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Angeloff v. Deardorff

November 23, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane


Pending before the Court are Defendant Wells Fargo's motion to dismiss and brief in support. (Doc. Nos. 54, 55.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendant's motion to dismiss.


A. Factual Background*fn1

In July 2008, Plaintiffs were facing a sheriff's sale of their home located in Enola, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 40 ¶ 18.) Defendants James Deardorff and Joanne Seeley ran a program which offered "consumer credit counseling" and ways to prevent a sheriff's sale of a home ("the Program"). (Id. ¶ 20.) In response to flyers and other solicitations regarding the Program, Plaintiffs met with Seeley and Deardorff on July 17, 2008. (Id. ¶ 24.) Plaintiffs agreed to enter the Program, and on August 14, 2008, Plaintiffs met with Seeley and Deardorff for a settlement conference. (Id. ¶¶ 26, 35.) Plaintiffs believed they were "transferring their equity to someone else so that they would receive money to take care of their bills, that they would receive credit counseling to assist them and that they would remain in ownership of their home." (Id. ¶ 43.) Instead, Plaintiffs signed over a deed to Joseph Topper. (Doc. No. 1-5.) The deed stated that Plaintiffs received $184,000 in consideration. (Id.) Topper entered into a mortgage loan with Wells Fargo for $166,410 to purchase the property from Plaintiffs. (Doc. No. 1-6.) Although the settlement statement indicated that Plaintiffs were due $101,905.86 in cash from the sale, Plaintiffs received only $1,200 and were given a $9,546 credit. (Doc. No. 40 ¶ 46.) The remaining moneys were withheld by Seeley and Deardorff. (Id. ¶ 47.)

Also on August 14, 2008, Plaintiffs entered into an "Installment Contract" with Topper. (Doc. No. 1-9.) According to the contract, Plaintiffs agreed to make scheduled payments to Topper, Seeley, or Deardorff. (Id. ¶¶ 50, 51; Doc. No. 1-9.) Plaintiffs missed a payment on January 1, 2009, and on January 14, 2009 Seeley gave Plaintiffs notice to leave the premises. (Doc. No. 40 ¶ 53.) Plaintiffs continue to reside at the home, and Wells Fargo is continuing foreclosure proceedings on the property. (Id. ¶ 63.)

B. Procedural Background

Plaintiffs filed a complaint in this action on November 5, 2009. (Doc. No. 1.) On June 14, 2010, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, alleging eight causes of action against Wells Fargo. (Doc. No. 40.) On August 16, 2010, Wells Fargo filed the present motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' amended complaint (Doc. No. 54) and a brief in support (Doc. No. 55). In response, Plaintiffs have filed a one-page reply which states in full, "The paragraph calls for a conclusion of law for which no response is necessary." (Doc. No. 58 at 1.) Plaintiffs have filed no further response.


In analyzing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), "courts accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)). The plaintiff still must provide more than a formulaic recitation of a claim's elements that amounts to mere labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007). Additionally, the complaint's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. This does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234 (internal quotations and citations omitted).


Wells Fargo claims that for each count asserted against it, Plaintiffs have failed to plead sufficient facts to state a claim for relief. The Court will address each count against Wells Fargo in turn.

A. Federal and State Due Process

In Count 1, Plaintiffs allege that Wells Fargo violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because it deprived Plaintiffs of their property rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. No. 40 ¶ 68.) To state a claim under § 1983, Plaintiffs must establish two jurisdictional requisites. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., Inc., 457 U.S. 922, 946 (1982). First, Plaintiffs must allege a violation of a right "secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Id. Second, Plaintiffs must show that the alleged deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Id. Wells Fargo contends that Plaintiffs' federal ...

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