United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
before the Court is Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.'s
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Diane Dunham's Complaint,
which alleges a single claim of gross negligence. (ECF No.
Specifically, Wells Fargo contends that because it does not
owe Plaintiff a duty of care, she fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted pursuant Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed herein,
Plaintiffs Complaint is dismissed, and Plaintiff may amend
the Complaint within thirty days.
Complaint is difficult to follow, but, as best the Court can
tell, stems from Plaintiffs failure to close on the sale of
her house, due to a clerical error on Bank of America's
part in failing to report the satisfaction of her debt
obligation. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff, pro
se, had obtained a loan for $90, 000 from Bank of
America, which had been purportedly paid in its entirety by
2005. (ECF No. 1-1 at 8). Despite satisfying her debt
obligations, Bank of America failed to acknowledge the same
and properly report it as having been satisfied, which caused
Plaintiffs credit score to decline and resulted in her paying
higher mortgage interest rates. (Id.).
satisfying her loan with Bank of America; in 2005, Plaintiff
acquired another mortgage loan of $350, 000 from World
Savings Bank. (Id.). According to the
Complaint, between 2006 and 2016, the value of her mortgage -
now with Wells Fargo - grew to $382, 000. (Id.).
This being said, from 2007 through 2009, Plaintiff repeatedly
sought to modify her loan to a fixed rate 30 year mortgage;
eventually, in 2011, Wells Fargo wrote to Plaintiff,
explaining that her request for a fixed rate mortgage would
be approved, pending completion of all necessary paperwork.
(Id. at 10). Apparently, after conducting a credit
report and discovering the Bank of America loan, Wells Fargo
denied her application, explaining that her credit score was
too low. (Id. at 10-11). During this same timeframe,
Plaintiff claims "Wells Fargo would charge me an
adjustable interest rate 3 points over the Federal fixed rate
and raise the monthly mortgage payment." (Id.
at 10). Moreover, in 2009, Plaintiff alleges that Wells
Fargo, on four separate occasions, charged her escrow account
$3, 542.62 for paying her property taxes. (Id. at
after eleven years, Plaintiff satisfied her debt obligations
with Wells Fargo, paying a sum total of $380, 000.
(Id. at 11). However, on May 26, 2017, Wells Fargo
wrote to Plaintiff, apologizing for their handling of
Plaintiff s finance application. (Id. at 13,
"Wells Fargo Letter"). Specifically, the letter
We're reaching out about your previous application for
home financing. We've determined that we didn't
process your application cancelled or denied between
12/1/2012 - 4/17/2016 with the level of service that we would
like. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have
(Id.). Plaintiff claims that Wells Fargo's
mismanagement of her account, which resulted in significant
interest charges, constitutes gross negligence and, as a
result, seeks monetary damages.
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court is
required to accept as true all allegations in the Complaint
and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom,
and to view them in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. See Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran
& Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994).
"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). While a court will accept well-pleaded
allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will
not accept bald assertions, unsupported conclusions,
unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in
the form of factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678-79; see also Morse v. Lower Merion School
District, 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). A complaint
should be dismissed only if the well-pleaded alleged facts,
taken as true, fail to state a claim. See In re Warfarin
Sodium, 214 F.3d 395, 397-98 (3d Cir. 2000). The
question is whether the claimant can prove any set of facts
consistent with his or her allegations that will entitle him
or her to relief, not whether that person will ultimately
prevail. Semerenko v. Cendant Corp., 223 F.3d 165,
173 (3d Cir. 2001). The pleader is required to 'set forth
sufficient information to outline the elements of his claim
or to permit inferences to be drawn that these elements
exist.'" Kost v. Kozakewicz, 1 F.3d 176,
183 (3d Cir. 1993) (quoting 5A Wright & Miller, Fed.
Practice & Procedure: Civil 2d § 1357 at 340).
a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiffs
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 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
"Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level, ... on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact), . . . ." Id.
as here, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court should
read Plaintiffs complaint generously and hold it "to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
However, "a pro se plaintiff is not exempt from his
burden of providing some affirmative evidence, i.e. not just
mere allegations, to establish a prima facie case, and to
show that there is a genuine dispute for trial."
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