United States District Court, D. Columbia.
HAROLD J. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
HAROLD J. TAYLOR, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.
For WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., WELLS FARGO ASSET SECURITIES CORP., HSBC BANK USA, N.A., Defendants: Mary Catherine Zinsner, Syed M. Reza, TROUTMAN SANDERS LLP, Tysons Corner, VA.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Harold J. Taylor filed suit against Defendants Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Wells Fargo Asset Securities Corporation, and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (collectively, " Defendants" ), asserting ten causes of action relating to Plaintiff's December 18, 2006, mortgage transaction with Wells Fargo. Specifically, Plaintiff claims: (1) Lack of Standing to Foreclose; (2) Fraud in the Concealment; (3) Fraud in the Inducement; (4) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; (5) Slander of Title; (6) Quiet Title; (7) Declaratory Relief; (8) Violation of the Truth in Lending Act (" TILA" ), 15 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq.; (9) Violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (" RESPA" ), 12 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq.; and (10) Rescission. Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Upon consideration of the pleadings, the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court finds that Counts I through IV of Plaintiff's Complaint and Count VI fail to state a claim and that Counts VIII through X are barred by their relevant statute of limitations. The Court dismisses Counts V and VII as conceded. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
A. Factual Background
At the outset, the Court notes that Plaintiff's lengthy Complaint is far from a model of clarity and has made it extremely difficult for the Court to ascertain the factual background at issue in this case. Moreover, Defendants made no effort to elucidate the facts relating to Plaintiff's mortgage in their Motion to Dismiss. Nevertheless, the Court has been able to decipher the following facts from Plaintiff's Complaint and, for the purposes of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the Court shall presume these facts to be true, as required when considering a motion to dismiss. See Atherton v. D.C. Office of Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681, 386 U.S.App.D.C. 144 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
On December 18, 2006, Plaintiff entered a mortgage transaction with Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (" Wells Fargo" ) evidenced by a promissory note (the " Note" ) in the principal amount of $300,000 and secured by the Deed of Trust placing a lien on 3309 7th Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. Compl. ¶ ¶ 25, 29; see also Defs.' Ex. A (Note), ECF No. [7-1]; Defs.' Ex. B (Deed of Trust), ECF No. [7-2]. Apparently based on the findings of a " Securitization Audit Extended Pro" report prepared for Plaintiff and attached to Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that " the [N]ote and [D]eed of [T]rust at issue in this case were sold, transferred and securitized by Defendants, with other loans and mortgages." Compl. ¶ 26. Plaintiff appears to allege that Defendant Wells Fargo sought to transfer the Note and Deed of Trust to " HSBC Bank USA, N.A., acting as the Trustee for the Wells Fargo Mortgage-Backed Securities 2007-2 Trust holding Plaintiff's [N]ote." Id. ¶ ¶ 26, 40, 44.
However, Plaintiff alleges that the Note and Deed of Trust were " not properly assigned and transferred to Defendants."
Id. ¶ 30. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the Note and Deed of Trust were not properly assigned and transferred because " neither the Note nor the Deed of Trust was assigned to the Securitized Trust by the closing date" as required by the Pooling and Serving Agreement (" PSA" ). Id. ¶ ¶ 31, 39. Plaintiff makes the further broad allegation that " even if the Deed of Trust has been transferred into the Trust by the closing date, the transaction is still void as the Note would not have been transferred according to the requirements of the PSA, since the PSA requires a complete and unbroken chain of transfers and assignments to and from each intervening party." Id. ¶ 32.
As a result, Plaintiff alleges, " [t]he alleged holder of the Note is not the beneficiary of the Deed of Trust" and, thus, " the alleged beneficiary of Plaintiff's Deed of Trust does not have the requisite title, perfected security interest or standing to proceed in a foreclosure; and/or is not the real party in interest with regard to any action taken or to be taken against the Property." Id. ¶ 37; see also id. ¶ 39 (" to have a valid and enforceable secured claim against Plaintiff's home . . . [t]he Trustee of the Securitized Trust [must have] actual physical possession of the Note . . . ." ). Plaintiff further alleges that " the splitting or separation of title, ownership and interest in Plaintiff's Note and Deed of Trust of which the original lender is the holder, owner and beneficiary of Plaintiff's Deed of Trust" " renders invalid any security interest in the Plaintiff's mortgage." Id. ¶ 44.
