United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MARY E. GLOVER, Plaintiff,
MARK J. UDREN, UDREN LAW OFFICES, P.C., WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, GOLDMAN SACHS MORTGAGE COMPANY Defendants.
DONETTA W. AMBROSE, District Judge.
This action was removed to this Court on July 14, 2008 and referred to United States Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell for pretrial proceedings in accordance with Magistrate Judges Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule of Court 72.0 and 72.D.
The remaining claims in the present action against Wells Fargo are as follows: (1) breach of contract (Count I); (2) unjust enrichment (Count IX); (3) violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(2)(a) and 1692f(l) (Count XI); (4) violation of the Pennsylvania Loan Interest and Protection Law ("Act 6"), 41 P.S. § 502 (Count XVI); and (5) violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law ("UTPCPL") "catch-all" provision, 73 P.S. § 201-2(4)(xxi) (Count XVII).
Defendant, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage ("Wells Fargo"), filed a motion for summary judgment on February 18, 2014. See Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. [ECF No. 652]; Def.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. [ECF No. 653]. Plaintiff, Mary E. Glover, submitted her response on March 27, 2014 [ECF No. 666] and Wells Fargo submitted its reply on April 30, 2014. [ECF No. 697].
The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") on May 22, 2014, and recommended that Wells Fargo's motion for summary judgment be granted in all respects "except for the limited issue surrounding Plaintiffs FDCPA claim arising after June 7, 2007, " for which the magistrate suggested that issue be further briefed by the parties. See R&R [ECF No. 713] at 1-2. The factual and procedural background of this case and pertinent legal analysis are set forth at length in the Report and Recommendation and will not be repeated here; only the objections presently before the Court will be addressed. The parties were informed that in accordance with the Magistrate Judges Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C), and Local Rule of Court 72.D.2, the parties had fourteen (14) days, by June 5, 2014, to file any objections to the R&R. After a series of motions for extensions of time to file objections and responses to the R&R, on June 12, 2012, Plaintiff submitted objections to the R&R [ECF No. 716], to which Wells Fargo responded to on July 18, 2014. [ECF No. 721]. Plaintiff was granted leave to file a reply, and did so on July 30, 2014. [ECF No. 727].
Plaintiff objects to the R&R for the following reasons: (1) the Magistrate Judge erred in finding the Wells Fargo was "bound only by paragraph 2 [sic] of the LMA [Loan Modification Agreement] (which binds the contractually defined lender to the modified terms), but not paragraph 3 [sic] (which binds the contractually defined lender to the unmodified terms of the original loan contracts)[;]" (2) the Magistrate Judge reversed "its earlier finding in determining that the relevant Note and Mortgage obligations with respect to servicing were never assigned to Goldman, were initially retained by WaMu, and were subsequently assigned to Wells Fargo[;]" (3) the Magistrate Judge failed to recognize a material issue of fact on Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim; (4) the Magistrate Judge failed to recognize that, with respect to Plaintiff's UTPCPL claim, Plaintiff "provided evidence for the proposition that Wells Fargo deceptively billed and collected liquidated charges that were not contractually authorized or legally due[;]" (5) the Magistrate Judge erred in relying upon the Pennsylvania Superior Court's decision in Glover v. Udren Law Offices, P.C., 92 A.3d 24 (Pa.Super. 2014) ("Udren" or "Pennsylvania Superior Court decision") to grant summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo on her Act 6 claim; and (6) Plaintiff's FDCPA claims do not require a showing of loss or damage, therefore, Wells Fargo's billing of foreclosure charges was a violation of Act 6 and the loan contracts and therefore is a violation of §1692e of the FDCPA. See Pl.'s Obj. [ECF No. 716].
The Court will address each objection in conjunction with its related claim.
i. Breach of Contract
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that summary judgment be granted as to her breach of contract claim because Wells Fargo should be bound by the terms set forth in the note and mortgage. Id. at 30-31. The Magistrate Judge found that because this Court previously held that Wells Fargo could not be held responsible for breaches arising from the note and mortgage, plaintiff could not raise this legal theory again, as it has been previously rejected. See R&R [ECF No. 713] at 8-14.
First, I reject Plaintiff's argument that Wells Fargo is bound by the terms of the note and mortgage because, as rejected by the Magistrate Judge, this legal theory has been previously rejected and will not be revisited here. See R&R [ECF No. 166] at 7-10 adopted by Memo. Order [ECF No. 199] ("Wells Fargo cannot be held liable for breaches arising from the original contract, i.e., the mortgage and note, between [WaMu] and Glover.... However, to the extent that the allegations of the complaint concern Wells Fargo's contractual obligations arising from the January 4, 2008 loan modification agreement, Glover has pled a cognizable breach of contract claim[.]").
Plaintiff also argues that this holding was superseded by the Court's opinion granting summary judgment in favor of Goldman, but provides no legal basis for this contention. As set forth by the Magistrate Judge, while a servicer and lender may operate within the confines of the same legal documents, the legal implications and obligations that these entities owe to the loan borrower are distinct. It is undisputed that Wells Fargo always operated as Plaintiff's loan servicer, not as Plaintiffs lender. See id. at 12,
Next, I reject Plaintiffs argument that Wells Fargo is bound by the note and mortgage by the integration clause set forth in the loan modification agreement. As explained by the Magistrate Judge,
This Court has previously determined that Wells Fargo was not a party to the note and mortgage and cannot be held liable for breaches of such.... Most tellingly, Plaintiff supplies this Court with no legal basis for the proposition that a servicer becomes a lender and subject to the terms set forth in the note and mortgage simply because it has referred to itself as a lender in the loan modification agreement. Wells Fargo at no point became independently obligated as a lender under Plaintiff's note and mortgage. Plaintiff cannot back her way into imposing liability on Wells Fargo for breaches of the note and mortgage when Wells Fargo was not a party to those documents in the first instance, no rights or obligations were assigned to or assumed by Wells Fargo, and this Court has previously dismissed any and all claims with prejudice that Wells Fargo was liable for a breach of the note and mortgage.6
6 Even if Plaintiff provided this Court with the tenable legal argument that parol evidence should be introduced to explain the ambiguous terms of the loan modification, ... such [an] argument fails because all record evidence shows that, for the operative time period, Goldman was Plaintiffs lender. It would be absurd for this Court to conclude that a loan modification agreement between a mortgagor and servicer acts as an assignment of *rights, implied or otherwise, to transform a servicer ...