United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division
TODD R. MEYER, et al., Plaintiffs,
VANTIUM CAPITAL, INC., Defendant.
WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.
Todd R. Meyer and Susan H. Meyer ("the Plaintiffs") sued Vantium Capital, Inc. d/b/a Acqura Loan Services ("Vantium") in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, for fraud and contract claims in connection with a mortgage loan on the Plaintiffs' property. On January 6, 2014, Vantium removed the case to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction. Pending is Vantium's motion to dismiss the complaint. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
On May 11, 2007, Susan H. Meyer obtained a mortgage on the property at 1428 Ivy Hill Road, Cockeysville, Maryland ("the Property"), from GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. for $600, 000.00. ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 6. To secure the loan, Mrs. Meyer signed a Note, and the Plaintiffs together signed a Deed of Trust. Id. The current servicer for the loan is Vantium. ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 7.
In June 2009, Mrs. Meyer defaulted on the loan. ECF No. 6-12 at 5. On May 16, 2011, the Plaintiffs filed for a loan modification with Vantium. ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 9. On October 31, 2011, Vantium confirmed that it would process the Plaintiffs' application under the Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP"). ECF No. 6-8 at 3.
When Vantium performed the NPV test on the Property, the outstanding principal balance on the mortgage was $599, 800.00, and Vantium valued the Property at $615, 000.00. ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 11. In a December 21, 2011 letter, Vantium informed the Plaintiffs that the NPV test on the Plaintiffs' property produced a negative result; thus, Vantium was unable to offer a HAMP modification. ECF No. 6-9 at 3.
In the December Letter, Vantium also stated:
You have 30 calendar days from the date of this letter to provide us with written evidence that one or more of the NPV input values is inaccurate.... If your written evidence identifies material inaccuracies in the NPV input values, we will not conduct a foreclosure sale until the inaccuracies are reconciled. If your written evidence is valid and material to the NPV outcome, we will re-perform the NPV evaluation with the corrected input values. Following the re-evaluation, we will provide you with the updated NPV outcomes and input values.
If you believe that the "Property Value" input used in the NPV evaluation differs from the fair market value of your home, you must provide us with a recent estimate of the property value and a reasonable basis for that estimate at the same time that you provide evidence of any other disputed NPV value inputs. We will then perform a test using your estimated value. If the test provides an NPV positive outcome, you have the right to request that we obtain an appraisal to confirm the value of your home and use that appraised value to conduct a new NPV evaluation....
ECF No. 6-9 at 3. On January 8, 2012, the Plaintiffs obtained an appraisal of the Property which calculated its fair market value as $535, 000.00. ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 16; ECF No. 6-11 at 4. The Plaintiffs paid $425.00 for the new appraisal. ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 16. The Plaintiffs sent the appraisal to Vantium for a new NPV evaluation. See ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 17. Vantium never performed a new NPV test. See ECF No. 6-3 ¶ 18.
On May 16, 2012, GreenPoint Mortgage assigned the Note and Deed of Trust to J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Corp. ECF No. 6-6 at 3-5. On June 21, 2012, the Substitute Trustees of the Deed of Trust initiated a foreclosure suit against the Plaintiffs. ECF No. 6-13 at 37.
On November 22, 2012, the Plaintiffs sued Vantium in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland. ECF No. 2. On January 6, 2014, Vantium removed the case to this Court. ECF No. 1. On January 13, 2014, Vantium moved to dismiss the complaint. ECF No. 9. On January 30, 2014, the Plaintiffs responded. ECF No. 12. On February 18, 2014, Vantium replied. ECF No. 13.
A. Legal Standard
1. Lack of Standing
The plaintiff bears the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction. Piney Run Pres. Ass'n v. Cnty. Comm'rs of Carroll Cnty., 523 F.3d 453, 459 (4th Cir. 2008). When, as here, a Rule 12(b) (1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction challenges the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint - and not their truth - the allegations are assumed to be true, and "the plaintiff, in effect is afforded the same procedural protections as he would receive" on a motion to dismiss "under... Rule 12(b) (6)." Kerns v. United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009).
2. Failure to State a Claim
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6), an action may be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b) (6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint, but does not "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).
The Court bears in mind that Rule 8(a) (2) requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001). Although Rule 8's notice-pleading requirements are "not onerous, " the plaintiff must allege facts that support each element of the claim advanced. Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 764-65 (4th Cir. 2003). These facts must be sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
This requires that the plaintiff do more than "plead facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability'"; the facts pled must "allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) ( quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). The complaint must not only allege but also "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Whe[n] the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of ...