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Wheeler v. Long Beach Mortgage Co.

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

April 13, 2015

COREY and SHONTA WHEELER, a married couple, Plaintiffs,
v.
LONG BEACH MORTGAGE COMPANY, JP MORGAN CHASE, WASHINGTON MUTUAL, and DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, as trustee for LONG BEACH MORTGAGE TRUST 2006-09, jointly and severally, Defendants.

Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS JPMORGAN CHASE, N.A. AND DEUTSCHE BANK’S MOTION TO DISMISS [6]

LAURIE J. MICHELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Corey and Shonta Wheeler seek relief following the foreclosure and sheriff’s sale of their Belleville, Michigan home. Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss in December 2014. (Dkt. 6.) Four months have passed and Plaintiffs have neither responded nor requested any extension of time to do so. Thus, the motion is unopposed. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(c)(1). The Court has examined the Complaint and Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and finds that oral argument would not significantly aid the decisional process, see E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). The Court is convinced by some, but not all, of the arguments presented in the briefing. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the unopposed Motion to Dismiss.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that pleadings contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff “must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim of relief that is plausible on its face.’” Traverse Bay Area Int. Sch. Dist. v. Mich. Dep’t of Educ., 615 F.3d 622, 627 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility means that “the complaint has to ‘plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant[s are] liable for the misconduct alleged.’” Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund v. Std. & Poor’s Fin. Servs., LLC, 700 F.3d 829, 835 (6th Cir. 2012) (alteration in original) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “This standard does not require detailed factual allegations, but a complaint containing a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion of a legally cognizable right of action is insufficient.” HDC, LLC v. City of Ann Arbor, 675 F.3d 608, 614 (6th Cir. 2012) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

The court must “accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiffs.” Bennet v. MIS Corp., 607 F.3d 1076, 1091 (6th Cir. 2010). The court “need not, however, accept unwarranted factual inferences.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Nor are “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements” entitled to an assumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]’-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

II. ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs Corey and Shonta Wheeler are a married couple. (Dkt. 1-2, Compl., at ¶ 1.) Around August 7, 2006, they entered into a mortgage with Defendant Long Beach Mortgage Company (“LBMC”) to secure their loan for a purchase of property located at 44712 Greenbriar Drive, Unit 93, Belleville, Michigan in Wayne County (“Property”). (Id. at ¶¶ 6, 7.) Defendants attached a copy of the Mortgage to their Motion to Dismiss. (Dkt. 6-2, Mortgage.) In 2006, Plaintiffs refinanced. (Compl. at ¶ 12.) Plaintiffs allege that they received a higher interest rate due to “predator lending practices” targeting minority consumers. (Id. at ¶ 13.)

Defendant Washington Mutual Bank later acquired LBMC and Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“Chase”) eventually acquired Washington Mutual. (Compl. at ¶ 8.) On September 6, 2012, the Mortgage was assigned to Defendant DeutscheBank as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-9. (Dkt. 6-3, Assignment.) Plaintiffs defaulted and DeutscheBank initiated foreclosure proceedings. (Id. at ¶ 16.) Defendants attached the Sheriff’s Deed to their Motion. (Dkt. 6-4, Sheriff’s Deed.) The Deed shows that DeutscheBank purchased the Property for $273, 408.63 at a Sheriff’s Sale on March 27, 2014. (Id.) Plaintiffs have not redeemed the property.

On September 26, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in Michigan state court. (Compl.) The Complaint alleges four counts: Wrongful Foreclosure, Breach of Contract, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, and Steering. (Id.) The Complaint names as Defendants LBMC, JPMorgan Chase, Washington Mutual, and DeutscheBank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-9. (Id.) Defendants Chase, “individually and in its capacity as acquirer of certain assets and liabilities of Washington Mutual, ” and DeutscheBank removed the Complaint to this Court on October 21, 2014.[1] (Dkt. 1.) These Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss on December 8, 2014. (Dkt. 6.) Plaintiffs have not responded. (See Dkt.)

III. ANALYSIS

The fact that Plaintiffs have failed to respond to the Motion to Dismiss means that the Court could simply grant the motion as unopposed. Bazinski v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 13-14337, 2014 WL 1405253, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 11, 2014) (“Claims left to stand undefended against a motion to dismiss are deemed abandoned.” (citing cases)); see also Jones v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC, No. 14-11642, 2014 WL 5307168, at *4 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 16, 2014); Thielen v. GMAC Mortgage Corp., 671 F.Supp.2d 947, 957 (E.D. Mich. 2009). Nonetheless, the Court has reviewed Defendants’ brief and is satisfied that their Motion to Dismiss should be granted for the reasons that follow.

A. Standing

The Court is not convinced by Defendants’ assertion that Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the foreclosure because the statutory redemption period has expired. (Mot. at 5–6.) It is true that Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.3204 provides the mortgagor six months in which to redeem a foreclosed property, and that once this period expires, “the mortgagor’s right, title, and interest in and to the property are extinguished.” Conlin v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., 714 F.3d 355, 359 (6th Cir. 2013). It is also true that “Michigan courts have ‘drastically circumscribed’ judicial review of foreclosures in the interest of ‘impos[ing] order on the foreclosure process while still giving security and ...


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