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Ruales v. Spencer Savings Bank

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 9, 2019

MIGUEL RUALES, Plaintiff,
v.
SPENCER SAVINGS BANK, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY. U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Miguel Ruales brings this action pro se against Spencer Savings Bank ("SSB" or "the Bank"). According to the Amended Complaint, [1] the Bank closed Mr. Ruales's checking account without properly communicating to him the reasons for doing so. Plaintiff claims that this conduct amounted to negligence and a violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendant moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). For the reasons explained in this opinion, I will dismiss the Amended Complaint on Rule 12(b)(6) grounds.

         I. SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS

         a. Factual Background

         For purposes of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, die allegations of the Amended Complaint are assumed to be true. See Section II.A, infra.

         Mr. Ruales is a citizen domiciled in New Jersey. (AC ¶ 13). SSB is a mutual savings and loan association chartered pursuant to die New Jersey Saving and Loan Act. (Id. ¶¶ 14-17). It operates in and has its principal place of business in New Jersey. (Id. ¶¶ 14-17). The Bank is alleged to be subject to the supervision of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. (Id.). Mr. Ruales had a noncommercial bank account with SSB. (Id. ¶ 21).

         On August 9, 2017, the Bank mailed Mr. Ruales a one-page letter informing him that it would be closing his SSB checking account on September 9, 2017. (AC ¶ 2). That letter did not include the reason his account was being closed, and the Bank refused to tell Mr. Ruales why it closed his account. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 23, 24, 33). The lack of any explanation led "certain parties to speculate" that Mr. Ruales had engaged in money-laundering activities. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 10). Mr. Ruales alleges that he did not engage in money-laundering activities and had "an unblemished" relationship with the Bank. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 9).

         Plaintiff asserts that the Bank violated a duty in not providing him with an explanation as to why his account was terminated. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 9, 19, 20). The account closure allegedly impaired his credit rating, jeopardized his ability to obtain credit in the future, and caused him to bounce checks. (Id. ¶ 12).

         Prior to the account closure, Mr. Ruales "was very satisfied with the excellent services provided to him" by the Bank. (Id. ¶ 21). During that time, no SSB representative informed Mr. Ruales of any problems with his account or banking practices, and he did not engage in any criminal activity. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 26). Consequently, according to Mr. Ruales, there was "no need to generate any Suspicious Activity Reports [(hereinafter, "SAR")] in connection with activity in his account." (Id.).

         b. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed the original complaint on May 14, 2018. (DE 1). Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint on June 11, 2018. (DE 5). On June 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed the currently operative Amended Complaint, which contains two counts. (DE 7). Count 1 of the Amended Complaint asserts a claim of negligence; Count 2 asserts a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         On July 31, 2018, Plaintiff filed a request for default on the basis that Defendant had not answered the Amended Complaint. (DE 9). On August 9, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to vacate default and to dismiss the Amended Complaint. (DE 10). Because the clerk had not entered default, the portion of defendant's motion that seeks to vacate default was terminated. (DE 19).

         What remains is Defendant's motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (DE 10) For the reasons stated below, I will dismiss the Amended Complaint without prejudice.

         II. ...


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