The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard W. Roberts United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Beatrice Jiggetts brings this action against the defendant, Midland Mortgage Company ("Midland"), alleging claims of trespass, conversion, and breach of contract arising out of Midland changing the locks and foreclosing on her home. Midland moves to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that its home entry was authorized because Jiggetts defaulted on her mortgage and abandoned her home, that the law of conversion applies to personal property and not real property, and that the complaint fails to allege the elements of a contract. Because conversion applies only to chattel, Midland's motion to dismiss Jiggetts's conversion claim will be granted. However, because the complaint amply states a cause of action for both trespass and breach of contract and Midland does not show it was authorized to enter Jiggetts's home, Midland's motion to dismiss Jiggetts's trespass and breach of contract claims will be denied.
Jiggetts co-owned with Charles L. Chesley a single-family home located in Washington, D.C. (Compl. ¶ 4.) For the past several years, however, Jiggetts has lived in a nursing home because she suffers from dementia. While Jiggetts was in the nursing home, Chesley was to make the monthly mortgage payments on the property, but failed to do so. (Id. ¶ 5.) Thus, Midland chose to foreclose. (Id. ¶ 6.)
Jiggetts alleges that, on approximately July 16, 2009, her conservator, Ron Dixon, came to an agreement with Midland to postpone the foreclosure sale until August 19, 2009 in order to give Dixon an opportunity to secure a buyer for the house and avoid foreclosure. (Id. ¶ 10.) Midland then scheduled a foreclosure sale for August 19, 2009. (Id. ¶ 7.) During the last week of July, Dixon found a potential buyer and asked Chesley to prepare the property for the potential buyer's visit. (Id. ¶ 11.) When Chesley arrived, he discovered that the locks on the property had been changed. (Id.) Chesley and Dixon contacted Midland, and Midland's attorney told them that the deed of trust authorized Midland's entry into the property. (Id.) Midland ultimately gave Dixon the combination to unlock the house. (Id. ¶ 12.)
Jiggetts brought suit in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia alleging that Midland's entry into the property and alteration of the locks constituted trespass and conversion (id. ¶¶ 14-19) and a breach of contract. (Id. ¶¶ 21-24.) Midland removed this action to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction and now moves to dismiss, arguing that it cannot be held liable for trespass because it had a superior possessory interest in the property, that the law of conversion applies to personal property only, and that Jiggetts has failed to state a claim for breach of contract.*fn1
"'To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, acceptable as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."'" Anderson v. Holder, 691 F. Supp. 2d 57, 61 (D.D.C. 2010) (brackets omitted) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007))). A court considering a 12(b)(6) motion takes all factual assertions within the complaint as true and gives a plaintiff "'the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged.'" Id. (quoting Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft, 333 F.3d 156, 165 (D.C. Cir. 2003)). Those inferences, however, must be supported by the facts alleged, and merely asserting legal conclusions as facts will not suffice. Id. "[A] court 'may consider only the facts alleged in the complaint, any documents either attached to or incorporated in the complaint and matters of which [a court] must take judicial notice.'" U.S. ex rel. Westrick v. Second Chance Body Armor, Inc., 685 F. Supp. 2d 129, 133 (D.D.C. 2010) (alteration in original) (quoting Trudeau v. FTC, 456 F.3d 178, 183 (D.C. Cir. 2006)). A document outside the complaint may be considered on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) if it is "referred to in the complaint and [is] integral to" the plaintiff's claim. Kaempe v. Myers, 367 F.3d 958, 965 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
Under District of Columbia law, "'[a] trespass is an unauthorized entry onto property that results in interference with the property owner's possessory interest therein.'" Sarete, Inc. v. 1344 U St. Ltd. P'ship, 871 A.2d 480, 490 (D.C. 2005) (quoting Richard R. Powell, Powell on Real Property § 64A.02 at 64A-16 (Michael A. Wolf ed., 2000)). Jiggetts contends that Midland trespassed on her property when it entered her property and changed the locks. Midland does not dispute that it entered the property and changed the locks. Its sole argument against Jiggetts's trespass claim is that its entry was lawful because Jiggetts abandoned the property. (Def.'s Mem. at 3-4.)
Midland's argument is misguided, however. In the District of Columbia, abandonment is defined as an anticipatory breach wherein a tenant "'leaves the premises vacant with the avowed intention not to be bound by [the] lease.'" Jones v. Cain, 804 A.2d 322, 331 (D.C. 2001) (quoting Simpson v. Lee, 499 A.2d 889, 894 (D.C. 1985)). The complaint does not allege or concede facts reflecting that Jiggetts intended to abandon her property. Instead, the complaint reflects that Jiggetts had every intention of maintaining the monthly mortgage payments. (See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 5 ("While [Jiggetts was] in the nursing home, Chesley was supposed to be making the monthly mortgage payments on the subject property.").) Moreover, while Midland claimed that the deed of trust authorized Midland to enter the property upon default (see id. ¶ 11), Midland has not presented any copy of the deed of trust mentioned in the complaint or any other agreement granting it the right to enter the property upon Jiggetts's failure to make the mortgage payments. Because Jiggetts has pled that Midland entered her property without consent and changed the locks, preventing entry by the owners, and Midland has failed to show it was otherwise authorized to take that action, Midland's motion to dismiss Jiggetts's trespass claim will be denied.
Under District of Columbia law, conversion is defined as the "'intentional exercise of dominion or control over a chattel which so seriously interferes with the right of another to control it that the actor may justly be required to pay the other the full value of the chattel.'" Edmonds v. United States, 563 F. Supp. 2d 196, 202 (D.D.C. 2008) (quoting Fed. Fire Protection Corp. v. J.A. Jones/Tompkins Builders, Inc., 267 F. Supp. 2d 87, 92 n.3 (D.D.C. 2003)). A chattel is defined as "'[m]ovable or transferable property; personal property;... [or] a physical object... not the subject matter of real property.'" Doe ex rel. Doe v. Fed. Express Corp., 571 F. Supp. 2d 330, 333 (D. Conn. 2008) (quoting Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004)) (first alteration in original). Jiggetts argues that the defendant "converted [her] leasehold interest, in the subject property, to [its] own interest" by entering the property and changing the locks. (Pl.'s Opp'n at 3.) However, the leasehold interest in her home is ...