Importantly, Plaintiff makes no allegation in his Complaint that he has repaid the monies borrowed in 2006. Nor has he alleged that he is in default on his loan obligations. Plaintiff also does not include any factual background in his Complaint about any foreclosure proceedings and thus it is not clear from the Complaint whether Defendants are actually foreclosing on Plaintiff's property. See id. ¶ 55 (" Defendants' . . . attempted foreclosure of this loan . . ." ); ¶ 77 (stating within Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim that " Defendants' conduct--fraudulently attempting to foreclose or claiming the right to foreclose on a property in which they have no right, title, or interest--is so outrageous and extreme . . ." ); ¶ 80 (same); but see id. ¶ 67 (stating within Plaintiff's fraud in the inducement claim that " Defendants are fraudulently foreclosing on the Property" (emphasis added)).
In addition to claims related to the securitization of Plaintiff's mortgage, Plaintiff also alleges that " [t]he terms of the finance transaction with Wells Fargo are not clear or conspicuous, nor consistent, and are illegal which violates several statutes and is [sic] in essence creates a fraudulent and unenforceable loan." Id. ¶ 46. Plaintiff also alleges that " Wells Fargo illegally, deceptively and/or otherwise unjustly, qualified Plaintiff for a loan which Wells Fargo knew or should have known that Plaintiff could not qualify for or afford . . . ." Id. ¶ 47.
B. Procedural Background
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on February 24, 2014. See Notice of Removal, ECF No. , at 1. Plaintiff's Complaint asserted ten causes of action: (1) Lack of Standing to Foreclose; (2) Fraud in the Concealment; (3) Fraud in the Inducement; (4) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; (5) Slander of Title; (6) Quiet Title; (7) Declaratory Relief; (8) Violation of the Truth in Lending Act (" TILA" ), 15 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq.; (9) Violation of the Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act (" RESPA" ), 12 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq.; and (10) Rescission.
On April 15, 2014, Defendants removed the case to the federal district court based on diversity jurisdiction and federal question jurisdiction arising out of Plaintiff's TILA and RESPA claims. Id.; Amended Notice of Removal, ECF No. , at 3-7. Defendants subsequently filed the present Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. As Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court issued a Fox Order informing Plaintiff that Defendants had filed a Motion to Dismiss and advising Plaintiff that failure to respond to the motion to dismiss " may result in the district court granting the motion and dismissing the case." Order (April 22, 2014), ECF No. . Plaintiff responded to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss stating that he " agree[d] with the dismissal of the complaint in its entirety, with prejudice if Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. agrees to a loan modification." Pl.'s Opp'n at 1. The only argument Plaintiff made in response to Defendants' legal arguments for dismissal was that he
has provided sufficient evidence and has stated a claim based on the facts in the Securitization Audit report that meets the 'plausible test' which shows that the chain of title was broken and the loan was in fact securitized.
Id. Defendants did not file a reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss.
As the Court never received a reply from Defendants, on February 18, 2015, the Court ordered the parties " to advise the Court as to whether there ha[d] been any intervening factual changes since Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss and/or whether there [was] any new case law that the parties want[ed] to bring to the Court's attention." Order (Feb. 18, 2015), ECF No. . Defendants' counsel responded indicating that they had " sent Plaintiff a Request for Mortgage Assistance form so Plaintiff could be evaluated for loss mitigation, including the possibility of a loan modification," however, Plaintiff never provided counsel with all of the necessary documents to complete the loan modification. Defs.' Resp. at 1. Plaintiff responded to the Court's order indicating that he had " sent the required documentation for review," but " [a]t this time, Wells Fargo Bank N.A. has not approved the loan modification for the Plaintiff." Pl.'s Resp. at 1. As ...