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Jason Williams v. Bank of America

August 10, 2012

JASON WILLIAMS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS SUCCESSOR TO COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC., A
DELAWARE CORPORATION; MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEM, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION; RECONTRUST COMPANY, N.A., A CORPORATE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN AND A WHOLLY-OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF BANK OF AMERICA,N.A.; BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON FKA
THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATE HOLDERS OF CWABS, AND INC., ASSET BACKED CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-6; A CORPORATION; AND DOES 1-10 AS INDIVIDUALS OR ENTITIES WITH AN INTEREST IN THE RE: PROPERTY COMMONLY KNOWN AS: 3651 N. DIXON AVE., MERIDIAN, IDAHO 83646,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald E. Bush U. S. Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE (Docket No. 6) DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF REPLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISMISS (Docket No. 16) REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Docket No. 5)

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT AND EXTEND THE SCHEDULING ORDER DEADLINE (Docket No. 19)

Now pending before the Court are Defendants' (1) Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 5), (2) related Motion for Judicial Notice (Docket No. 6), and (3) Motion for Judicial Notice in Support of Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 16). Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint and Extend the Scheduling Deadline (Docket No. 19). Having carefully reviewed the record, participated in oral argument, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court hereby enters a Memorandum Decision and Order as to Defendants' Motion for Judicial Notice (Docket No. 6) and Defendants' Motion for Judicial Notice in Support of Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 16); the Court also hereby enters a Report and Recommendation as to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 5) and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint and Extend the Scheduling Order Deadline (Docket No. 19).

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that, on or around May 13, 2005, he financed the purchase of real property located at 3651 N. Dixon Avenue, Meridian, Idaho, 83646 (the "Property") with a $247,700.00 loan originated by Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. ("Countrywide"), memorialized in a promissory note (the "Note") and secured by a Deed of Trust. See Pl.'s Compl., ¶¶ 1, 9-11 at pp. 2-3 (Docket No. 1).*fn1 The Deed of Trust names Countrywide as the lender (later acquired by Bank of America ("BOFA"), according to Plaintiff (see id. at ¶¶ 9 & 12 at p. 3)), Fidelity National Title Insurance Company ("Fidelity") as the trustee, and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") as the nominee of the beneficiary. See Ex. B to Dina Aff. (Docket No. 6, Att. 2).

After defaulting on his mortgage payments, Plaintiff received a Notice of Default on or around March 2, 2011. See Pl.'s Compl., ¶ 13 at p. 3; see also Ex. A to Compl. (Docket No. 1, Att. 1). As of the date of the Notice of Default, Plaintiff had not made any payments since September 1, 2008 and was $64,178.73 in arrears. See Ex. A to Compl. (Docket No. 1, Att. 1).

Also on or around March 2, 2011, the beneficial interest in the Note and Deed of Trust was assigned from MERS to The Bank of New York Mellon, FKA The Bank of New York, as Trustee for the Certificate Holders of CWABS, Inc., Asset Backed Certificates, Series 2005-6 ("BONY Mellon"). See Pl.'s Compl., ¶ 23 at p. 5 (Docket No. 1); see also Ex. C to Compl. (Docket No. 1, Att. 3). On that date, BONY Mellon then appointed ReconTrust Company, N.A. ("ReconTrust") as successor trustee in place of Fidelity. See Pl.'s Compl., ¶ 25 at p. 5 (Docket No. 1); see also Ex. D to Compl. (Docket No. 1, Att. 4).

On July 5, 2011, Plaintiff initiated the instant action, bringing a single claim to quiet title to the property, requesting that the Court (1) require certain Defendants to produce the original Note in Court; (2) determine the Defendants' interest in the Property; and (3) award Plaintiff his costs and attorneys' fees. See Pl.'s Compl., ¶¶ 1-4 at p. 9 (Docket No. 1). Generally, Plaintiff contends that Defendants lacked the authority to foreclose on the Property, owing to alleged failures within the process by which the debt was securitized. Defendants now move to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6). Part and parcel with his opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff also seeks leave to amend his Complaint.

II. REPORT

A. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 5)

Though at times difficult to clearly discern*fn2 (in his Complaint, opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, and during oral argument), Plaintiff seems to argue that the securitization of his mortgage clouded title to the Property. More particularly, Plaintiff alleges that (1) MERS did not have any valid interest in the Deed of Trust and, thus, without any authority to assign its interest, (2) BONY Mellon did not have the authority to appoint ReconTrust as successor trustee or to carry out a non-judicial foreclosure sale. See Pl.'s Compl. ¶¶ 19-26 at p. 5 (Docket No. 1). Plaintiff also points to other alleged irregularities that he believes "cast serious doubt on the legitimacy and legal effectiveness of the pre-foreclosure documents." See id. at ¶ 39 at p. 8 (referring to Pl.'s Compl., ¶¶ 31-38 at pp. 6-8). Plaintiff filed this action "to determine the interests of BONY Mellon, BOFA, MERS, and ReconTrust." See id. at ¶ 40 at p. 8. Plaintiff also requests that Defendants be required to produce the original Note. See id. at ¶ 27 at p. 6, ¶ 1 at p. 9.

1. Legal Standard for Motions to Dismiss

FRCP 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While a complaint attacked by an FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss "does not need detailed factual allegations," it must set forth "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555. To survive a 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." Id. 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. Id. at 556. 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. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief.'" Id. at 557.

In a more recent case, the Supreme Court identified two "working principles" that underlie the decision in Twombly. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. See id. "Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Id. at 678-79. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id. at 679. "Determining whether a ...


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