Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Taggart v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 30, 2017

KENNETH J. TAGGART, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          STENGEL, J.

         Defendants Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company have filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is granted.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Kenneth J. Taggart filed an amended complaint[1] against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. ("MERS"), MERSCORP, Inc., and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. ("Freddie Mac"), for various claims in connection with the property he owns at 709 Schwab Road, Hatfield, Pennsylvania 19440 ("the Property"). (Am. Compl. at 2.)[2] Plaintiff seeks generally to (1) determine the validity of the note and mortgage contract; (2) determine whether the note and mortgage were ever perfected under Pennsylvania law, and if any subsequent parties may make legal claims to enforce the note pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code; and (3) obtain declaratory relief, "contract relief, " quiet title relief, and injunctive relief "to strike or vacate all recordings and claims, and all claims from any parties who assert claims to mortgage and note now, or at any time in the future which were simply, void ab initio." (Am. Compl. at 2-3.) The plaintiff believes that (1) the note and mortgage were never perfected; (2) the original lender was not a legal entity on the date they were created; and (3) no party can make claims under Pennsylvania law to enforce either the mortgage or the note. (Id. at 4-6.)

         On February 6, 2009, a mortgage was recorded for the Property in the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds Office, indicating that the mortgage was originated by American Partners Bank, N.A. as the grantor and that the plaintiff is the grantee. (Id. at 16 ¶ 68.) The mortgage was originated on December 16, 2008. (Id. at 16 ¶ 69.) The plaintiff alleges that Freddie Mac never recorded the note and mortgage that Wells Fargo claims to hold. (Id. at 16-17.) The mortgage was assigned to Wells Fargo, N.A. on April 5, 2010. (Id. at 17 ¶ 73.) The plaintiff alleges that the note was never recorded, but that one "Assignments [sic] of Mortgage" was recorded in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.[3] (Am. Compl. at 17 ¶ 75.) The plaintiff alleges numerous failures and defects in connection with the mortgage and note and their creation, recording, and assignment. (See Am. Compl. at 1-28.) All of the claims set forth in the amended complaint stem from these purported failures and defects.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), a defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); see also Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the United States Supreme Court recognized that "a plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555. Subsequently, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court defined a two-pronged approach to a court's review of a motion to dismiss. "First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 678. Thus, while "Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era . . . it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Id. at 678-79.

         Second, the Supreme Court emphasized that "only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." hi at 679. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. A complaint does not show an entitlement to relief when the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct. Id; see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232-34 (3d Cir. 2008) (holding that: (1) factual allegations of complaint must provide notice to defendant; (2) complaint must allege facts suggestive of the proscribed conduct; and (3) the complaint's '"factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555)).

         The basic tenets of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard of review have remained static. Spence v. Brownsville Area Sch. Dist, No. Civ.A.08-626, 2008 WL 2779079, at *2 (W.D. Pa. July 15, 2008). The general rules of pleading still require only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and need not contain detailed factual allegations. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233. Further, the court must "accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist, 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006). Finally, the court must "determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Pinkerton v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The defendants move to dismiss the amended complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) and to dismiss the claims against Wells Fargo because they are barred pursuant to res judicata. Having considered the amended complaint and the parties' briefs, I find that the plaintiffs claims against the defendants fail as a matter of law. I will therefore grant the motion to dismiss on that basis. I previously granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint without prejudice, but I will grant the motion to dismiss the amended complaint with prejudice for the reasons discussed below.

         A. Quiet Title, Slander of Title, and Petition to Quiet Title Claims Against Wells Fargo, MERS, MERSCORP, and Freddie Mac

         In counts one, two, and three of the amended complaint, the plaintiff sets forth claims for quiet title, slander of title, and declaratory relief against Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac, and MERS and MERSCORP, seeking admissions, the surrender of documents, and declaratory relief in connection with the mortgage, note, and assignment. (See Am. Compl. 28-37.) In support, the plaintiff alleges that Freddie Mac purports to be the owner of the note and mortgage, that American Partners Bank did not exist the day the mortgage and note were created, that the note was not notarized or recorded, and that "[t]here have been claims by several parties to have an interest in the mortgage that was recorded." (Id. at 4-5, 16-17.) He further alleges numerous procedural and legal defects in connection with the mortgage, note, and assignment. (Id. at 16-28.)

         1. Grounds for Dismissal Pursuant to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.