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Hunter v. Washington Mutual Bank

September 10, 2008

CRAIG A. HUNTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, WILSON & ASSOCIATES, P.L.L.C, AND AARON L. SQUYRES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leon Jordan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This civil action is before the court on "Defendant Washington Mutual Bank's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)" [doc. 4] and the "Motion to Dismiss and Motion for More Definite Statement" [doc. 6] filed by defendants Wilson & Associates, P.L.L.C. and Aaron L. Squyres.*fn1 Plaintiff has responded [docs. 12, 13] to the motions, and each defendant has submitted a reply [docs. 16, 17]. For the reasons that follow, both motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

The complaint in this case spans a staggering fifty-six pages, with one hundred seventy-four paragraphs of somewhat repetitive factual allegations. With minimal explanation, plaintiff alleges violation of "including, but not limited to" at least forty-four distinct statutory and regulatory subsections. [Doc. 1, ¶ 14]. In sum, plaintiff appears to contend that:

1. He took out a home loan in 1993 [doc. 1, ¶ 8];

2. The loan was purchased in April 2002 "by WAMU FA, a predecessor in name to" defendant Washington Mutual Bank ("Washington Mutual") [doc. 1, ¶ 10];

3. Plaintiff defaulted on the loan in 2002 and 2003 [doc. 1, ¶ 11];

4. Plaintiff filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in September 2003 [doc. 1, ¶ 15];

5. The terms of the confirmed 2004 Chapter 11 Plan provide for monthly payments, including arrearages, to Washington Mutual [doc. 1, ¶ 16-18];

6. Washington Mutual refused to accept plaintiff's October 2005 payment, stating that he "was behind on his mortgage payments" [doc. 1, ¶ 21-22];

7. Washington Mutual "assigned" the loan debt to Wilson & Associates "for purposes of collection and foreclosure" [doc. 1, ¶ 13];

8. Defendants have thrice threatened plaintiff with foreclosure since December 2005 [doc. 1, ¶ 32, 50, 105];

9. Since October 2005, plaintiff has attempted to explain to defendants that they are "in error" but has been met only with unresponsive and "illegal collection communications and collection activities" [doc. 1, ¶ 23-174].

II. Applicable Legal Standards

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). "A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests whether a cognizable claim has been pleaded in the complaint. Rule 8(a) sets forth the basic federal pleading requirement that a pleading 'shall contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)).

"When evaluating a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to rule 12(b)(6), the factual allegations in the complaint must be regarded as true. The claim should not be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Windsor v. Tennessean, 719 F.2d 155, 158 (6th Cir. 1983) (internal citations omitted). "Although this standard for Rule 12(b)(6) dismissals is quite liberal, more than bare assertions of legal conclusions is ordinarily required to satisfy federal notice pleading requirements. In practice, a . . . complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Scheid, 859 F.2d at 436 (internal citations and quotations omitted) (emphasis in original).

If "matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court," a motion under Rule 12 (b)(6) "must be" converted to one for summary judgment under Rule 56. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example, documents attached to a motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if they are: (1) central to a plaintiff's claim; and ...


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