Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Conover v. Patriot Land Transfer, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage

January 31, 2019

ANNA CONOVER, PARRISH AND JACQUELINE SHERIDAN, BRYAN AND JACQUELINE VAN VELSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
PATRIOT LAND TRANSFER, LLC, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendants.

          LITE DEPALMA GREENBERG, LLC BY: BRUCE D. GREENBERG, ESQ. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS

          SMITH, GILDEA & SCHMIDT, LLC BY: MICHAEL PAUL SMITH, ESQ.; MELISSA L. ENGLISH, ESQ.; SARAH A ZADROZNY, ESQ. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS

          JOSEPH GREENWALD & LAAKE, PA BY: TIMOTHY F. MALONEY, ESQ.; VERONICA NANNIS, ESQ.; MEGAN A. BENEVENTO, ESQ. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS

          DILWORTH PAXON LLP BY: BENJAMIN W. SPANG, ESQ.; JERRY R. DESIDERATO, ESQ. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT PATRIOT LAND TRANSFER, LLC K&L GATES LLP BY: JENNIFER J. NAGLE, ESQ.; JEFFREY S. PATTERSON (PRO HAC VICE); DAVID E. FIALKOW, ESQ. (PRO HAC VICE) COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.

          OPINION

          RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Anna Conover, Parrish and Jacqueline Sheridan, and Bryan and Jacqueline Van Velson (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) brought this putative class action against Defendants Patriot Land Transfer, LLC (“Patriot”) and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”), alleging violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. § 2601. This matter comes before the Court upon Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss (the “MTD”)[Dkt. No. 49] Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint (the “Amended Complaint” or “FAC”)[Dkt. No. 46]. Although Patriot did not file its own Motion to Dismiss, Patriot has joined and supported Wells Fargo's MTD. See Dkt. No. 50]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will DENY Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss without prejudice.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In this purported class action, Plaintiffs allege that they are victims of an illegal “kickback agreement” between the Defendants. Wells Fargo is a financial services company, which offers home mortgage loans, among other products. Patriot is a title insurance agency, providing title and settlement services in New Jersey. Plaintiffs contend that they obtained home mortgage loans from Wells Fargo in 2014, and that Wells Fargo referred or assigned these loans to Patriot for title and settlement services.

         In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs claim that Wells Fargo and Patriot violated RESPA by engaging in a “quid pro quo” kickback scheme, whereby Patriot provided Wells Fargo with “kickbacks in the form of borrower leads and data lists” in return for Wells Fargo's referral and assignment of loans to Patriot for title and settlement services. Plaintiffs contend that “Patriot purchased borrower leads data and lists from third party marketing companies and gave the data to Wells Fargo on a per unit basis for each loan referred to and closed by Patriot.” FAC at ¶ 2. According to Plaintiffs, these kickbacks were funded by systematically overcharging Plaintiffs “the maximum amount for settlement services, including special and/or extra charges and discretionary fees.” Id. at ¶ 24.

         Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants took affirmative steps to fraudulently conceal the kickback payments in violation of RESPA. Specifically, Plaintiffs theorize that Patriot and Wells Fargo chose kickbacks in the form of borrower lists and data under the false belief that these “things of value” were not required to be reported on the borrowers' Good Faith Estimate (“GFE”), HUD-1, or other loan documents, and, therefore, could be concealed from borrowers and regulators. See FAC at ¶ 87. Because of this effort to conceal the kickback arrangement, Plaintiffs claim that they were unable to discover the violations despite exercising reasonable diligence throughout the closing process. See id. at ¶ 97. Due to Defendants' alleged fraudulent concealment of the kickback agreement, Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to equitably toll RESPA's one-year statute of limitations. See id. at ¶¶ 77-100. Plaintiffs filed the initial class action complaint [Dkt. No. 1] in June of 2017, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. In August 2017, Patriot and Wells Fargo responded with motions to dismiss the original complaint. On March 23, 2018, this Court heard oral argument and dismissed the original complaint, but granted Plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint. Subsequently, Plaintiffs filed the Amended Complaint on May 7, 2018. Now, Wells Fargo moves to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To withstand a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 662. “[A]n unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” does not suffice to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at 678. “[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)).

         In reviewing a plaintiff's allegations, the 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.” Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d 352, 358 n.1 (3d Cir. 2012). When undertaking this review, courts are limited to the allegations found in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and undisputedly authentic documents that form the basis of a claim. See In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997); Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).

         Generally, a statute of limitations defense may only be raised by way of motion under Rule 12(b)(6) where “the time alleged in the statement of a claim shows that the cause of action has not been brought within the statute of limitations.” Schmidt v. Skolas, 770 F.3d 241, 249 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotations omitted). If “the bar is not apparent on the face of the complaint, then it may not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.