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Saunders v. Bank of America

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 29, 2014

DEBORAH A. SAUNDERS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

GEORGE B. DANIELS, District Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

Fifteen pro se Plaintiffs, homeowners from Georgia, Utah, Maryland, Colorado, and Texas, bring this action against multiple financial institutions (together "Defendants"), alleging that Defendants violated various laws in the origination and servicing of home mortgages to Plaintiffs. On February 13, 2013, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint. (Doc. No. 14.) Plaintiffs assert several causes of action, including violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968 ("RICO"); the Truth in Lending Act and Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601(a), 1639; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p; the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631; and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, 6(e)(2), 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e)(2). One Defendant was dismissed by Order of the Court. ( See Doc. No. 331.) The remaining named Defendants are: Bank of America, N.A. ("BofA"), Citi Mortgage, Inc. ("Citi"), JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("JP Morgan"), Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"), Deutsche Bank National Trust Company ("Deutsche Bank"), U.S. Bank, National Association ("U.S. Bank"), and WRI Capital Group LLC ("WRI"). Before the Court are: (1) Deutsche Bank's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint; (2) a motion to sever and dismiss the Amended Complaint filed by Defendants BofA, Citi, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank (the "BofA Defendants"); and (3) WRI's motion to dismiss by joining in the pending motions to dismiss filed by the BofA Defendants.

For the reasons that follow, I recommend that the motions be GRANTED and that the Amended Complaint be DISMISSED.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History

In their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs claim that their lawsuit "is the result of a master system to defile the land of America and defraud the real people of the United States." (Am. Compl. at 2.) Plaintiffs claim to bring this action "on behalf of themselves and others so situated asjoinder class members" under Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ( Id.) They state they have been "preyed upon by national enterprises" who committed "insurance fraud to enrich the CEO and corporations." (Id. at 3.) Plaintiffs assert that the filing of this lawsuit is a "last resort against illegal activities to seize their properties and against financial bullying." ( Id. at 6.) Plaintiffs further state that Defendants intentionally engaged in a "pattern and practice of racketeering" in the origination and servicing of loans that "victimized homeowners across the country." ( Id. at 7-8, 12.)

The Amended Complaint does not specify which of this alleged misconduct applies to which Plaintiff or Defendant. Other than through broad generalizations, the Amended Complaint does not indicate what type of harm was suffered by each Plaintiff. The Amended Complaint does not state which financial institution was responsible for which type of wrongdoing. It does not state with specificity how each Plaintiff was harmed, and by whom. The Court is unable to decipher any specific factual allegations in the twenty-seven page Amended Complaint.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiffs filed their original Complaint on December 17, 2012, and an Amended Complaint on February 13, 2013. (Doc. Nos. 3, 14.) Deutsche Bank moved to dismiss on January 17, 2014. (Doc. No. 71.) Four individual Plaintiffs filed oppositions to the motion to dismiss on January 28, February 3, and February 4. (Doc. Nos. 102, 132, 139-41.) Deutsche Bank filed a Reply on February 25, 2014. (Doc. No. 191.)

The BofA Defendants moved to sever and dismiss on February 19, 2014. (Doc. No. 166.) Between February 19 and March 4, four individual Plaintiffs filed oppositions to the BofA Defendants' motions. (Doc. Nos. 169, 174, 192, 221.) The BofA Defendants filed a Reply on April 3, 2014. (Doc. No. 315.) On April 21, 2014, WRI submitted a motion to dismiss by joining in the pending motions to dismiss filed by the BofA Defendants. (Doc. No. 327.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard for Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(5)

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5), a defendant may move to dismiss on the basis that service of process was improper. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5). Rule 4(h) provides that a corporation must be served "in a ...


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