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Henok v. Chase Home Finance, LLC

United States District Court, District of Columbia

January 16, 2013

Araya HENOK, Plaintiff,
v.
CHASE HOME FINANCE, LLC, et al., Defendants.

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Araya Henok, Washington, DC, pro se.

Jeffrey L. Tarkenton, Paul A. Kaplan, Todd D. Ross, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Washington, DC, Gregory Nelson Britto, Shapiro & Burson, LLP, Fairfax, VA, Matthew Cohen, Beiramee & Cohen PC, McLean, VA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RICHARD W. ROBERTS, District Judge.

Pro se plaintiff Araya Henok brings this action against Chase Home Finance, LLC (" Chase" ), Shapiro & Burson, LLP (" Shapiro" ), and Fannie Mae [1], challenging the legality of the foreclosure on a property he owned on 16th Street N.E. in Washington, D.C. (" the property" ). After the defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings

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arguing that Henok's complaint failed to satisfy the pleading requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and failed to state a claim for relief under Rule 12, Henok moved for leave to amend the complaint. Because the claims against Chase of breach of contract and violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (" RESPA" ), 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e), in the amended complaint are adequately pled, the motion for leave to amend the complaint will be granted as to those claims, but denied for futility as to the remaining claims. Because Henok's motion for leave to amend will be granted in part and denied in part, the defendants' motions for judgment on the pleadings will be denied as moot.

BACKGROUND

Henok purchased the property in 2006 with financing from Chase. Pl.'s Mot. for Leave to Amend, Attachment (" Am. Compl." ) ¶ 6, Ex. 7. In August of 2009, Chase returned his monthly payment and " stated that [his] property [was] going into foreclosure." Id. ¶ 8. That month, Henok asked Chase by phone and in writing how much to pay to bring his account current, and notified Chase in writing of his new mailing address. Id. ¶¶ 9-10, Ex. 1. Chase referred Henok to Shapiro for the cure figures, and Henok mailed Chase and Shapiro several more requests with each noting his current mailing address. Id. ¶¶ 11-14, Exs. 2-4. Henok received no replies to his letters. Id. ¶¶ 10-14.

Chase appointed John Burson and Gregory Britto as substitute foreclosure trustees under the deed of trust that secured Henok's mortgage. Id., Ex. 6. Shapiro filed with the Recorder of Deeds an October 15, 2009 notice of foreclosure sale, but did not send Henok's copy to the address Henok provided. Id., Counts 1, 15, 19, Ex. 5.[2] Fannie Mae bought the property in a foreclosure sale on November 18, 2009. Id. ¶ 15, Exs. 5-6. Britto filed with the Recorder of Deeds the trustees' deed of sale in March 2010. It represented that the notice of foreclosure sale had been mailed to Henok at his current address. Id., Ex. 6.

Henok filed a complaint in D.C. Superior Court challenging the foreclosure in February 2012. Henok's complaint asserts against Chase and Shapiro claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and a constitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment's takings clause. Compl., Counts 1-5, 7-10, 12-14. Henok's complaint also asserts that the trustees' deed was issued late and failed to satisfy the formal requisites of an instrument, and that the notice of foreclosure had expired at the time of the foreclosure. Id., Counts 6, 11, 15.

The defendants removed the case to federal court and answered the complaint. Chase and Fannie Mae moved for judgment on the pleadings arguing that Henok's complaint does not satisfy the pleading requirements of Rule 8 and that Henok's breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and Fifth Amendment claims do not state a claim for relief under Rule 12.[3] Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for J. on the Pleadings by Chase and Fannie Mae at 5-13. Additionally, the motion argued that Henok's other claims concerning the trustees' deed and the expiration of the notice of foreclosure were without merit.

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Id. at 13-14. Shapiro also moved for judgment on the pleadings adopting and incorporating the memorandum of law from Chase and Fannie Mae's motion. Shapiro's Mot. for J. on the Pleadings at 1.

Henok then moved for leave to amend his complaint. Read broadly, Henok's amended complaint adds common law claims of negligence and negligent misrepresentation, Am. Compl. at 19, Counts 2, 14, 19, and adds statutory claims of wrongful foreclosure under D.C.Code § 42-815.01 and failure to respond under 12 U.S.C. § 2605, id., Counts 1, 3, 9, 25. In addition, the amended complaint eliminates the Fifth Amendment claim. Shapiro opposes Henok's motion, arguing in part that allowing Henok's amended ...


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