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Thompson v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

August 27, 2014

SHERRY L. THOMPSON, et al., Plaintiffs,


WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

Sherry L. Thompson and David F. Thompson ("the Thompsons") sued JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("Chase") for violating the Fair Debt Collection Procedures Act ("FDCPA"), [1] the Equal Credit Opportunity Act ("ECOA"), [2] the Maryland Consumer Protection Act ("MCPA"), [3] and the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act ("MMFPA"), [4] and for common law trespass. ECF No. 1. Pending is the defendant's motion to dismiss. ECF No. 7. No. hearing is necessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background[5]

In 2001 the Thompsons purchased real property located at 1417 Bittersweet Road, Severn, Maryland 21144 ("Bittersweet Road" or the "Property"). ECF No. 1 ¶ 9. From 2001 until 2005 the Thompsons resided at Bittersweet Road. Id. ¶¶ 10, 12-13. During that time, the Thompsons "raised their family, celebrated holidays, birthdays, anniversaries[, ] and engaged in family activities." Id. ¶ 10. In 2005, financial difficulties forced the Thompsons to move in with Mrs. Thompson's parents and they placed Bittersweet Road on the market. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. In January 2006, when it failed to sell, the Thompson leased Bittersweet Road to tenants. Id. ¶ 17.[6]

On November 22, 2006, the Thompson executed a Note in the amount of $361, 500.00 secured by a Deed of Trust to Bittersweet Road. ECF No. 1-9 at 3. The Deed of Trust identified Chase as the lender. ECF No. 1-13 at 1. In 2007, the Thompsons purchased their current home at 49730 School House Lane, Dameron, Maryland 20628. Id. ¶¶ 6, 24.

On July 1, 2009, the Thompsons failed to make the monthly payment then due, and - on July 2, 2009 - the loan went into default. ECF No. 1-9 at 3; see also ECF No. 1 ¶ 109. On April 20, 2012, Chase sent the Thompsons a Notice of Intent to Foreclose on the Property ("Foreclosure Notice"). ECF No. 1-11 at 1. The Foreclosure Notice identified Chase as the loan servicer and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("FHLMC") as the secured party. Id. at 4.

On or around December 24, 2012, the Thompsons, through their attorney, submitted a Request for Mortgage Assistance ("RMA") under the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP"). ECF No. 1 ¶ 99. In the RMA the Thompsons requested a reduction in the amount of the principal owing on the loan. Id. ¶¶ 106-109.[7] On February 15, 2013, Chase denied the RMA for reason of incompleteness. Id. ¶ 105. On March 2, 2013, Chase issued a letter informing the Thompsons that a "recent inquiry about [their] loan" was "under review" and to expect a timely response. Id. ¶ 69; ECF No. 1-5 at 1.[8] On March 5, 2013, Chase again wrote the Thompsons stating:

We have received your request to be considered again for a mortgage modification. We are not able to approve your request. We can't begin to determine if you are eligible until we receive all the documents we need from you. If you have received this letter more than once, it's because we still need one or more of the documents listed below. ECF No. 1 ¶ 70.

The Thompsons allege that Chase had received a completed application as of March 5, but they did not receive subsequent notice from Chase regarding its decision on the completed application. Id. ¶¶ 71, 85.[9] On March 29, 2013 Chase entered, [10] changed the locks on, and "winterized" the Property. Id. ¶ 59.[11]

On July 9, 2013, the Thompsons filed suit alleging violations of the FDCPA (Counts One and Two), the MCPA (Count Three), the ECOA (Counts Four and Six), and the MMFPA (Count Five). ECF No. 1.[12] The Thompsons further allege that Chase committed trespass (Count Seven). Id. On September 27, 2013, Chase moved to dismiss the complaint. ECF No. 7. On November 12, 2013, the Thompsons opposed the motion. ECF No. 11. On December 2, 2013, Chase replied. ECF No. 12.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard for Motion to Dismiss

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 ...

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