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Igarashi v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 17, 2019

CLYDE IGARASHI, MICHELLE IGARASHI, and others similarly situated named herein as DOES 10 through 1000, inclusive Plaintiffs,


         Presently before the Court are Defendant CIT Bank, N.A.'s (“CIT”)[1] and Defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee for Harborview Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-14's (“Deutsche Bank”) Motions to Dismiss, ECF Nos. 18 and 29.[2] For the reasons discussed below, the motions are GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Complaint

         Plaintiffs' 59-page Complaint offers few relevant facts. As discussed more fully below, the Complaint does not provide a “short and plain statement of the claim, ” and does not identify the allegations in a “concise” and “direct” manner. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. Tediously lengthy and containing drawn-out sections asserting argumentative conclusions about Defendants, the Complaint does not expressly and clearly identify the factual conduct that forms the basis for the claims. Nor does the Complaint clearly identify the claims Plaintiffs assert, or even which Defendants' conduct gives rise to the claims. Further, most of the Complaint is irrelevant. See, e.g., Pls.' Compl., ECF No. 1 (“Complaint”) ¶¶ 62-71.

         Putting aside the irrelevant allegations, it appears that in 2006 Plaintiffs received a mortgage from IndyMac Bank to purchase their home. Id. ¶ 131. In 2013, Ocwen began servicing the loan Id. ¶ 134. At some point, Plaintiffs fell behind on their mortgage payments, but in April 2015, Plaintiffs paid Ocwen $43, 980 to bring their mortgage payments up to date. Id. ¶ 137. In June 2015, Deutsche Bank brought a foreclosure action against Plaintiffs, but dropped the foreclosure action a few months later. Id. ¶ 143. Then in April 2017, Deutsche Bank filed another foreclosure action against Plaintiffs, which is currently pending in state court. Id. ¶ 144.

         The Complaint appears to allege that Defendants engaged in a series of fraudulent or illegal transfers of the mortgage, and that Deutsche Bank is not legally entitled to foreclose on Plaintiffs' home. Id. The Complaint asserts that various Defendants “file[d] false documents, ” id. ¶ 147, failed to notify the Plaintiffs in writing that their loan was sold or transferred, id. ¶¶ 177, 182, 194, failed to deal with Plaintiffs in good faith, id. ¶ 183, failed to properly account for mortgage payments made by Plaintiffs, id. ¶¶ 146-147, and made false statements in a certain Prospectus that violated securities laws, id. ¶ 213.

         The Complaint asserts ten causes of action: Count 1 asserts negligence; Count 2 asserts fraud; Count 3 alleges a claim for “Cancellation of a Voidable Contract under Rev & Tax Code §§ 23304.1, 23305A and Violation of Hawaii Code Title 23 Corporation and Partnerships 414 Hawaii Business Corporation Act.”; Count 4 seeks an order cancelling the allegedly invalid assignment of the deed of trust; Count 5 asserts wrongful foreclosure, which includes a claim under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures ACT (“RESPA”) for failing to notify Plaintiffs of a transfer of the servicing rights of Plaintiffs' mortgage; Count 6 alleges breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; Count 7 asserts unjust enrichment; Count 8 asserts claims under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), the Hawai‘i Debt Collection Practices Act, the Hawai‘i Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices Act, and the Hawai‘i Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act; Count 9 seeks quiet title to Plaintiffs' home; Count 10 alleges “Negligent Representation” under 33 U.S.C. § 931, and for a violation of the Securities Act of 1933. Id. at 41-57. Several of the causes of action allege more than one ground for relief. See, e.g., id. ¶¶ 189-201 (eighth cause of action asserts both Hawai‘i statutory violations as well as a violation of TILA). It is unclear which causes of action Plaintiffs assert against which Defendants, because the Complaint attributes many of the factual allegations to all Defendants generally. For example, although Plaintiffs assert their Tenth Cause of Action against only “Foreclosing Defendant Ha[r]borview Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-14, ” id. at 55, that count alleges behavior committed by the “Foreclosing Defendants” and IndyMac. See Id. ¶¶ 207-208.

         Plaintiffs' Complaint also vaguely raises numerous claims without any specific allegations. The Complaint asserts that the action “is brought to redress statutory violations” under numerous federal statutes, including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Mail and Wire Fraud statutes, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act, and the Fair Credit Billing Act. Id. at 2. But Plaintiffs do not mention these statutes anywhere else in the Complaint and do not assert them within their ten specified causes of action. At the hearing, Plaintiffs conceded that their only federal claims are pursuant to RESPA, TILA, the Securities Act of 1933, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”).

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiffs brought this action on February 14, 2019. Defendant CIT Bank filed its motion to dismiss on March 13, 2019, arguing that the Complaint fails to meet the minimum pleading standards and that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. ECF No. 18. The remaining Defendants filed a joint motion to dismiss on March 27, 2019, also arguing that the Complaint fails to meet the minimum pleading standards and that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. ECF No. 29. Plaintiffs filed their opposition to both motions on May 24, 2019. ECF Nos. 41, 42. Defendants filed replies on May 31, 2019. ECF Nos. 45, 46.


         A. Rule 12(b)(6)

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint that fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “On a motion to dismiss, the court accepts the facts alleged in the complaint as true.” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988)). But conclusory allegations of law, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); Nat'l Ass'n for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis v. Cal. Bd. of Psychology, 228 F.3d 1043, 1049 (9th Cir. 2000).


         A. Compliance with Pleading Requirements

         Both motions to dismiss assert that the Complaint fails to comply with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, by failing to sufficiently identify the claims asserted, failing to sufficiently identify which Defendants each claim is asserted against, and failing to provide adequate notice of the factual allegations giving rise to each claim. ECF No. 18 at 14-15; ECF No. 29 at 6. The Court agrees.

         Pursuant to Rule 8, complaints must include a “short and plain statement of the claim, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and “each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). The purpose of Rule 8 is at least in part to “give the defendant[s] fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). Courts have found that complaints run astray of this purpose when they fail to concisely, directly, and clearly identify: the claims asserted, each defendant the claims are asserted against, and the specific factual allegations that give rise to each claim. See, e.g., McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 ...

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