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Hastings v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 16, 2014

BRIAN HASTINGS, Plaintiff,
v.
OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC's ("Ocwen") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Brian Hastings's ("Hastings") Amended Complaint (ECF No. 20). The issues here have been fully briefed and the Motion is ripe for disposition. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2014). For the reasons outlined below, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

In November 2007, Hastings refinanced the mortgage on his home, located at 2923 Goat Hill Road, Bel Air, Maryland (the "Property"), by a loan from IndyMac Bank, FSB (the "Note"). The Note was secured by a deed of trust.

On September 1, 2010, Hastings filed a Complaint in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Harford County against OneWest Bank, FSB ("OneWest"), alleging OneWest breached an agreement to modify his mortgage loan; the action was removed to this Court on December 2, 2010. See Hastings v. OneWest Bank, FSB, No. GLR-10-3375 (D.Md. filed Dec. 2, 2010). On September 1, 2013, the servicing rights and obligations for Hastings's mortgage loan transferred from OneWest to Ocwen, and Ocwen accepted Hastings's offer to settle the prior lawsuit. See id. Prior to entering into the Settlement Agreement, the parties agreed that Hastings was current on the Note. Thereafter, Hastings made regular timely payments of $1, 400.05 per month to Ocwen, which included $972.93 in mortgage payments, $292.12 towards his escrow, and $135.00 to be applied to his principle balance.

Despite his compliance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement, Ocwen began to send Hastings letters claiming his payments were past due, his escrow account was short, and his hazard insurance had expired. Ocwen informed Hastings that his account had been charged late fees and that it would proceed to foreclosure unless he paid the purported balance of the note, $274, 534.76. Further, Ocwen informed Hastings that his credit rating could be negatively affected if he failed to pay this amount in full.

On January 24, 2014, Hastings sent Ocwen a Qualified Written Request ("QWR") seeking a full accounting of his loan and requesting that Ocwen correct the errors on his account. Ocwen acknowledged receipt of Hastings's QWR on February 11, 2014. On February 13 and 14, 2014, Ocwen responded to Hastings's QWR by providing a loan history and information concerning a prior loan for which Hastings had not requested information. Further, despite having renewed and updated his hazard insurance in March 2014, Ocwen sent Hastings a letter, dated May 17, 2014, informing him that it planned to purchase insurance for his property.

On May 23, 2014, Hastings filed a Complaint in the Circuit Court for Harford County, Maryland. (ECF No. 2). On July 14, 2014, Ocwen removed the case to this Court. (ECF No. 1). On August 4, 2014, Hastings filed an Amended Complaint, alleging violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act ("MCPA"), Md. Code. Ann., Com. Law §§ 13-101 et seq. (West 2014) and the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act ("MCDCA"), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 14-201 (West 2014) (Count One); the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act ("MMFPA"), Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. § 7-401(d) (West 2014) (Count Two); and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e) (2012) (Count Four). (ECF No. 16). The Complaint also includes claims of negligence (Count Three), tortious interference with an economic relationship (Count Five), and breach of settlement agreement (Count Six). Id . On August 21, 2014, Ocwen filed its Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 20). The Motion is ripe for disposition.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

A Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) (6) motion should be granted unless an adequately stated claim is "supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 (2007); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "[T]he purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to 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) (quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999)) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A complaint is also insufficient if it relies upon "naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (alteration in the original) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) (internal quotation marks omitted).

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must set forth "a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id .; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 547. A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, read the complaint as a whole, and take the facts asserted therein as true. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). "Conclusory allegations regarding the legal effect of the facts alleged, " however, need not be accepted. Labram v. Havel, 43 F.3d 918, 921 (4th Cir. 1995) (citing United Mine Workers of Am., Inc. v. Wellmore Coal Corp., 609 F.2d 1083, 1085-86 (4th Cir. 1979). Because the central purpose of the complaint is to provide the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it ...


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