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Regina Mccaffery v. Marc Mccaffery

August 8, 2012

REGINA MCCAFFERY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARC MCCAFFERY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurley, Senior District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Regina McCaffery ("plaintiff") commenced this diversity action against her brother, defendant Marc McCaffery ("defendant"), seeking a partition, sale, and purchase of certain real property they own as tenants in common, as well as a declaratory judgment. In the alternative, plaintiff asserts a cause of action for unjust enrichment and seeks the dissolution of an at-will partnership. In his Answer to the Amended Complaint, defendant interposed two counterclaims and asserted several affirmative defenses. Presently before the Court is plaintiff's motion to dismiss defendant's counterclaims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6), and to strike defendant's affirmative defenses pursuant to Rule 12(f). For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, plaintiff's motion to dismiss defendant's counterclaims is granted, and plaintiff's motion to strike defendant's affirmative defenses is denied.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the allegations contained in the Amended Complaint and the Answer to the Amended Complaint.

The Amended Complaint

Plaintiff and defendant are siblings. On October 31, 1997, they entered into a Contract of Sale to purchase real property located at 27-1 Mitchell Road, Westhampton Beach, New York 11978 (the "Property"). Plaintiff alleges that she and defendant purchased the Property as tenants in common for the purposes of: (1) providing a residence for their mother, non-party Barbara McCaffery, and (2) to "receive the long-term benefits of the [P]roperty's appreciation." (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.)

To fund the purchase of the Property, plaintiff and defendant executed a promissory note in favor of Long Island Savings Bank in the original principal amount of $198,000 (the "First Note"). At the same time, plaintiff and defendant delivered a mortgage (the "First Mortgage") to Long Island Savings Bank to secure payment of the First Note. Plaintiff and defendant also executed a second promissory note in favor of Rocco Oliverio in the principal amount of $28,000 (the "Second Note") and delivered a mortgage to Oliverio (the "Second Mortgage") to secure payment of the Second Note. Plaintiff alleges that she made all the payments under both the First and Second Mortgages. The Second Mortgage was fully satisfied on December 13, 2002. (Am. Compl. ¶ 19.)

On March 24, 2003, plaintiff and defendant refinanced the Property by executing a promissory note in favor of Ohio Savings Bank in the principal amount of $225,000 (the "Third Note"). Plaintiff and defendant delivered to Ohio Savings Bank a mortgage (the "Third Mortgage") securing the payment of the Third Note. By refinancing the Property, the First Mortgage was fully satisfied. (Id. ¶ 23.)

In her Amended Complaint, plaintiff asserts that $420,324.65 has been paid to purchase and maintain the Property since 1998, and that she has contributed more than 95% of that amount. (Id. ¶¶ 25, 26.) She also alleges that in late 2005, Barbara McCaffery asked plaintiff and defendant to secure a home equity line of credit on the Property to help her pay off her debts. (Id. ¶ 29.) Defendant refused to cooperate and, as a result, plaintiff "agreed to personally incur Barbara's debt obligations" thereby causing plaintiff to incur financial strain. (Id. ¶¶ 36, 37.) In August 2010, plaintiff informed defendant that she wished to refinance the Property again so that she could use some of the Property's "equity cushion" to "repay herself the money that she expended for her mother's debts." (Id. ¶¶ 39, 40.) Defendant refused to agree to plaintiff's refinancing proposal. Thereafter, plaintiff requested that defendant "provide a reasonable buyout offer based on his minimal contributions to the Property," but defendant refused. (Id. ¶¶ 43, 44.)

In the Amended Complaint, plaintiff seeks a partition and sale of the Property and requests a division of the sale proceeds "according to [the parties'] respective rights, contributions, and interests in the Property." (Id. ¶ 54(f).) Plaintiff also seeks a declaratory judgment requiring defendant to reimburse plaintiff "for her disproportionate contributions to the Property." (Id. 62(d).) In the alternative, plaintiff asserts a claim of unjust enrichment and seeks the dissolution of "an at-will partnership," namely, the "oral partnership agreement" plaintiff and defendant purportedly entered into when they purchased the Property. (Id. ¶ 69.) Defendant's Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses

In his Answer to the Amended Complaint, defendant alleges that plaintiff was required to collect rental monies from Barbara McCaffery, who resided in the Property, and that plaintiff was further required to "contribute [money to cover] any shortfall or deficiency" between that collected rental income and any expenses associated with the Property. (Ans. ¶ 51.)*fn1 Against that factual backdrop, defendant asserts in his first counterclaim that plaintiff breached a "fiduciary duty and obligation" by failing "to account for all funds she collected and expended relating to the Property" since its purchase in 1997. (Id. ¶ 54.) Defendant's second counterclaim seeks "a formal accounting for all funds received and expended by Plaintiff . . . relating to the Property since the date of its purchase." (Id. ¶ 60.) In her motion to dismiss the counterclaims, plaintiff asserts that defendant has "failed to meet the minimum pleading requirements for those counterclaims." (Pl.'s Mem. at 2.)

Defendant also asserted seven affirmative defenses: (1) lack of jurisdiction due to improper service, (2) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, (3) improper venue, (4) inconvenient forum, (5) laches, (6) statute of limitations, and (7) the statute of frauds. Plaintiff asserts that defendant "has not pled facts sufficient to assert a single affirmative defense." (Pl.'s Mem. at 5.)

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Defendant's ...


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