v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 26, 2018

SASHA FAUGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.; BARRET DAFFIN FRAPIER TREDER & WEISS, LLP; and DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MORRISON C. ENGLAND JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Sasha Faught (“Plaintiff”) originally filed this action in the Sacramento County Superior Court, alleging four causes of action against Defendants Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”) and Barret Daffin Frapier Treder & Weiss, LLP (“BDFT&W”). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges negligence and violation of Cal. Civ. Code § 2924.10[1]against Wells Fargo in her first and third claims for relief, respectively, and violations of Cal. Civ. Code § 2923.6(c)[2] against both Wells Fargo and BDFT&W in her second and fourth claims for relief. Defendant Wells Fargo removed the case to this Court. Presently before the Court are Defendant Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 3, and Plaintiff's Motion to Remand, ECF No. 7.[3] For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is DENIED and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.[4]

         REQUESTS FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

         Defendant submits a Request for Judicial Notice (“RJN”) in support of its Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 4, and another RJN in support of its Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand, ECF No. 11. Many of the documents in the first RJN explain how Defendant became the successor-in-interest to World Savings Bank (“WSB”), Federal Savings Bank (“FSB”), later renamed Wachovia Mortgage (“Wachovia”) FSB, through several mergers and acquisitions. Other documents in this RJN include documents in the public record regarding Plaintiff's default on her real property known as 5659 Los Pueblos Way, Sacramento, CA 95835 (the “Subject Property”), as well as the correspondence between Plaintiff and Defendant regarding the Subject Property. A court may judicially notice documents that are referenced in the complaint and that are not questioned by the parties. See London v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2018 WL 621262 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 29, 2018). Because the correspondence between Wells Fargo and Plaintiff forms much of the substance of Plaintiff's complaint, and because Plaintiff does not oppose this RJN, the Court GRANTS Defendant's RJN in support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

         The second RJN consists of the complaint filed with the Sacramento Superior Court in the Aguilar v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. case, and a judicial order in another case, Ogamba v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. The Court may judicially notice court documents such as these. See Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); United States v. Bernal-Obeso, 989 F.2d 331, 333 (9th Cir. 1993). Because Plaintiff does not oppose this RJN, either, Defendant's RJN in support of its Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is also GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND [5]

         On August 15, 2005, Plaintiff obtained a mortgage loan with WSB, FSB. The loan succeeded to Wachovia Mortgage, FSB, and ultimately to Defendant Wells Fargo in October 2008. The loan was memorialized in a promissory note and secured by a Deed of Trust recorded against the “Subject Property”. The loan was in the amount of $393, 600.00, and the Deed of Trust was recorded on August 22, 2005.

         In 2010, Plaintiff filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and she was laid off from her job in 2011. After again obtaining gainful employment in 2013, Plaintiff claims she received a discharge in her bankruptcy in 2016. Plaintiff states she contacted Defendant Wells Fargo after receiving that discharge to request a loan modification to avoid foreclosure on her home. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Wells Fargo “invited” her to submit a loan modification application.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Wells Fargo mishandled the documents she sent in as part of her loan modification request. She claims that she repeatedly sent Wells Fargo the required documents, but Wells Fargo responded that the documents were “[n]ot yet received.” Plaintiff alleges that she ultimately sent Wells Fargo a “complete application, ” but Wells Fargo never communicated a “determination” to her on the status of her application. Wells Fargo recorded a Notice of Default on the Subject Property on February 14, 2017.

         STANDARD

         A. Motion to Remand

         When a case “of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction” is initially brought in state court, the defendant may remove it to federal court “embracing the place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). There are two bases for federal subject matter jurisdiction: (1) federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and (2) diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. A district court has federal question jurisdiction in “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” Id. § 1331. A district court has diversity jurisdiction “where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, . . . and is between citizens of different states, or citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state . . . .” Id. § 1332(a)(1)-(2).

         A defendant may remove any civil action from state court to federal district court if the district court has original jurisdiction over the matter. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “The party invoking the removal statute bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction.” Ethridge v. Harbor House Rest., 861 F.2d 1389, 1393 (9th Cir. 1988) (citing Williams v. Caterpillar Tractor Co., 786 F.2d 928, 940 (9th Cir. 1986)). Courts “strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal citations omitted). “[I]f there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance, ” the motion for remand must be granted. Id. Therefore, “[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded” to state court. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). If the district court determines that removal was improper, then the court may also award the plaintiff costs and attorney's fees accrued in response to the defendant's removal. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The court has broad discretion to award costs and fees whenever it finds that removal was wrong as a matter of law. Balcorta v. Twentieth-Century Fox Film Corp., 208 F.3d 1102, 1106 n.6 (9th Cir. 2000).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

         On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 8(a)(2) “requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not require detailed factual allegations. However, “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.” Id. (internal citations and quotations omitted). A court is not required to accept as true a “legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above ...


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