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Natarajan v. Raju

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 27, 2017

VEERIYA NATARAJAN Plaintiff
v.
SARAVANAN BABU RAJU, et al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PETER J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Veeriya Natarajan (“Natarajan”) has sued Saravanan Babu Raju (“Babu”), his wife Umarani Natesan (“Natesan”), and a company with which they are affiliated - Washington University of Technology, Inc. (“WUT”) - for Fraud in the Inducement, Breach of Contract, Unjust Enrichment and Attorney's Fees. He has sued Babu separately for Breach of Oral Contract; and has sued together Babu and AIMU-CUC Center for Medical Science, LLC (“AIMU”), an entity affiliated with Natesan, for Unjust Enrichment. He has also sued together Rajesh Bhandari and Sakson Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Sakson Settlements (“Sakson”) for Aiding and Abetting (Count IV).

         Bhandari and Sakson have filed a Motion to Dismiss Count IV for Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted (“Motion to Dismiss”).[1] ECF No. 5. For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss will be DENIED.

         I.

         This dispute centers on a series of three loans that Natarajan allegedly made to Babu, Natesan, and WUT or AIMU (“Defendants”) in March and April 2014.[2] These are the pertinent details:

         On March 19, 2014, Natarajan entered into a written agreement with Babu, Natesan, and WUT to lend them $3, 000, 000 to complete the purchase of real property in Lanham, Maryland, from Washington Bible College (“WBC”). ECF No. 1 ¶ 12; ECF No. 5-1 at 2. Babu allegedly represented to Natarajan that WUT already “owned” the property. ECF No. 1 ¶ 10. Title to the property was said to be in escrow, the suggestion being that perhaps WUT held an equitable interest in the property. Pursuant to the agreement, Babu and Natesan were to be guarantors of the loan and Natarajan was to be a secondary lienholder on the property. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 13, 17, 18.

         According to Natarajan, on or about March 25, 2014, Babu and Bhandari, who was the sole officer of Sakson, phoned him and represented that Sakson was the settlement company that would handle the closure of the sale of the property from WBC to WUT. Id. ¶ 22. In response to a question put by Natarajan, Bhandari allegedly advised him that his interest in the property did not need to be recorded in order to be preserved and that WUT intended to pay cash for the property. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 24-26.

         On May 21, 2014, Natarajan wired $1, 000, 000 to WUT pursuant to the loan agreement. Id. at 1¶ 35. By the terms of the agreement, the loan was to be repaid by June 30, 2014 at an interest rate of 7.5 percent per annum through June 30, 2014 and at an interest rate of 12 percent per annum after June 30, 2014. Id. ¶ 36.

         As it turned out, WUT did not own WBC and the WBC property was eventually sold to a buyer other than WUT. As it also turned out, WUT apparently never held any equitable or legal interest in to the property. Id. at 39.

         In a separate transaction, Natarajan made two additional loans to AIMU, [3] one on April 16, 2014 ($150, 000) and the other on April 18, 2014 ($100, 000)(“April loans”). ECF No.1 ¶¶ 29-34. Both of these loans were to be repaid by June 30, 2014 at an interest rate of 7.5% per annum. Id. at ¶¶ 30, 33. Babu, Natesan, WUT and AIMU allegedly never repaid these loans. Id. ¶ 38.

         As a result, Natarajan filed the present suit alleging seven causes of action, as previously indicated. Except for Bhandari and Sakson, all other Defendants have answered the Complaint. ECF No. 6. For present purposes, the Court considers only the cause of action against Bhandari and Sakson for Aiding and Abetting, and whether it is subject to dismissal or summary judgment ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 61-65.

         II.

         A party may move for dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), where a complaint fails to state facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). With few exceptions, the court limits itself to the pleadings when considering such a motion. “A court reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) generally may not consider extrinsic evidence.” Lupo v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Civil Action No. DKC 14-0475, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130869, at *47 (D. Md. Sep. 28, 2015).

         In support of their Motion to Dismiss, Bhandari and Sakson argue (1) that Bhandari never called Natarajan on March 25, 2014, ECF No. 5-1 at 3, (2) that, even if he did call on that date, he would not have discussed the loan agreement with respect to the proposed purchase of WBC because the agreement had already been Dated: March 19, 2014, which was before the alleged phone call, Id. at ...


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