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Richardson v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas

December 12, 2008

BENNETT RICHARDSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS; DR. JOSEF ACKERMANN; DR. HUGO BANZINGER; ANTHONY DIIORIO; STEFFAN KRAUSE; HERMANN-JOSEF LAMBERTI; SAXON MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC.; DAVID DILL; VALERIE CLARK; LYNETTE ANDERSON; REGIONSBANK; C. DOWD RITTER; O.B. GRAYSON HALL, JR.; DAVID B. EDMONDS; IRENE ESTEVES; G. TIMONTHY LANEY; DAVID H. RUPP; AND WILLIAM C. WELLS, II, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge

(JUDGE CAPUTO)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are motions to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint filed by Defendants Dr. Josef Ackermann, Dr. Hugo Banzinger, Anthony DiIorio, Stefan Krause, Hermann-Josef Lamberti, David Dill, Valerie Clark, Lynette Anderson, C. Down Ritter, O.B. Grayson Hall Jr., David B. Edmonds, Irene Esteves, G. Timonthy Laney, David H. Rupp, and William C. Wells, II (hereinafter "Individual Defendants"), (Doc. 5), Defendants Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas ("Deutsche Bank") and Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. ("Saxon"), (Doc. 6), and Defendant Regions Bank, (Doc. 7). For the reasons detailed below, Defendants' motions will be granted.

The Court has jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.

BACKGROUND

On March 3, 2004, Plaintiff Bennett Richardson executed a promissory note and obtained a mortgage loan from Defendant Regions Bank. (Compl., Doc. 2 at 2.) This promissory note and mortgage loan were subsequently assigned to Defendant Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas and Saxon Mortgage Services. (Indiv. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. 5 ¶ 1.) On September 23, 2008, Plaintiff Bennett Richardson, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint in the Court of the Common Pleas of Monroe County, Forty-Third Judicial District, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 2.)

In his complaint, the Plaintiff sought to have the court declare the March 3, 2004 mortgage null and void due to alleged fraud committed by the Defendants. (Id. at 8.) These allegations of fraud surround Defendant Regions Bank's July 12, 2004 assignment of Plaintiff's mortgage to Deutsche Bank and Saxon. According to Plaintiff, his signature on the March 3, 2004 promissory note paid for the associated property in full and gave Regions Bank full credit for the purchase fo the property. (Id. at 2.) The Plaintiff further claims that Regions Bank failed to disclose this information to him because Region's Bank desired to trade the promissory note for profit without sharing the proceeds to the Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff states that this "fractional banking method deliberately steals proceeds from the true owners of the promissory note and the [Plaintiff's] promissory note should have returned after [Regions Bank] received full credit for the purchase of the property. (Id. at 2-3.) Plaintiff claims that, instead, his promissory note was taken, held, and solicited for profit by Regions Bank without Plaintiff's permission and without distribution of any proceeds to the Plaintiff. (Id. at 3.)

Plaintiff further avers that Saxon and Deutsche Bank committed securities fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 513 and 1962 because they are not in possession of the original promissory note bearing Plaintiff's original signature. (Id. at 5) Plaintiff further states that, neither Saxon nor Deutsche Bank are holders in due course and, because they are not in possession fo the original promissory note, they lack standing or capacity as mortgagees under the mortgage assignment agreement. (Id.) According to Plaintiff the assignment of his mortgage, thus, constitutes fraud because Regions Bank, Saxon, and Deutsche Bank did not fully disclose their assignment agreement to the Plaintiff. (Id.).

On October 8, 2008 all Defendants jointly removed this case to this Court based on the presence of federal question subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. 1.) On October 15, 2008, the Individual Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 5.) That same day, Defendants Deutsche Bank and filed their Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint with an alternative Motion for a More Definite Statement and Memorandum in Support Thereof. (Doc. 6.) Finally, Defendant Regions Bank also filed a Motion to Dismiss with an alternative Motion for a More Definite Statement and Memorandum in Support Thereof on October 15, 2008. (Doc. 7.) Plaintiff failed to timely respond to any of the three motions and, on November 19, 2008, this Court issued an Order notifying the Plaintiff that if he did not respond to Defendants' motions within fifteen (15) days of the Order, the Court would grant Defendants' motions to dismiss as unopposed. On December 4, 2008, Plaintiff filed a Brief in Opposition (Doc. 27) to all three motions to dismiss. Thus, Defendants' motions have been thoroughly briefed and are currently ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff has not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1960, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), meaning, enough factual allegations "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, --- U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1042 (1994). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 1998), nor credit a complaint's "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of the claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. The defendant bears the burden of establishing that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

The Court further notes that Plaintiff Richardson is appearing in this case in a pro se capacity, and the Court will afford his filings a liberal construction. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (holding pro se filings to a less ...


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