United States District Court, District of Columbia
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For JOEL ROBINSON, Plaintiff: Craig A. Butler, LEAD ATTORNEY, BUTLER LAW GROUP, PLLC, Washington, DC.
For DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, As Trustee under Novastar Mortgage Funding Trust Series 2006-4, Defendant: Christopher M. Corchiarino, LEAD ATTORNEY, GOODELL, DEVRIES, LEECH & DANN, LLP, Baltimore, MD; Thomas R. Lynch, LEAD ATTORNEY, BRADLEY ARANT BOULT CUMMINGS LLP, Washington, DC.
For SAXON MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC., Defendant: Thomas R. Lynch, LEAD ATTORNEY, BRADLEY ARANT BOULT CUMMINGS LLP, Washington, DC.
For EDWARD S. COHN, STEPHEN N. GOLDBERG, RICHARD E. SOLOMON, RICHARD J. ROGERS, RONALD S. DEUTSCH, COHN, GOLDBERG & DEUTSCH, LLC, Defendants: Bizhan Beiramee, LEAD ATTORNEY, BEIRAMEE LAW GROUP, P.C., Bethesda, MD.
AMY BERMAN JACKSON, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Joel Robinson has filed this complaint challenging the foreclosure sale of his home. He sued defendants Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (" Deutsche Bank" ); Chase Bank; Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. (" Saxon" ); the trustees designated in the deed of trust to his property; and Cohn, Goldberg & Deutsch, LLC, the company that represented the mortgagee and servicing agency. He asserts eleven causes of action under District of Columbia and federal law arising out of his unsuccessful attempts to obtain a loan modification on his mortgage and the eventual foreclosure sale of his home. Defendants Deutsche Bank and Saxon have moved to dismiss the claims against them under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Because Robinson fails to state a claim in the counts against these two defendants, the Court will grant their motions and dismiss them from the action.
The complaint contains very little factual information, but what can be gleaned about the relevant events is as follows. Robinson is the former owner of a residence located at 1817 L Street, N.E., in the District of Columbia. Compl. [Dkt. # 1-1] ¶ 2. He purchased the property in 1999, id. ¶ 14, and refinanced it in 2006, id. ¶ 15. After his refinancing, the deed of trust on his property was recorded in the District's Land Records, and the lender listed on that deed was Novastar Mortgage, Inc. Id. ¶ 15. Robinson's monthly payment after the refinancing was $1,300.16. Id. ¶ 20.
In or around January 2007, Robinson began to encounter a financial hardship that caused a " dramatic decrease in his monthly income." Id. ¶ 17. Between January 2007 through 2008, he requested a loan modification from Saxon, the servicer of his mortgage loan, based on the change in his financial situation. Id. Robinson alleges that during that time period, Chase Bank was the lender for his property. Id. ¶ 18. Saxon requested an explanation of Robinson's financial situation, and also asked for certain financial information to support Robinson's request for a loan modification. Id. ¶ 19. Robinson provided the requested information to Saxon. Id. Robinson asserts that " [i]nstead of offering the Plaintiff a modification [on] his mortgage that lowered his payment and re-amortized the arrears, Saxon and Chase offered him a series of repayment plans that required substantial down payments and monthly payments that well exceeded his original monthly payment." Id. ¶ 21. Robinson further contends that " it was impossible for Plaintiff [to] meet the terms of the repayment plan despite his diligent efforts." Id. ¶ 22.
According to the complaint, at an unspecified date between 2008 and June 2009, Deutsche Bank allegedly purchased the deed of trust on Robinson's home from Novastar Mortgage Funding Corporation through a pooling and service agreement
(" PSA" ). Id. ¶ ¶ 8-13, 29, 31.  On June 19, 2009, a notice of foreclosure sale was recorded and sent to Robinson. Id. ¶ 29. This notice named Deutsche Bank as the note holder. Id. A foreclosure sale on Robinson's property occurred on July 20, 2009. Id. Robinson states that Deutsche Bank filed a complaint for possession in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Civil Division, Landlord Tenant Branch, but he does not specify when this complaint was filed. Id. ¶ 45.
Robinson filed this suit against defendants on February 10, 2012 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Compl. at 1. The complaint asserts eleven causes of action:
o Count I: Violation of D.C. Code § 28-3904 against Saxon, Chase Bank, and Deutsche Bank
o Count II: Violation of D.C. Code § 42-815 against Deutsche Bank, trustees, and Cohn, Goldberg & Deutsch, LLC (" CGD" )
o Count III: Violation of D.C. Code § 47-1431 against Chase Bank, Deutsche Bank, trustees, and CGD
o Count IV: Violation of D.C. Code § 28-3904 against Deutsche Bank, trustees, and CGD
o Count V: Breach of contract against all defendants
o Count VI: Tortious interference with a contract against all defendants
o Count VII: Breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing against all defendants
o Count VIII: Breach of fiduciary duty against trustees and CGD
o Count IX: Violation of 12 U.S.C. § 2605 against Saxon, Chase Bank, and Deutsche Bank
o Count X: Declaratory relief/quiet title against all defendants
o Count XI: Equitable estoppel
Id. ¶ ¶ 16-83. Robinson asks the Court to divest title and invalidate the 2009 foreclosure sale, to have Robinson declared " as sole owner," to have the deed of trust lien declared " null and void," and for statutory, general, actual, and punitive damages. Compl. Prayer for Relief ¶ ¶ A-J.
On May 7, 2012, defendants Saxon and Deutsche Bank removed the case to this Court based on federal question and diversity jurisdiction. Notice of Removal [Dkt. #1] at 2. Deutsche Bank and Saxon have also moved to dismiss the counts against them for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Deutsche Bank Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 11] at 1; Saxon Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. #12] at 1. Robinson opposes their motions. Pl.'s Opp. to Deutsche Bank Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 14] (" Pl.'s Opp. to Deutsche Mot." ); Pl.'s Opp. to Saxon Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 17] (" Pl.'s Opp. to Saxon Mot." ). Because the counts asserted against Deutsche Bank and Saxon fail to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court will grant their motions to dismiss.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
" To survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, a 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); accord
Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). In Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated the two principles underlying its decision in Twombly : " First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." 556 U.S. at 678. And " [s]econd, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Id. at 679.
A claim is facially plausible when the pleaded factual content " allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678. " The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. A pleading must offer more than " labels and conclusions" or a " formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action," id., quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and " [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.
When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint is construed liberally in plaintiff's favor, and the Court should grant plaintiff " the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276, 305 U.S. App. D.C. 60 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, the Court need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if those inferences are unsupported by facts alleged in the complaint, nor must the Court accept plaintiff's legal conclusions.
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242, 352 U.S. App. D.C. 4 (D.C. Cir. 2002). In ruling upon a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a court may ordinarily consider only " the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint, and matters about which the Court may take judicial notice." Gu ...