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Groh v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

January 5, 2015

SAM GROH, Plaintiff,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

GREG KAYS, Chief District Judge.

This case arises out of a lender's alleged failure to promptly grant a borrower a permanent loan modification. Plaintiff Sam Groh ("Groh") alleges Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("Chase Bank") failed to reduce his monthly payments on his home loan as required by the parties' loan workout plan and wrongly reported Groh delinquent to credit reporting agencies during the loan modification process.

Pending before the Court is Chase Bank's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 5). Holding that six of the Amended Petition's eight counts do not state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the motion.

Factual Background

Construing the Complaint liberally and drawing all reasonable inferences in Groh's favor, the Court finds the facts to be as follows for purposes of resolving the pending motion to dismiss:

Chase Bank issued Groh a promissory note ("the Home Loan") in 2008, secured by a deed of trust on real property owned by Groh. The Home Loan required Groh to repay the note in regular installments, with interest and late fees to be charged if Groh did not timely make his payments.

Groh's payments on the Home Loan were all timely through 2009, when Groh and Chase Bank entered into a Home Affordable Modification Program Loan Workout Plan ("Loan Workout Plan") in order to reduce Groh's monthly payments. Under the Loan Workout Plan, Groh had to make three "trial period" payments in the amount of $1, 243.13, to be paid on three dates in April, June, and July of 2009. At that time, the parties were to adopt a Loan Modification Agreement which would set forth a new payment amount for Groh to pay Chase Bank for the balance of the Home Loan (Doc. 1-1, at 54 ("If [Groh is] in compliance with this Loan Workout Plan, [then Chase Bank] will provide [Groh] with a Loan Modification Agreement... that would amend and supplement (1) the Mortgage on the Property, and (2) the Note secured by the Mortgage.")). The Loan Workout Plan stated that all other provisions of the Home Loan remained in effect during the trial period. It further stated it would automatically terminate upon execution of a new loan modification.

Groh timely made all three trial period payments. However, Chase Bank failed to promptly adopt the Loan Modification Agreement as it had promised under the Loan Workout Plan. Chase Bank never told Groh what payments he must make going forward, though it did repeatedly tell him to continue paying monthly installments of $1, 243.13. Groh continued making monthly payments to Chase Bank in that amount, even though the trial period had ended and was supposed to be superseded by a new Loan Modification Agreement. All told, he made fifteen monthly payments of $1, 243.13 after the trial period concluded.

Although Groh made the required payments, Chase Bank reported to several consumerreporting agencies that Groh was "150 days delinquent" in his payments on the Home Loan. After Groh complained to the consumer-reporting agencies that he was not actually delinquent on anything, the agencies and Chase Bank all refused to correct the error on his credit report.

Before Chase Bank reported Groh was delinquent, he had a good credit history. Because of his credit history, Groh had expected to receive credit to refinance another piece of land. After Chase Bank reported Groh's delinquency and refused to renounce that report, Groh was denied credit for this property.

Chase Bank eventually finalized Groh's Loan Modification Agreement in September 2010, making his payments $996.96 per month effective November 1, 2010. In June 2013, Groh filed this lawsuit (Doc. 1-1 (Amended Petition)).

Standard

Chase Bank moves to dismiss the Amended Petition under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). A complaint must meet two conditions to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, it must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the complaint need not make detailed factual allegations, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

Second, the complaint must state a claim for relief that is plausible. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A claim is plausible when "the court may draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. The plaintiff need not demonstrate the claim is probable, only that it is more than just possible. Id.

In reviewing the complaint, the court construes it liberally and draws all reasonable inferences from the facts in the plaintiff's favor. Smithrud v. City of St. Paul, 746 F.3d 391, 395 (8th Cir. 2014). The ...


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