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Williams v. Chase Mortgage, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

June 18, 2018

RONALD WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHASE MORTGAGE, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Ronald Williams brings this lawsuit against defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, [1] claiming that Chase services his mortgage loan and misapplied certain of plaintiff's loan payments to plaintiff's account. Chase has moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff did not respond to Chase's motion or to my orders requiring him to show cause why I should not dismiss his petition. Instead, plaintiff has filed a first amended petition with the Court. Because plaintiff's amendment would be futile, I will deny him leave to amend. Furthermore, as plaintiff has not responded to Chase's motion to dismiss and has ignored my orders to show cause, I will grant the motion to dismiss.

         Background

         On January 12, 2018, plaintiff filed his petition and motion for temporary restraining order in the Circuit Court of the City of Saint Louis, Missouri. Defendant Chase removed the action on January 16, 2018, to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. In Count I of plaintiff's petition, he seeks a temporary restraining order enjoining the foreclosure sale. In Count II, plaintiff requests a declaratory judgment that Chase's records are incorrect and to set new values for the amounts owed on plaintiff's loan.

         On February 2, 2018, defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff's petition pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Pursuant to Local Rule 7-4.01, plaintiff was to file a response to Chase's motion to dismiss by February 9, 2018. After plaintiff failed to respond, the Court ordered plaintiff to show cause in writing by March 30, 2018, why his claims should not be dismissed. Plaintiff failed to respond to the Court's order by this deadline.

         On April 9, 2018, the Court again ordered plaintiff to show cause by April 16, 2018, why this case should not be dismissed with prejudice for the reasons stated in Chase's motion to dismiss. On April 16, 2018, plaintiff did not respond to the order to show cause, but, instead filed a first amended petition with the Court. To date, plaintiff has failed to show cause why his claims should not be dismissed with prejudice.

         Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(B), plaintiff was permitted to amend his pleading as a matter of course 21 days after service of defendant's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b). Plaintiff, however, filed his motion to amend 73 days after defendant filed its motion to dismiss. Accordingly, plaintiff may only amend his petition with the Court's leave. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2).

         A decision whether to allow a party to amend his complaint is left to the sound discretion of the district court. Popoalii v. Corr. Med. Servs., 512 F.3d 488, 497 (8th Cir. 2008). While a district court “should freely give leave to a party to amend its pleadings when justice so requires, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)[, ]…it may properly deny a party's motion to amend its complaint when such amendment would unduly prejudice the non-moving party or would be futile.” Id. “[W]hen the court denies leave on the basis of futility, it means the district court has reached the legal conclusion that the amended complaint could not withstand a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure[.]” Hintz v.JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 686 F.3d 505, 511 (8th Cir. 2012) (quotation marks and citation omitted).

         In plaintiff's first amended petition, he claims Chase's negligent mishandling and misapplication of his funds was a proximate cause of his damages. He does not, however, ask for any specific relief. It is unclear exactly what claim he is attempting to assert or how his allegations support a cause of action. Moreover, plaintiff cites to no authority whatsoever to establish that his new claim under Count I is legally sufficient. As such, I find permitting amendment would be futile as the first amended petition fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and defendant would be prejudiced by allowing the proposed amendment.

         B. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

         In its motion to dismiss, Chase argues that both counts in plaintiff's petition should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In Count I, plaintiff seeks a temporary restraining order enjoining and restraining Chase from taking steps to arrange for a non-judicial foreclosure sale on January 17, 2018, relating to plaintiff's property.[2] Count II seeks a declaratory judgment that Chase's records are incorrect and a recalculation of the amount owed on plaintiff's loan

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief “that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The factual allegations must be sufficient to “‘raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” Parkhurst v. Tabor, 569 F.3d 861, 865 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. ...


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