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Mbongo v. Jp Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

August 9, 2013

FLAUBERT MBONGO, et al., pro se Plaintiffs,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PETER J. MESSITTE, District Judge.

Flaubert Mbongo and Charlotte Dikongue ("Plaintiffs"), pro se, have sued JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Defendants") for breach of contract (Count I), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count H), and promissory estoppel (Count III), alleging that Defendants wrongfully denied them a trial period plan (TPP) that would have given them an opportunity to qualify for a modified mortgage under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program ("RAMP"). Plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment on all counts [Paper No. 20], and Defendants have cross-moved for summary judgment on all counts [Paper No. 30].

For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED, and Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

I.

Plaintiffs fell on hard times and were rendered unable to make the mortgage payments on their home in Silver Spring, Maryland.[1] On April 3, 2010, they contacted Defendant banks to request modification of their mortgage under HAMP, a federal initiative intended to avoid foreclosures by creating incentives for the modification of outstanding mortgage loans.

Plaintiffs allege that they received a letter dated July 9, 2010 from Defendants stating that, if they met the eligibility criteria, including submitting all of the required documentation, they would be offered a TPP, i.e. a three month or longer trial period in which borrowers make payments under modified payment terms. If Plaintiffs were offered a TPP, and if they complied with the TPP agreement and if their representations remained true and correct, they would be offered permanent modification of their mortgage.

Plaintiffs allege that during the thirteen months following the initial invitation letter, they sent in all the required documentation numerous times. They submit that their documentation was met by continuous letters from Defendants telling them that they would be considered for a TPP if they sent in the required documentation. Then, on November 29, 2010, say Plaintiffs, they were told for the first time that they were being denied modification because of their failure to send in required documentation. However, on December 28, 2010 and again on February 1, 2011, Plaintiffs were allegedly invited by Defendants to once again apply for a HAMP modification. Plaintiffs claim that the same cycle ensued as before, in which the Banks' repeated requests for documentation were met with prompt submissions of the requested documentation. But on April 20. 2011, Plaintiffs were told for a second time that they were being declared ineligible for a TPP because of a failure to send in the requested documentation. Despite receiving yet another invitation from Defendants to apply for HAMP, Plaintiffs suggest they had grown exasperated with their futile back-and-forth with Defendants and therefore filed suit against them in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. The case was removed to this Court on the basis of federal question and diversity jurisdiction and is presently before the Court on dispositive motions.

II.

Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A dispute of fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). Summary judgment may be granted against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the elements essential to the party's claim and on which the party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.

In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must "draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Masson v. New Yorker Mag., Inc., 501 U.S. 496, 520 (1991) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). However, it is the "affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to trial." Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 526 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Drewin v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993), and citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24).

III.

Plaintiffs ask for summary judgment on all three of their claims against Defendants: (1) breach of contract, (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and (3) promissory estoppel. Defendants have filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on all these claims.

The Court finds that Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the facts they allege establish no cognizable cause of action. Defendants' Cross-Motion ...


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