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Antell v. First Niagara Bank

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 7, 2014

CHARLES ANTELL, Plaintiff,
v.
FIRST NIAGARA BANK, et al., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CYNTHIA M. RUFE, J., District Judge.

Before the Court are Charles Antell's Amended Complaint and Defendants' motions to dismiss it, as well as Antell's motion for leave to file his proposed Revised Second Amended Complaint and the Citi Defendants' response in opposition. For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss will be granted and leave to amend denied.

I. Introduction

Charles Antell, pro se, has sued several banks, including First Niagara Bank, successor to Harleysville National Bank, which issued him a mortgage; several companies affiliated with Citibank ("the Citi Defendants"), the owner of a security backed by Antell's mortgage; and U.S. Bank, trustee for the pool of securities that the Citi Defendants invested in.

Antell seeks leave to file his Revised Second Amended Complaint, and Defendants oppose it, arguing that the proposed document is not substantially different from either the Complaint or the Amended Complaint. The Complaint failed to allege facts that supported a cognizable legal theory, and therefore the Court dismissed it. The Amended Complaint winnowed down the allegations and sought relief for breach of contract and an injunction against foreclosure, arguing that securitizing a mortgage destroys a holder's security interest. Defendants moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint, and Antell replied by seeking leave to file a Second Amended Complaint, which changed the legal theory under which Antell sued to a quiet title action.[1] Defendants opposed the motion for leave, and Plaintiff then moved to file a Revised Second Amended Complaint, alleging several new claims.

Antell's motion for leave to file the Revised Second Amended Complaint renders his motion to file the Second Amended Complaint moot. The Court assesses first the proposed Revised Second Amended Complaint and determines that because it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, the motion for leave to file will be denied as futile.[2] The Court also concludes that the Amended Complaint also fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, and therefore the motions to dismiss the Amended Complaint will be granted.[3] The dismissal will be with prejudice because Plaintiff has failed four times to state a claim for relief, and further amendment would be futile.

II. Proposed Revised Second Amended Complaint

A. RESPA Claims

Antell asserts violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 ("RESPA"), specifically that Defendants failed to respond to his "qualified written requests, " in violation of 12 U.S.C. ยง 2605(e). Section 2605(f)(1) provides that in the event of a failure to reply to a qualified written request, a lender shall be liable for "an amount equal to the sum of (A) any actual damages to the borrower as a result of the failure; and (B) any additional damages, as the court may allow, in the case of a pattern or practice of noncompliance with the requirements of this section, in an amount not to exceed $2, 000." However, Plaintiff fails to allege that he has suffered any damages from the banks' failures to respond to his requests, and therefore the banks cannot be liable to him under the statute.

B. TILA Claims

Antell also alleges violations of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), which, among other things, requires that when a mortgage loan is transferred to a new owner the transfer must be disclosed to the mortgagor.[4] However, as far can be seen from the proposed Revised Second Amended Complaint and the Securitization Audit[5] that Antell attaches to it, the last act he complains of occurred on April 30, 2007. The TILA claim is thus barred by the one-year statute of limitations and the fact that the section of TILA under which Antell proceeds was enacted in 2009 and is not retroactive.[6]

C. PSA Claims

The proposed Revised Second Amended Complaint also states that U.S. Bank and the Citi Defendants are in breach of the requirements of the Pooling Service Agreement ("PSA") that governs the trust in which Antell's mortgage is held. However, since Antell is neither the trustee nor the beneficiary of the trust, under New York law (which Antell ...


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