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Gehman v. Argent Mortgage Co. LLC

July 8, 2010

AARON GEHMAN, PLAINTIFF
v.
ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY LLC, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James Knoll Gardner, United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendant Argent Mortgage Company, LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment, which motion was filed April 28, 2010 together with the Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant Argent Mortgage Company, LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant Argent Mortgage Company, LLC's Statement of Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.

For the following reasons, I grant in part Defendant Argent Mortgage Company, LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment, and enter judgment in favor of defendant and against plaintiff on all of plaintiff's federal claims. Specifically, I conclude that there are no genuine issues of material fact that would preclude summary judgment in defendant's favor on those claims. I decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's remaining state-law claims, and therefore dismiss as moot defendant's motion to the extent it seeks summary judgment on those claims.

JURISDICTION

Jurisdiction in this case is based upon federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This court has supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's pendent state-law claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

VENUE

Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the events giving rise to plaintiff's claims allegedly occurred within this judicial district.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff initiated this action on August 28, 2007 by filing an eleven-count civil Complaint against defendants Argent Mortgage Company, LLC ("Argent") and Dana Capital Group, Inc. ("Dana Capital"). Plaintiff's claims arise from agreements whereby plaintiff, through mortgage broker Dana Capital, secured a purchase money mortgage from defendant Argent to finance the purchase of real property. The gravamen of plaintiff's allegations is that Dana Capital and Argent failed to disclose certain relevant information about the loan, including a variable interest rate.

On October 8, 2007, defendant Argent moved to dismiss the Complaint. Plaintiff filed a seven-count Amended Complaint on October 19, 2007. The Amended Complaint alleges the following claims: Count One, which is untitled, alleges violations of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), specifically 15 U.S.C. §§ 1602(u), 1605(f), and 1606(c), and corresponding federal regulations; violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), specifically 12 U.S.C. §§ 2604(a)-(e), 2605(e), and 2607 and corresponding federal regulations; and Pennsylvania state-law statutory violations, including violation of the Pennsylvania Mortgage Bankers and Brokers and Consumer Equity Protection Act*fn1, the Pennsylvania Secondary Mortgage Loan Act*fn2, and the Pennsylvania Credit Services Act*fn3.

Count Two, which is also untitled, alleges that defendants failed to disclose to plaintiff the amount of a yield spread premium in violation of RESPA, 12 U.S.C. § 2604(c); and TILA, 15 U.S.C. § 1638(b). Count Three alleges violation of the Pennsylvania Credit Services Act against Dana Capital only. Count Four alleges violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law ("UTCPL")*fn4. Count Five alleges a state-law claim of fraud. Count Six alleges a state-law claim of civil conspiracy. Count Seven alleges a state-law claim of negligent misrepresentation. With the exception of Count Three, which is alleged against Dana Capital only, all counts appear to be alleged against both defendants.

By Order dated March 5, 2010, I dismissed the Complaint against defendant Dana Capital for failure to serve the Complaint and Summons on that defendant, pursuant to Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, without prejudice for plaintiff to refile his claims against Dana Capital. Accordingly, herein I address only those claims which are against defendant Argent.

On April 28, 2010, defendant Argent filed the within motion for summary judgment. Hence this Opinion.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must determine whether "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). See also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202, 211 (1986); Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation v. Scottsdale Insurance Company, 316 F.3d 431, 443 (3d Cir. 2003). Only facts that may affect the outcome of a case are "material". Moreover, all reasonable inferences from the record are drawn in favor of the non-movant. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, 106 S.Ct. at 2513, 91 L.Ed.2d at 216.

Although the movant has the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of genuine issues of material fact, the non-movant must then establish the existence of each element on which it bears the burden of proof. See Watson v. Eastman Kodak Company, 235 F.3d 851, 857-858 (3d Cir. 2000). Plaintiffs cannot avert summary judgment with speculation or by resting on the allegations in their pleadings, but rather they must present competent evidence from which a jury could reasonably find in their favor. Ridgewood Board of Education v. N.E. for M.E., 172 F.3d 238, 252 (3d Cir. 1999); Woods v. Bentsen, 889 F.Supp. 179, 184 (E.D.Pa. 1995).

FACTS

Based upon the pleadings, record papers, exhibits, and the uncontested concise statement of facts contained within defendant's motion for summary judgment and accompanying brief, the pertinent facts for purposes of the motion for summary judgment are as follows.*fn5

Plaintiff is the current owner of property located at 5 Host Church Road, Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania ("the Property"). In January 2005, plaintiff entered an agreement of sale to purchase the Property. Thereafter, plaintiff hired Dana Capital, a mortgage broker, to help him secure financing to purchase the Property. Plaintiff and Dana Capital entered into a Mortgage Loan Origination Agreement, in which Dana Capital advised plaintiff that Dana Capital would enter into separate independent contractor arrangements with lenders in order to assist plaintiff in securing a mortgage loan.

On August 26, 2005, Dana Capital, on plaintiff's behalf, submitted plaintiff's loan application to defendant Argent. Also on August 26, 2005, Argent provided plaintiff with preliminary estimated disclosures. Plaintiff received those preliminary disclosures on or around that same day. Argent's estimated TILA Disclosure and Good Faith Estimate both stated that the loan would have an adjustable interest rate. Argent also provided plaintiff with an ...


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