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Stark v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 23, 2015

William J. Stark and Brenda L. Stark, Plaintiffs,
v.
Bank of America, N.A.; Nationstar Mortgage, LLC; Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for the MLMI Trust Series 2005-NCI; and ABC Corporation and/or John Doe Defendants, and also all other persons unknown claiming any right, title, estate, interest, or lien in the real estate described in the complaint herein, Defendants.

Dominic J. Haik, Esq., and Troy A. Stark, Esq., Daniels & Kibort, PLLC, Plymouth, MN, on behalf of Plaintiffs.

Keith S. Anderson, Esq., Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham, AL and Mark G. Schroeder, Esq., Briggs and Morgan, P.A., Minneapolis, MN on behalf of Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On January 20, 2015 the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on the above captioned Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 5]. Plaintiffs William J. Stark and Brenda L. Stark filed this action seeking damages and the resolution of all other claims in connection with a foreclosure action on their home. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

On or about August 20, 2004, Plaintiffs became owners of a house in Anoka County, Minnesota (the "Property"). Not. of Removal [Docket No. 1] Ex. A. ("Complaint") ¶¶ 1-2. To complete their purchase, Plaintiffs signed a promissory note, secured with a mortgage to New Century Mortgage Corporation. Id., Ex. B. By November 2009, Plaintiffs had fallen behind on their loan payments. Plaintiffs contacted their loan servicer, Wilshire Credit Corporation ("Wilshire"), to discuss loan modification options. Compl. ¶ 4. Wilshire sent Plaintiffs information on a Trial Period Plan Agreement ("TPP"), and in December 2009, Plaintiffs "filled out, completed, and executed all of the required documentation" for consideration for the TPP. Id . Wilshire offered Plaintiffs a TPP in January 2010, contingent on the receipt of further documentation and three reduced mortgage payments. Id . Consideration for a permanent modification agreement was contingent on the successful completion of the TPP. Plaintiffs submitted all required documentation and one reduced mortgage payment. Id. at ¶¶ 5-7.

In March 2010, Defendant Bank of America, N.A. ("Bank of America") became the successor in interest to Wilshire and accepted Plaintiffs' final two reduced mortgage payments under the TPP. Id. at 6. A permanent loan modification agreement was not issued, but Plaintiffs continued to make reduced payments for an additional six months. Id. at ¶ 8. In July 2013, Bank of America sold and assigned Plaintiffs' loan to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for the MLMI Trust Series 2005-NCI ("Deutsche Bank"). Id . At about this same time, the servicing rights of the loan were assigned, sold, or transferred to Nationstar Mortgage, LLC ("Nationstar"). Neither Deutsche Bank nor Nationstar offered Plaintiffs a permanent loan modification. Id. at ¶ 9.

Deutsche Bank and/or Nationstar set a sheriff's sale for the Property on May 27, 2014, which was later postponed by Plaintiffs to October 27, 2014. Id . A sheriff's sale has yet to be conducted, but is scheduled for March 9, 2015. Aff. of Dominic Haik [Docket No. 29] Exh. 1 ("Foreclosure Sale").

On or about June 27, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this action in the Tenth Judicial District Court of Anoka County, Minnesota, which Defendants removed to this Court on July 17, 2014.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

Federal pleading standards are applied "to state substantive law to determine if a complaint makes out a claim under state law." Karnatcheva v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 704 F.3d 545, 548 (8th Cir. 2013). Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a party may move to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the pleadings are construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and the facts alleged in the complaint must be taken as true. Hamm v. Groose, 15 F.3d 110, 112 (8th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). However, the factual allegations must "raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " and push claims "across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In other words, the complaint must establish more than a "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court ...


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