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Crystal Murdock v. East Coast Mortgage Corp.

August 17, 2011

CRYSTAL MURDOCK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EAST COAST MORTGAGE CORP., ET AL,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Joseph H. Rodriguez

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

RODRIGUEZ, Senior District Judge

This matter comes before the Court on numerous motions filed by Defendants East Coast Mortgage Corp. ("East Coast"), OneWest Bank, FSB ("OneWest"), and McCabe, Weisberg & Conway ("McCabe") in the above captioned matter and in the associated cases also before the Court, captioned OneWest Bank, FSB v. Murdock et al., Civil No. 10-4695 (JHR/JS) ("the 4695 Case") and CitiMortgage, Inc et al. v. Murdock et al., Civil No. 10-5360 (JHR/JS) ("the 5360 Case"). Plaintiff Crystal Murdock ("Murdock") filed an amended sixteen-count complaint against all defendants on October 12, 2010, asserting causes of action sounding in violations of the Fair Housing Amendment Act ("FHAA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq.; the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 56:8-1, et seq.; the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act ("NJFFA"), N.J.S.A. 2A:50-53 to -68; the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq.; fraud, civil conspiracy, professional negligence, and various other state law theories. (Dkt. Entry No. 7, Second Amended Complaint).*fn1 East Coast filed a motion [Dkt. Entry No. 26] on December 10, 2010, seeking to dismiss only the federal claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). OneWest also filed a motion [Dkt Entry No. 28] on December 10, 2010 and McCabe filed a motion [Dkt. Entry No. 38] on January 18, 2011, seeking to dismiss all claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).*fn2

Oral argument was heard on the motions on August 4, 2011. At oral argument, East Coast's counsel conceded its argument as to the timeliness of the FHAA claims. Also Plaintiff's counsel voluntarily withdrew all claims against OneWest and McCabe, with the exception of the FDCPA claims. As such, and for the reasons expressed on the record on that day, East Coast's motion will be denied in part as to the FHAA claims, the non-FDCPA related claims asserted against OneWest and McCabe will be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2), and the motions filed by OneWest and McCabe will be dismissed as moot in part as pertaining to the non-FDCPA claims.

Therefore, to resolve the present motions the Court focuses solely on the propriety of the FDCPA claims against East Coast, OneWest, and McCabe. For the reasons set forth below, the motions filed by East Coast, OneWest, and McCabe will be granted as to the FDCPA claims.

I. Jurisdiction

The Court has federal question jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, because Murdock pursues federal claims under the FDCPA and the FHAA. The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Murdock's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

II. Background & Procedural History

The parties are familiar with the convoluted and confused evolution of the three actions currently before the Court, the identities of all parties currently or previously involved in the litigation, and the specifics of the allegations advanced. Therefore, the Court recites only on the fairly straightforward facts that are germane to the instant motions.*fn3

A. Origination of the Burlington Property Loan

In the fall of 2007, Murdock entered into two loan transaction with East Coast, a mortgage lender. On or about September 21, 2007, Murdock entered into a loan agreement with East Coast in connection with the refinancing of her home at 654 East 6th Street, Plainfield, New Jersey ("Plainfield Property"). (Id. at ¶ 3.) The following month, on or about October 24, 2007, Murdock entered into another loan agreement with East Coast in connection with the purchase of a property located at 7 Brook Drive, Burlington, New Jersey ("Burlington Property"). (Id.) She secured the promissory note ("Note") for the purchase of the Burlington Property by executing a mortgage ("Mortgage") on the subject property, naming Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") as nominee for East Coast. (Id.)

On November 21, 2007 East Coast assigned the loan associated with the Plainfield Property to CitiMortgage, Inc. ("CitiMortgage"), who has been the holder and servicing agent of the Plainfield Property loan to date. (Id. at ΒΆ 4.) The loan associated with the purchase of the Burlington Property has seemingly taken ...


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