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Gregory v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 9, 2014

ALBERT GREGORY, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC d/b/a CHAMPION MORTGAGE COMPANY, and JOHN DOES 1-25, Defendants.

OPINION

WILLIAM J. MARTINI, District Judge.

In this putative class action, Plaintiff Albert Gregory alleges that Defendant Nationstar Mortgage, LLC d/b/a Champion Mortgage Company ("Champion"), a debt collector, failed to provide disclosures required by the Fair Debt Practices Collection Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Champion moves to partially dismiss the First Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

The First Amendment Complaint ("FAC") makes the following allegations, which the Court accepts as true for purposes of the instant motion to dismiss. Sometime prior to January 1, 2010, Plaintiff Albert Gregory took out a mortgage with Bank of America. FAC ¶ 14, ECF No. 12. Gregory subsequently got behind on his real estate taxes. Id. ¶¶ 19-20. On roughly December 3, 2010, he started making payments on his past due balance. Id. ¶ 21.

At some point (Gregory maintains that it was on or before September 31, 2013), Gregory's obligation was "place[d] with or assigned" to Champion, a business that "collects and attempts to collects debts incurred or alleged to have been incurred for personal, family, or household purposes." Id. ¶¶ 24-27. Not long after Champion entered the picture, Gregory received a letter from Champion dated November 15, 2012 (the "November 15, 2012 Letter"). Id. at Ex. A. Gregory describes this letter as an "initial letter/communication concerning the past due [Bank of America] obligation." Id. ¶ 29. At the time he received the November 15, 2012 Letter, Gregory had never been in contact with Champion, and he did not even know that his obligation had been transferred from Bank of America. Id. ¶¶ 31-32. The November 15, 2012 Letter states as follows:

Thank you for placing your trust in Champion Mortgage. We would like to welcome you to our Reverse Mortgage Servicing Department. We will be responsible for assisting you with anything you may require regarding your reverse mortgage loan and we trust you will be pleased with our service...
Important Notice: Per the terms of your reverse mortgage, you are responsible for the prompt payment of your property taxes and your homeowner's insurance premiums. If you are unable to make either of these payments on time, please call our toll-free number 1-866-654-0020 to discuss your situation with our Borrower Care Associates. Also we must be advised of any change in the condition of your property, or of an absence from your home of two months or more.

Id. at Ex. A. The November 15, 2012 Letter does not mention the amount of Gregory's debt, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed, or the effective date of the transfer to Champion. Gregory maintains that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692g, required Champion to provide this information. Gregory also alleges that the November 15, 2012 Letter did not include disclosures required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act ("RESPA").

On May 14, 2013, Champion sent an additional letter to Gregory (the "May 14, 2013 Letter"). This letter states as follows:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your reverse mortgage.
We are returning the enclosed check#310 in the amount of $100.00 and check # 6884 in the amount of $100.00 to you because we are unable to process the payment at this time.
The reason we are unable to process the payment at this time is your loan is in a called due status. Please contact our office to set up a valid repayment plan.

Id. at Ex. B. Gregory alleges that the May 14, 2013 Letter, like the November 15, 2012 Letter, did not include disclosures required by the FDCPA.

On September 25, 2013, Champion sent a third letter to Gregory (the "September 25, 2013 Letter"). This letter explains that Gregory's mortgage is in default, and it offers Gregory a variety of ways in which to cure the default. Id. at Ex. C. It advises: "This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose." Id. Gregory alleges that the September 25, 2013 Letter, like ...


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