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Igarashi v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

December 6, 2019

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



         Plaintiffs Clyde and Michelle Igarashi (“Plaintiffs”) filed an Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”) against various Defendants, all of whom have moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint with prejudice.[1] For the reasons stated below, the motions are GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         In 2006, Plaintiffs obtained a loan to purchase their home in Mililani, entering into an Adjustable Rate Note with IndyMac Bank. Am. Compl. ¶ 13. The loan was secured by a mortgage on the real property, and the original mortgagee was Defendant Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”). Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-24, ECF No. 56-6 at 26.[2] The note provided that the lender, IndyMac Bank, could transfer the note. ECF No. 56-6 at 21. In 2012, the mortgage was assigned to Defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee for Harborview Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-14 (“Deutsche Bank”). ECF No. 56-6 at 48-49 (showing date recorded as September 27, 2012). The assignment was signed by Wendy Traxler, on behalf of MERS (as nominee for IndyMac Bank). Id.; Am. Compl. ¶ 24. Plaintiffs allege that, when that assignment occurred, IndyMac Bank was bankrupt. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23, 42.

         At some point, Plaintiffs fell behind on their payments, but in April 2015, paid Defendant Ocwen (which had begun servicing the loan) $43, 980 to bring their payments up to date. Id. ¶¶ 15-17. In June 2015, Defendant Deutsche Bank brought a foreclosure action against Plaintiffs in state court, but dismissed the foreclosure action a few months later. Id. ¶¶ 19-22. Then in April 2017, Deutsche Bank filed another foreclosure action against Plaintiffs, which is currently pending in state court. Id. ¶ 23.

         As with Plaintiffs' initial Complaint, ECF No. 1, the Amended Complaint appears to allege that Defendants engaged in a fraudulent transfer of the mortgage, and that Deutsche Bank is not legally entitled to foreclose on Plaintiffs' home. See, e.g., Am. Compl. ¶¶ 34, 38. The Amended Complaint asserts the Defendants either created false documents or tampered with documents, id. ¶¶ 24, 34, failed to notify Plaintiffs that the loan was transferred or would be converted into a mortgage backed security, id., ¶¶ 25, 31, and failed to credit payments Plaintiffs made, id. ¶ 19. Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants failed to provide them with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (“PSA”) governing the pool of securitized mortgage loans that included Plaintiffs' loan, and further that Defendants failed to comply with the terms of the PSA. Id. ¶¶ 15, 23, 32-33.

         The Amended Complaint does not delineate separate causes of action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(b) (“If doing so would promote clarity, each claim founded on a separate transaction or occurrence . . . must be stated in a separate count or defense.”). It does, however, reference the following federal provisions: (1) the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”); (2) the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”); (3) the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTCA”); (4) the civil provisions of the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”); and (5) the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”). The Amended Complaint also references a handful of state statutes and causes of action under common law. See, e.g., Am. Compl. at 2.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiffs brought this action on February 14, 2019. ECF No. 1. Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint. ECF Nos. 18, 29. The Court granted the motions and dismissed the Complaint. ECF No. 50. At the outset, the Court concluded the Complaint failed to meet Rule 8's pleading requirements because neither Defendants nor the Court could decipher which claims Plaintiffs were bringing against which Defendants and on what bases. See id. The Court therefore dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend and provided Plaintiffs with specific instructions about how to cure these deficiencies. See Id. The Court then addressed some of Plaintiffs' specific claims. The Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiffs' claims under RESPA, the Securities Act of 1933, and under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, but granted Plaintiffs leave to amend their FDCPA and TILA claims. See id.

         Plaintiffs filed the Amended Complaint on September 3, 2019. Defendants moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint, arguing that the Amended Complaint still fails to meet the minimum pleading standards and that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. ECF Nos. 60, 61, 67. Some Defendants also argue that, if the Court dismisses Plaintiffs' federal claims, it lacks jurisdiction to consider Plaintiffs' state law claims. ECF No. 60-1 at 17; ECF No. 67-1 at 11-12. Plaintiffs opposed Defendants' motions. ECF Nos. 71, 72, 73. The Court requested additional briefing from Defendants on the amount of controversy in this case, ECF No. 80, and Defendants filed their supplemental briefs responding to the request, ECF Nos. 81, 82. The Court held a hearing on Defendants' motions on November 27, 2019.


         A. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Rule 12(b)(1) motions challenge a court's subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Federal courts are presumed to lack subject matter jurisdiction, and the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) is warranted when the plaintiff fails to meet this burden. See Chandler v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 598 F.3d 1115, 1122 (9th Cir. 2010). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) can amount to a facial or factual challenge. See Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). In a facial challenge, the movant asserts that the allegations of the complaint “are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction.” Leite v. Crane Co., 749 F.3d 1117, 1121 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Safe Air, 373 F.3d at 1039). As in a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts the plaintiff's allegations as true, draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, and determines whether the allegations sufficiently invoke the court's jurisdiction. See id.

         B. Rule 12(b)(6)

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows an attack on the pleadings for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. “[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted). However, a court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) (alteration in original) (citation omitted). A complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. This means that the complaint must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. There must be “sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively” and “factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).


         A. Compliance with Pleading Requirements

         Defendants again assert that the Amended Complaint fails to comply with both the requirements of Rule 8, and the Court's prior order directing Plaintiffs to: (1) identify only those claims they wish to assert; (2) adequately identify which claims are alleged against which Defendants; and (3) adequately specify the factual allegations supporting each claim. ECF No. 50 at 8-9. The Court agrees.

         The Amended Complaint fails to delineate Plaintiffs' separate causes of action and, instead, contains references to numerous statutes and regulations without providing factual support or otherwise explaining how Defendants' conduct constitutes a violation of those provisions. In most instances, Plaintiffs also fail to identify which Defendants have violated the statute or regulation referenced. With regard to the state law claims, Plaintiffs' pleading is more deficient-referencing a list of claims at the outset, most of which are never mentioned again. As a result, Defendants are deprived of fair notice of what claims Plaintiffs bring and the factual bases for these claims, and the Court must piece together whether Plaintiffs have stated claims that they may not even wish to press.[3]See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 (9th Cir. 1996); Hearns v. San Bernardino Police Dep't, 530 F.3d 1124, 1131 (9th Cir. 2008). Plaintiffs also failed to comply with the Court's instruction that they not include irrelevant information in the amended complaint. ECF No. 50 at ...

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