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Davenport v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 17, 2015

JACQUELINE DAVENPORT, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PETER J. MESSITTE, District Judge.

Jacqueline Davenport has sued Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Division (collectively, "Wells Fargo"), alleging (1) violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), (2) violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (MCPA), (3) negligence, (4) negligent supervision, and (5) fraudulent concealment, all of which are related to Wells Fargo's denial of her request for a loan modification. Wells Fargo has filed a Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 21). The Court GRANTS Wells Fargo's Motion for the following reasons.

I.

The facts are alleged in the Amended Complaint:

In late 2012 and early 2013, Davenport's annual income dropped from $166, 000 to $103, 000. Am. Compl. ¶ 8. She contacted Wells Fargo, her mortgage servicer, and inquired as to whether she was eligible to modify her home loan under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Id. ¶¶-11.A Wells Fargo representative informed her that she did not qualify for either program, but provided no further explanation. Id. ¶¶ 12-14. On April 25, 2013, Davenport then sent Wells Fargo a letter that she characterized as a Qualified Written Request (QWR), pursuant to § 2605(e) of RESPA, requesting information as to why it denied her request. Compl. Ex. A at 1.[1]

On May 7, 2013, Wells Fargo responded to the letter, stating, "Although you have referred to your letter as a Qualified Written Request' under [RESPA], it appears that your request is more of an attempt at discovery." Id. Ex. B at 1. Wells Fargo advised Davenport that 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e) provides a detailed method for disputing specific errors with servicing of a loan and her letter did not meet the requirements. Id. On May 30, 2013, Davenport sent another purported QWR, requesting the same information as in her first letter and taking issue with Wells Fargo's previous response. Id. Ex. C at 1-2. Wells Fargo replied to the second letter on June 21, 2013, advising Davenport that its response to her first letter already addressed her concerns. Id. Ex. Dat 1.

On July 25, 2014, Davenport filed a Complaint against Wells Fargo in this Court, which she amended on November 7, 2014. The Amended Complaint consists of five Counts: (1) violation of RESPA, (2) violation of the MCPA, (3) negligence, (4) negligent supervision, and (5) fraudulent concealment. The Court considers Wells Fargo's Motion to Dismiss.

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) prescribes "liberal pleading standards, " requiring only that a plaintiff submit a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he or she] is entitled to relief." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). If pleadings allege fraud or mistake, "a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting the fraud or mistake." Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). Under the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b), "[t]hese circumstances are the time, place, and contents of the false representations, as well as the identity of the person making the misrepresentations and what [he or she] obtained thereby.'" Weidman v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 776 F.3d 214, 219 (4th Cir. 2015) (quoting Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 784 (4th Cir. 1999)).

To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombley, 550 U.S. 554, 570 (2007). This standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although a court will accept factual allegations as true, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.

A district court has the discretion to grant a motion to dismiss with or without prejudice. Hinks v. Bd. of Educ. of Harford Cnty., 2010 WL 5087598, at *2 (D. Md. Dec. 7, 2010). Dismissal with prejudice is proper if there is no set of facts the plaintiff could present to support his or her claim. Id. (citing Cozzarelli v. Inspire Pharm., Inc., 549 F.3d 618, 630 (4th Cir. 2008)).

III.

A.

Davenport claims that Wells Fargo violated RESPA when it failed to properly respond to her two purported QWRs. She argues that her letters seeking information with respect to her request about modifying her home loan related to "servicing" of" her loan, as provided by RESPA, because a loan modification affects a borrower's ability to make payments. Wells Fargo counters that Davenport's letters did not constitute QWRs under RESPA ...


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