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Walton v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

October 15, 2014

MARILYN A. WALTON, Plaintiff,
v.
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., as successor by merger to BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP, and DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY f/k/a BANKERS TRUST COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, N.A., Defendants.

ORDER

RICHARD W. STORY, District Judge.

This case comes before the Court on Defendants Bank of America, N.A. and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company's Motion to Dismiss [18], Defendant Secretary of Veterans Affairs's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint [19], and Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Sally Quillian Yates & R. David Powell Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint and Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Motion to Dismiss [20]. After considering the Record, the Court enters the following Order.

Background

This case arises out of a mortgage loan on residential property located at 4605 Wonder Valley Trail, Decatur, Georgia 30034 (the "Property"). It appears, based on the facts presented to this Court, that on September 25, 1998, Plaintiff purchased the Property from the Department of Veterans Affairs (the "VA") and executed a promissory note in the amount of $90, 187.50 and security deed in favor of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to secure a mortgage on the Property. (Dkt. [1-1], Ex. B and E.) The security deed was then assigned to Bankers Trust Company of California, N.A. ("Bankers Trust") on February 25, 1999. (Dkt. [1-1], Ex. G.)

Walton applied to Defendant Bank of America, N.A. ("BANA") for a loan modification; her application was denied. (Am. Compl., Dkt. [17] ΒΆΒΆ 47, 84.) In 2014, BANA communicated with Plaintiff about loan modifications and foreclosure prevention alternatives. (Id. at 27-36.)

Plaintiff filed this quiet title action in Dekalb County Superior Court on February 15, 2013. Asserting diversity jurisdiction, Bank Defendants then removed the action to this Court on March 22, 2013, and Bank Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss [3] on March 29, 2013. CitiMortgage, Inc. [10] and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs [14] also moved to dismiss.

On February 27, 2014, the Court granted the Bank Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Quiet Title Complaint [16]. The Court directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint consistent with the Court's opinion and order, and denied Defendants the Secretary of Veterans Affairs's and CitiMortgage's motions to dismiss as moot. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [17] on March 12, 2014. Defendant the Secretary of Veterans Affairs [19] and Defendants Bank of America and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company [18] each move to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike Sally Quillian Yates & R. David Powell Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint and Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Motion to Dismiss [20] ("Motion to Strike"). The Court considers each Motion below.

Discussion

I. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." While this pleading standard does not require "detailed factual allegations, " "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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In order to withstand a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 570). A complaint is plausible on its face when the plaintiff pleads factual content necessary for the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the conduct alleged. Id.

At the motion to dismiss stage, "all-well pleaded facts are accepted as true, and the reasonable inferences therefrom are construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc. , 187 F.3d 1271, 1273 n.1 (11th Cir. 1999). However, the same does not apply to legal conclusions set forth in the complaint. Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co. , 578 F.3d 1252, 1260 (11th Cir. 2009) (citing Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678. Furthermore, the court does not "accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555.

"The district court generally must convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment if it considers materials outside the complaint." D.L. Day v. Taylor , 400 F.3d 1272, 1275-76 (11th Cir. 2005); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 12(d). However, documents attached to a complaint are considered part of the complaint. FED. R. CIV. P. 10(c). Documents "need not be physically attached to a pleading to be incorporated by reference into it; if the document's contents are alleged in a complaint and no party questions those contents, [the court] may consider such a document, " provided it is central to the plaintiff's claim. D.L. Day , 400 F.3d at 1276. At the motion to dismiss phase, the Court may also consider "a document attached to a motion to dismiss... if the attached document is (1) central to the plaintiff's claim and (2) undisputed." Id . (citing Horsley v. Feldt , 304 F.3d 1125, 1134 (11th Cir. 2002)). "Undisputed' means that the authenticity of the document is not challenged." Id.

Finally, because Plaintiff is acting pro se, her "pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed." Tannenbaum v. United States , 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998). "This leniency, however, does not require or allow courts to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order to ...


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