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Trujillo v. Anson Street LLC

United States District Court, D. Utah, Northern Division

June 25, 2019

TRINA M. TRUJILLO and DAVID TRUJILLO, Plaintiffs,
v.
ANSON STREET, LLC, NEW PENN FINANCIAL, LLC d.b.a. SHELLPOINT MORTGAGE SERVICING, and DOES 1 THROUGH 100, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM DECISION

          TENA CAMPBELL U.S. District Court Judge.

         Plaintiffs Trina Trujillo and David Trujillo filed suit against Defendants Anson Street, New Penn Financial, and Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing (collectively, Defendants) for allegedly violating two federal consumer protection laws-the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. The Defendants have moved to dismiss the case with prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the Defendants' motion but will allow the Trujillos to move to amend their RESPA claim.

         BACKGROUND [1]

         This case arises from a $35, 000 home equity loan that the Trujillos executed on June 25, 1999, with AVS Financial Corporation. The loan was later assigned to Anson Street (which, as of January 26, 2019, no longer holds the note) and serviced by Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing.

         In January of 2015, the balance of the loan was $28, 727.45. In October of 2015, the Trujillos sent Shellpoint a “qualified written request” (QWR) pursuant RESPA. The Act defines a QWR as “a written correspondence” that “(i) includes, or otherwise enables the servicer to identify, the name and account of the borrower; and (ii) includes a statement of the reasons for the belief of the borrower, to the extent applicable, that the account is in error or provides sufficient detail to the servicer regarding other information sought by the borrower.” 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e)(1)(B). A mortgage servicer must confirm receipt of a QWR and, within thirty days, investigate whether any errors exist and respond with its findings. Id. § 2605(e)(2).

         According to the Trujillos, Shellpoint's response was deficient. Shellpoint “provided an incomplete payment history, ” and “did not provide an outline of all payments and fees, charges, [and] credits by all previous servicers from June 25, 1999.” (Compl. ¶ 10, ECF No. 1.) Additionally, Shellpoint “claim[ed] the principal balance on the Mortgage was now roughly $49, 672.88, which [was] an increase of over $20, 945.43” from the start of 2015. (Id. ¶ 11.)

         In support of these allegations, the Trujillos attached to the complaint a “Loan History Summary, ” which lists transactions from 2007 to 2015. (Ex. 1 to Compl., ECF No. 1-1.) They also attached Shellpoint's three-page QWR response letter. (Ex. 2 to Compl., ECF No. 1-2.) The response letter states,

Shellpoint's records indicate that the loan was discharged through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Shellpoint is not attempting to collect the debt, as your client[s'] [the Trujillos'] personal liability was discharged. However, the mortgage lien survived the discharge and Shellpoint is continuing to service the loan according to the original agreement and protect the creditor's rights in the associated property. Additionally, our records show that at the time of the discharge, your clients intended to retain the property and continued making payments through April 2011.
As of the date of this communication, the amount to release the lien is $49, 672.88 which includes interest, and fees.

(Id. at 2 (emphases omitted).) The letter concludes by stating that Shellpoint was “not able to determine that any error has occurred.” (Id. at 3.)

         The Trujillos allege that they made several unsuccessful attempts to obtain an accounting of the loan and verify the $49, 672.88 balance. They also claim that Shellpoint “made multiple attempts to collect on the debt between 2015 and 2017, without validating the balance as stated within the debt validation process under the FDCPA, 15 U.S. Code § 1692g.” (Compl. ¶ 13.)

         The Trujillos bring four claims for relief-two under the FDCPA and two under RESPA. The Defendants have moved to dismiss the Trujillos' complaint on two grounds: first, that the Trujillos' FDCPA claims are barred by the Act's one-year statute of limitations; and second, that the complaint does not contain sufficient factual allegations to state plausible FDCPA and RESPA claims.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion testing the adequacy of a plaintiff's factual allegations, the court must determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial ...


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