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James R. v. Navy Federal Credit

November 23, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge


Plaintiff James R. Haynes ("Haynes") brings this action pro se against Defendant Navy Federal Credit Union ("NFCU"), asserting a variety of claims arising out of a home mortgage loan extended to him by NFCU. Currently before the Court is NFCU's [13] Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint ("Motion to Dismiss"). Upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the relevant authorities, and the record as a whole, the motion shall be GRANTED-IN-PART and DENIED-IN-PART.*fn1


A. Factual Background

Haynes resides at 5601 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011. See Compl., ECF No. [1], at 1. On or about May 16, 2003, Haynes obtained a home mortgage loan from NFCU, secured against his residence. See Am. Compl., ECF No. [12], at 1. Haynes and NFCU entered into two written agreements relating to the home mortgage loan, a Promissory Note and a Deed of Trust. See Promissory Note, ECF No. [13-1]; Deed of Trust, ECF No. [13-2].*fn2

Under the parties' agreements, Haynes was required to make monthly payments to NFCU in the amount of $3,930.24. See Promissory Note § 3.B. In the event Haynes submitted a payment that was "insufficient to bring the Loan current," then NFCU had the option of either "return[ing] the payment" or "accept[ing] the payment." Deed of Trust § 1. If NFCU opted for the latter course, then it was "not obligated to apply such payments" immediately upon acceptance. Id. Rather, NFCU could "hold such unapplied funds until [Haynes] ma[de] payment to bring the Loan current." Id. In the event Haynes did not bring the loan current "within a reasonable period of time," NFCU was then required to "either apply such [unapplied] funds or return them to [Haynes]." Id.

Haynes alleges that, even though he has "continuously made monthly payments," NFCU has "refused, in some cases, to process these payments according to the terms of the contract." Am. Compl. at 1; see also Compl. at 2 ("[P]laintiff has paid all obligations under the promissory note and deed of trust."); Pl.'s Opp'n at 2 ("[P]laintiff has continuously made payments to the defendant and these payments were misplaced, lost, or misapplied."). He claims that NFCU has improperly either "return[ed] payments" to him or "shift[ed] payments into a 'suspense account.'" Am. Compl. at 1.

Haynes further alleges that, on or about March 1, 2011, NFCU falsely reported to credit reporting agencies that he was $36,552 behind on his payments and 61-90 days past due. Id. at 2. On April 1, 2011, Haynes notified three national credit reporting agencies that he disputed NFCU's information. Id. Shortly thereafter, the three agencies notified NFCU of the dispute.

Id. On April 14, 2011, NFCU reported that its prior information was accurate and that Haynes was still $13,818 behind on his payments and 61-90 days past due. Id.

B. Procedural Background

Haynes commenced this action on March 24, 2011. See Compl. NFCU subsequently appeared and moved to dismiss the original Complaint. See Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. [2]. On May 6, 2011, Haynes filed an opposition. See Pl.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Compl., ECF No. [6]. On May 17, 2011, in light of certain representations made by Haynes in his opposition, the Court directed Haynes to file a notice with the Court indicating whether he intended to amend his Complaint to add further claims or factual allegations. See Order (May 17, 2011), ECF No. [9]. When Haynes responded by stating that he intended to amend the Complaint to add an additional cause of action for breach of contract and to "flesh out more fully the previously filed tort allegations," Court Ordered Notice, ECF No. [10], at 1, the Court granted Haynes leave to file an amended complaint and denied NFCU's original motion to dismiss without prejudice to renew after tailoring it to speak to the claims and allegations raised in Haynes' amended pleading, Order (May 31, 2011), ECF No. [11], at 2.

Haynes filed his Amended Complaint on June 17, 2011. On July 5, 2011, NFCU filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. On July 22, 2011, Haynes filed his opposition. On August 1, 2011, NFCU filed its reply. Accordingly, the motion is now fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.


Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," FED. R. CIV. P. (8)(a), "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)). Rule 12(b)(6) provides a vehicle for parties to challenge the sufficiency of a complaint on the ground that it "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). When presented with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the district court must accept as true the well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the complaint. Atherton v. D.C. Office of Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009), cert. denied, __ U.S. __, 130 S. Ct. 2064 (2010). Although "detailed factual allegations" are not necessary to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, to provide the "grounds" of "entitle[ment] to relief," a plaintiff must furnish "more than labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Rather, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted as true, "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. The plaintiff must provide more than just "a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 1950. When a complaint's well-pleaded facts do not enable a court, "draw[ing] on its judicial experience and common sense," "to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct," the complaint has not shown that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id.

While "[a]ll pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice," FED. R. CIV. P. 8(f), a document filed by a party proceeding pro se must be "liberally construed," Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks omitted). For example, where a pro se party has filed multiple submissions, the district court must generally consider those filings together and as a whole. Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548 (D.C. Cir. 1999); see also Sieverding v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 693 F. Supp. 2d 93, 101 n.2 (D.D.C. 2010) (considering factual allegations in pro se plaintiff's prior pleadings even though they had technically been superceded by filing of amended complaint). Moreover, "a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (internal quotation marks omitted). Nonetheless, "[a] pro se complaint, like any other, must present a claim upon which relief can be granted." Crisafi v. Holland, 655 F.2d 1305, 1308 (D.C. Cir. 1981). Even with the liberality afforded pro se complaints, the district court "need not accept inferences unsupported by the facts alleged in the complaint or legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations." Kaemmerling v. Lappin, 553 F.3d 669, 667 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).*fn3


In its [13] Motion to Dismiss, NFCU seeks the dismissal of all six claims asserted by Haynes in his [12] Amended Complaint. The ...

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