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Bishop v. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 7, 2014

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

William Edward Bishop, Bear, Delaware. Pro se Plaintiff.

Gary William Lipkin, Esquire, Duane Morris LP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants JP Morgan Chase & Co. and JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD G. ANDREWS, District Judge.

Plaintiff William Edward Bishop filed this action against Defendants JPMorgan Chase & Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, and John Doe for violating the Truth-in-Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq. [1] (D.I. 1). Chase & Co. and JPMorgan Bank move to strike allegations pled in the amended complaint, to dismiss the amended complaint with prejudice or, alternatively, to stay the action pending the resolution of a related state court action. (D.I. 36, 37). Plaintiff opposes that portion of Defendants' motion that seeks to strike allegations. (D.I. 39). His response does not address the other grounds raised in Defendants' motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

The present action arises from a pending foreclosure action filed by JPMorgan Bank in the Superior Court of the State Delaware on November 20, 2012. ( See D.l. 38, ex. A). The underlying facts are well-known to the parties and are fully set forth in the June 21, 2013 Report and Recommendation issued by United States Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge. ( See D.l. 23). The amended complaint contains fifteen counts of alleged TILA violations relating to the assignment of Plaintiff's mortgage to JPMorgan Bank. For relief, Plaintiff seeks the amount of the claimed mortgage plus court costs and expenses. (D.I. 36, ¶ 77). On the same day Plaintiff initiated this action, he filed a motion to dismiss the foreclosure action arguing the same or similar TILA issues presented in the federal complaint. ( See D.l. 37, ex. B).

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint in the instant case on February 22, 2013, granted by the court on August 5, 2013. (D.I. 27). Plaintiff was given leave to amend. Plaintiff appealed the ruling, and the appeal was dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction. On January 24, 2014;, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (D.I. 36).

The amended complaint contains some new language but, for the most part, is identical to the dismissed original complaint. The amended complaint adds statements regarding Plaintiff's education and employment, that the mortgagee did not comply with the thirty-day notice for assignments, that the FHA (i.e., Federal Housing Administration) purchased the mortgage on an unknown date, that "Defendants' attorneys failed to act by February 10, 2012, " and it mentions court ordered mediation. ( See D.l. 36). Defendants seek dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and the Younger abstention doctrine, see Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), and moves to strike pursuant to Rule 12(f). Plaintiff opposes the motion to strike, and argues that Defendants improperly included exhibits in an attempt to argue the facts of the case. (D.I. 39).

STANDARDS OF REVIEW

Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). "In deciding motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts generally consider only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim." Lum v. Bank of Am., 361 F.3d 217, 221 n.3 (3d Cir. 2004).

A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). The assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or to "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When determining whether dismissal is appropriate, the court must take three steps: "(1) identify[] the elements of the claim, (2) review[] the complaint to strike conclusory allegations, and then (3) look[] at the well-pleaded components of the complaint and evaluat[e] whether all of the elements identified in part one of the inquiry are sufficiently alleged." Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts in the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). Deciding whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. Because Plaintiff proceeds prose, his pleading is liberally construed and his Complaint, "however in artfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Rule 12(f) provides that "[t]he court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." "The purpose of a motion to strike is to clean up the pleadings, streamline litigation, and avoid unnecessary forays into immaterial matters." Natale v. Winthrop Res. Corp., 2008 WL 2758238, at *14 (E.D. Pa. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). Immateriality has ben defined as "any matter having no value in developing the issues of a case." In re Catanella & E.F. Hutton and Co. Sec. Litig., 583 F.Supp. 1388, 1400 (E.D. Pa. 1984) (citation omitted). Relief under Rule 12(f) is generally disfavored and will be denied unless the allegations "have no possible relation to the controversy and may cause prejudice to one of the parties, or if the allegations confuse the issues in the case." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

DISCUSSION

Younger Abstention


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