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Fried v. Jpmorgan Chase & Co.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

November 30, 2017

GINNIE FRIED, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO., et al., Defendants

          OPINION

          Hon. Madeline Cox Arleo United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court by way of Defendants JPMorgan Chase & Co. and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.'s (collectively, “Defendants” or “Chase”) motion for partial summary judgment. ECF No. 49. Plaintiff Ginnie Fried (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, opposes the motion. ECF No. 53. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.

         I.BACKGROUND

         The allegations that form the background of this case were discussed in depth in both this Court's prior decision and in the Third Circuit's opinion affirming that decision. See Fried v. Jpmorgan Chase & Co., 2016 WL 347314 (D.N.J. Jan. 28, 2016), leave to appeal granted (May 26, 2016), aff'd and remanded sub nom. Fried v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 850 F.3d 590 (3d Cir. 2017). For purposes of this motion, it is undisputed that Chase is engaged in U.S. consumer and commercial business including home lending, that Chase is an “active bank” holding Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) certificate number 628, and that Chase is included on a list of “depository institutions and affiliates . . . currently under [the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (“CFPB”)] jurisdiction and subject to CFPB supervision and examination.” Def's. Statement of Material Facts at ¶¶ 1-3; Pl's. Resp. at ¶¶ 1-3.

         II. Procedural History

         On April 8, 2015, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging violations of the Homeowner's Protection Act (“HPA”) as well as supplemental state law claims. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff brought her case as a putative class action. Id. On June 17, 2015, Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to state a claim under the HPA, that Plaintiff's HPA claim was barred by the statute's two-year limitations period, 12 U.S.C. § 4907(b), that Plaintiff failed to state a claim against JP Morgan Chase & Co. (“JPMC”), and that Plaintiff's state law claims were preempted by the HPA. ECF No. 10.

         On January 28, 2016, by order of this Court, ECF No. 23, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss was granted in part and denied in part. This Court denied Defendants' request to dismiss Plaintiff's HPA claim but granted Defendants' request to dismiss the state law claims. Id. This Court did not expressly rule on Defendants' request to dismiss Plaintiff's claim against JPMC. On February 25, 2016, Defendants moved to certify this Court's order for interlocutory review. ECF No. 31. Plaintiff consented to Defendants' motion. ECF No. 40, 43.

         On April 7, 2016, this Court granted Defendants' motion to certify its Order for interlocutory review. ECF No. 42. By Order of May 26, 2016, the Third Circuit granted Defendants' Petition for Leave to Appeal, ECF No. 44, and the Third Circuit held argument on January 18, 2017.

         On March 9, 2017, the Third Circuit affirmed this Court's Order with respect to the HPA claim and remanded for further proceedings. Fried v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 850 F.3d 590 (3d Cir. 2017).

         III. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), a motion for summary judgment will be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). All facts and inferences must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Peters v. Del. River Port Auth., 16 F.3d 1346, 1349 (3d Cir. 1994). The party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial burden of production. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. This means that the moving party must establish either that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party must prevail as a matter of law, or demonstrate that the non-moving party has not shown the requisite facts relating to an essential element of an issue for which it bears the burden. Id. at 322-23.

         IV. Analysis

         Defendants seek partial summary judgment on two issues: first, Defendants argue JMPC should be dismissed from the case because the Complaint does not allege any wrongdoing by JPMC and, second, Defendants claim the HPA caps potential total recovery in this action at $500, 000. The Court will GRANT summary judgment on the first issue and DENY summary judgment on the second issue.

         A. Dismissal of JPMC

         Defendants argue, without opposition, that JPMC should be dismissed from the case because the Complaint does not allege any wrongdoing by JPMC. The Court agrees.

         The Third Circuit's decision establishes that JPMC should be dismissed from this case. In its March 9, 2017 opinion in this case, the Third Circuit explained:

The complaint names both Chase and its parent company, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMC”), as defendants. While the District Court did not address the issue in its opinion, parent companies are not merely by dint of ownership, liable for the acts of their subsidiaries. Pearson. v. Component Tech. Corp., 247 F.3d 471, 484 (3d Cir. 2001). At oral argument, Fried's counsel acknowledged that the complaint did not allege any wrongdoing by JMPC itself and that ...

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