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Gonzalez v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A.

United States District Court, C.D. California

October 8, 2019

J.P. MORGAN CHASE BANK N.A. et. al., Defendants.




         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.'s (“Chase”), Federal National Mortgage Association's (“Fannie Mae”), and NDeX West LCC's (“NDeX”) Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. (ECF Nos. 64, 68.) For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motions.[1]


         On September 20, 2018 Plaintiff Felipe Gonzalez (“Gonzalez”) filed his First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) against Defendants Chase, Fannie Mae, NDeX, (“Defendants”) and Rushmore Loan Management Services (“Rushmore”) (FAC, ECF No. 60.) Gonzalez alleges that each of his thirteen cause of actions are tied to his home mortgage loan (“Loan”) and the real property located at 14229 Tiara Street, Los Angeles, California 91410 (“Property”). (FAC ¶¶ 10-13, 37-132.) Gonzalez's substantive allegations against Chase and Fannie Mae are based on events that allegedly occurred between 2007 to 2010. (FAC ¶¶ 11-29.)

         On July 20, 2007, Gonzalez purchased the Property and signed a deed of trust in the amount of $387, 750.00 with Chase. (FAC ¶ 11.) Gonzalez alleges that prior to closing, he and Chase agreed to a monthly mortgage of $2100 per month. (FAC ¶ 13.) However, after closing, Chase demanded that Gonzalez pay $3200 per month. (FAC ¶ 15.) A Chase representative explained that an error was committed, but Gonzalez was still required to pay $3200 per month for the next six months. (FAC ¶ 15.) Gonzalez and Chase continued to negotiate over the alleged error until February 2008, when Chase told Gonzalez to apply for a loan modification agreement. (FAC ¶¶ 16- 19.) Gonzalez alleges that, on February 12, 2010, he signed a loan modification agreement; nevertheless, Chase continued foreclosure proceedings and sold the Property to Fannie Mae in a foreclosure sale. (FAC ¶¶ 22-24.) Gonzalez alleges that he filed for bankruptcy to stop the Property foreclosure, and thereafter, Chase rescinded the sale of the Property. (FAC ¶¶ 25-26.)

         In 2011 and 2012, Gonzalez filed two lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court, against Chase, Fannie Mae, and NDeX. (See Chase's Mot. to Dismiss (“Chase's Mot.”) 2, ECF No. 64.) Gonzalez voluntarily dismissed his 2011 lawsuit. (Chase's Mot. 2.) But in 2012, Gonzalez alleged fourteen causes of actions in a new Complaint, with the Loan, the Property, and 2007-2010 incidents underlying each. (See Defs.' Req. for Judicial Notice (“RJN”), Ex. I Compl., Gonzalez v. J.P. Morgan Chase, N.A., No. LC097089 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012.) (“Gonzalez I Complaint”), ECF No. 65-9.) Ultimately, the Superior Court sustained Chase and Fannie Mae's demurrer to Gonzalez's 2012 Complaint without leave to amend, and the Court of Appeal affirmed. (See RJN, Ex. J Gonzalez v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. B252568 (Cal.Ct.App. Feb. 24, 2015) (“Gonzalez I Opinion”), ECF No. 65-10.)

         In the summer of 2015, Chase transferred its loan servicing duties to Rushmore and then “Rushmore [placed] a lock box on Plaintiff's home” and informed him that the lockbox would remain since “[Rushmore] had rights to the home.” (FAC ¶¶ 31- 32.) Gonzalez alleges that it was unclear who was overseeing the Loan because although Rushmore began to service the Loan in 2015, Gonzalez also “continued to be solicited for [loan] modifications from Chase.” (FAC ¶¶ 30-31.) In February 2016, Fannie Mae assigned the deed of trust to a third party. (See RJN, Ex. D Assignment of Deed of Trust (“2016 Assignment”), ECF No. 65-4; FAC ¶ 31.) Thereafter, in May 2016, Gonzalez alleges that “two women appeared at the [P]roperty, claim[ing] to represent the bank, ” and demanding entry, which Gonzalez denied (“2016 bank representative incident”). (FAC ¶ 32.) Gonzalez alleges the two individuals trespassed anyway and told Gonzalez “he could not make changes to the [P]roperty.” (FAC ¶ 33.)

         Gonzalez filed suit against Chase and Fannie Mae again in 2016, this time in the Southern District of New York. The 2016 action also related to the Loan, the Property, and the 2007-2010 incidents. (See RJN, Ex. M Gonzalez v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 16-cv-2611(JGK) (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 11, 2017) (“Gonzalez II Opinion”), ECF No. 65-13.) The court dismissed some claims with prejudice but granted leave to amend to others. (Gonzalez II Opinion, at 35.) When Gonzalez failed to amend his pleading as ordered, the court dismissed the case with prejudice and entered judgment for Chase and Fannie Mae. (RJN, Ex. N Order, Gonzalez, No. 16-cv-2611(JGK) (“Gonzalez II Judgment”), ECF No. 65-14.)

         On December 31, 2017, Gonzalez filed this suit, premised once again on the Loan, the Property, and the 2007-2010 incidents. (See Compl., ECF No. 1.)


         Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) “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). “To survive a motion to dismiss . . . under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint generally must satisfy only the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)”-a short and plain statement of the claim. Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The “complaint must contain 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) (internal quotation marks omitted). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Whether a complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679. A court is generally limited to the pleadings and must construe “[a]ll factual allegations set forth in the complaint . . . as true and . . . in the light most favorable to [the plaintiff].” Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). But a court need not blindly accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001).

         IV. ...

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