United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
STEPHEN S. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
PHH MORTGAGE CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon the filing of a motion,
[Dkt. No. 9], by Defendant PHH Mortgage Corporation
(“Defendant” or “PHH”) seeking (1)
the dismissal of Plaintiff Stephen S. Edwards'
(“Plaintiff”) Complaint in its entirety pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 and 12(b)(6) or (2) the transfer of this
matter to the United States District Court for the District
of Arizona pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the
following reasons, the Court will GRANT Defendant's
motion to dismiss, without prejudice, and will grant
Plaintiff thirty days to amend his Complaint consistent with
the concerns expressed this Opinion.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court liberally
construes his Complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (“[H]owever inartfully pleaded,
” the “allegations of a pro se complaint
[are held] to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers[.]”). Even construing
Plaintiff's Complaint liberally, his factual allegations
are vague and unclear. The facts set forth herein are those
which the Court could construe from Plaintiff's
resides at 16030 S. 36th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 48048.
(Compl. ¶ 3). Defendant is a mortgage corporation
headquartered in New Jersey that conducts business throughout
the nation, including “regularly” conducting
business “through its entities in the Maricopa County
area of Arizona.” (Id. ¶ 4). Plaintiff
alleges that PHH, at some point, “fraudulently”
misled him into a “faulty mortgage situation, in which
[he] took a construction loan . . . which in turn . . . led
to a fraudulent foreclosure.” (Id. ¶ 5).
Plaintiff does not identify the location of the property that
is subject to this mortgage. Moreover, throughout his
Complaint Plaintiff seems to variably allege that he owes PHH
nothing, that he owes PHH $100, 000, and that PHH owes him
$285, 000.00. (Id. ¶¶ 16-18, Ex. 1).
connection with this construction loan and mortgage,
Plaintiff alleges that PHH has “lied” both to
credit reporting agencies and courts about how much Plaintiff
owes them. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-9). Plaintiff also
alleges that PHH declined full payment in November 2014 and
July 2015 and “circumvented the sale” of his home
on two occasions. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13).
Moreover, Plaintiff alleges, “PHH failed to provide a
Simple Payoff letter and when ordered to do so they [sic]
submitted fraudulent payoff terms purposely harassing
Edwards.” (Id. ¶ 14). Plaintiff alleges
that PHH's actions led him to build a custom home without
the assistance of a licensed contractor, and to convert his
home into a business, which in turn hurt his ability to run
his “limousine service.” (Id. ¶
filed his Complaint on October 3, 2017, alleging (1) breach
of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) fraud; (4)
violation of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. §§
1601, et seq.; (5) and Violation of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, et seq..
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and equitable relief in the
forms of an Order requiring specific performance by PHH and
an injunction prohibiting PHH from, among other things,
foreclosing on his mortgage.
not Plaintiff's first suit against PHH. Plaintiff has
filed at least six actions against PHH in Arizona state and
federal courts. See Super Trust Fund u/t/d 06/15/01 v.
Charles Schwab Bank et al., No. 2:13-cv-00735-ROS (D.
Ariz.)(“Edwards I”); Edwards v. Charles
Schwab Bank et al., No. 2:14-cv-00066-MHB (D.
Ariz)(“Edwards II”); Stephen S. Edwards Inc.
v. PHH Mortgage Corp. et al., No. 2:15-cv-00919-ROS (D.
Ariz.)(“Edwards III”); Stephen S. Edwards v.
PPH Corp., et al., No. 2:16-cv-01842-JJT (D.
Ariz.)(“Edwards IV”); Stephen S. Edwards v.
PPH Corp., et al., No. CV2017-012833, (Sup. Ct.
Ariz.)(“Edwards V”). Each of these previously
filed actions, several of which have been dismissed, relates
to a loan secured by real property located at 1765 N. Lemon
Street, Mesa, Arizona 85025 (the “Lemon Street
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face'” in order to withstand a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Claims are facially plausible “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged, ” and “an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation” will not
survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at 663. “[A]
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
district court “must accept as true all well-pled
factual allegations as well as all reasonable inferences that
can be drawn from them, and construe those allegations in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff” when reviewing a
plaintiff's allegations. Bistrian v. Levi, 696
F.3d 352 n. 1 (3d Cir. 2012). Only the allegations in the
complaint, and “matters of public record, orders,
exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the
record of the case” are taken into consideration.
Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38
F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994) (citing Chester
County Intermediate Unit v. Pennsylvania Blue Shield,
896 F.2d 808, 812 (3d Cir. 1990)).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) requires that the Complaint contain:
“(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon
which the court's jurisdiction depends, unless the court
already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no grounds of
jurisdiction to support it, (2) a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief the pleader
seeks the dismissal of this action on three grounds: (1) that
the Complaint is barred by the doctrine of res
judicata; (2) that the Complaint is barred by New
Jersey's entire controversy doctrine; and (3) that even
were it not barred by res judicata or the entire
controversy doctrine, the Complaint fails to state a
plausible claim against PHH. If the Court does not dismiss
Plaintiff's claims, Defendant requests that the case be
transferred to the United States District Court for the
District of Arizona. As noted above, Plaintiff brings claims
for (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3)
fraud; (4) violation of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1601, et seq.; (5) and Violation of the
Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681,
et seq.. Plaintiff has, however, failed to
provide “a short and plain statement” showing
that he is ...