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Bishop v. Jpmorgan Chase & Co.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

June 21, 2013

WILLIAM E. BISHOP, Plaintiff,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO., et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

MARY PAT THYNGE, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

In this matter, plaintiff, William Edward Bishop ("Bishop"), sued defendants, JPMorgan Chase & Co. ("JPM"); JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association ("JPMCB"); and, John Doe for violating the Truth-in-Lending Act ("TILA").[1] The complaint, filed on January 2, 2013, was apparently composed by Bishop and his brother Romie David Bishop, both non-attorneys.[2] The complaint, a compilation of claims and Bishop's arguments in support, alleges fifteen counts of TILA violations relating to the assignment of Bishop's mortgage to JPMCB.[3]

The present action arises from a foreclosure action filed by JPMCB in the Superior Court of Delaware on November 20, 2012.[4] In the state court action, JPMCB alleges Bishop failed to make payments on his mortgage.[5] On the same day the complaint was filed in the instant action, Bishop also filed a motion to dismiss the foreclosure action, arguing the same or similar TILA issues presented in his federal complaint.[6]

On February 22, 2013, defendants filed a motion to dismiss all fifteen counts of Bishop's complaint.[7] Alternatively, defendants moved to stay the action pending the resolution of the state court action.[8] Bishop filed his answering brief in opposition on March 25, 2013.[9] Defendants' reply brief was filed on April 4, 2013.[10]

Prior to a court resolution of the motion to dismiss, on May 28, 2013, Bishop filed a motion for judicial notice to further argue why the court should not grant defendants' motion to dismiss or to stay the proceedings.[11] On June 5, 2013, defendants responded that Bishop's motion for judicial notice operates as an improper sur-reply brief, which is prohibited in this court.[12] Both motions are now before the court.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Bishop owns residential property located in Delaware City, Delaware.[13] On April 1, 2008, Bishop closed on a refinanced loan for $120, 531 (the "mortgage") through Freedom Mortgage Corporation ("Freedom").[14] On April 17, 2008, the mortgage was recorded.[15] On June 1, 2011, Bishop defaulted on the mortgage.[16]

On January 10, 2012, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"), as nominee for Freedom, assigned the mortgage to JPMCB.[17] On February 7, 2012, that assignment was recorded.[18] JPMCB is a national banking association organized and existing under the laws of the United States, [19] and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JPM.[20]

In the state foreclosure action, JPMCB seeks $115, 666.19.[21] As noted previously, in his motion to dismiss filed in state court, Bishop asserts the same arguments under TILA raised in the instant action.[22]

Concurrent with his motion to dismiss the state foreclosure action, Bishop filed a complaint in this court against JPMCB, JPM, and John Doe under the TILA.[23] The complaint, however, is not typically formatted.[24] It consists of thirty-four pages, and contains a "statement of facts" and "argument" section.[25] It vaguely alleges TILA violations against all three defendants collectively, without differentiating the violations among them.[26] John Doe is listed as a defendant because Bishop alleges the disclosure statement assigning the mortgage to JPMCB is fraudulent, and there is a mystery company that currently holds, or used to hold, the mortgage other than Freedom, MERS, JPM, or JPMCB.[27] Bishop further asserts the time stamp and filing with the Delaware Recorder of Deeds is fraudulent.[28] He provides no factual basis to support the fraud allegation.[29]

Prior to the filing of the actions in this court and the Superior Court, on August 16, 2012, Bishop forwarded to JPMCB the first of two qualified written requests.[30] In his initial letter, he requested: "(1) a debt verification; (2) information about the account; (3) copies of documents; (4) a list of all employees with whom Bishop spoke since January 2010; (5) the original copy of the complete chain of title of the security instruments; and (6) a first lien principal reduction and modification."[31]

In the second request dated September 12, 2012, and sent to JPMCB, [32] Bishop represented:

(1) receipt of JPMCB-NA's response letter dated August 23, 2012;
(2) JPMCB-NA failed to provide employee contact information;
(3) the documents which JPMCB-NA enclosed, including HUD-1 and TILA Statement, showed a different loan number and/or was not a copy of the original;
(4) he requested a loan modification; and
(5) he would initiate bankruptcy proceedings if JPMCB-NA files an action against him.[33]

JPMCB responded to Bishop's written requests on at least seven separate occasions. Those letters provide:

(1) August 23, 2012: (a) acknowledges receipt of Bishop's August 21, 2012 letter, (b) provides the account details, (c) identifies the investor as "JPM Chase, " and (d) encloses the requested documents.
(2) September 1, 2012: advises JPMCB-NA is researching Bishop's questions.
(3) September 13, 2012: advises JPMCB-NA researching Bishop's questions.
(4) September 20, 2012: (a) acknowledges receipt of Bishop's August 11, 2012 letter, (b) identifies the obligation is with [JPMCB], (c) encloses the requested ...

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