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Barker v. U.S. National Bank

United States District Court, D. Oregon

April 9, 2015

CHARLES BARKER III, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. NATIONAL BANK, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL McSHANE, District Judge.

In response to a state foreclosure action, Plaintiff Charles Barker III ("Barker"), proceeding pro se, filed a 62-page complaint with 18 separate causes of action against 7 banking and lending institutions and 25 urinamed Does (collectively "Defendants").[1] Defendants move to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[2] Because Barker was not the owner of the property in question at the time he filed this action, and because his complaint does not comport in any way with federal pleading standards, the Defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED. Additionally, for the reasons that follow, this Court exercises its discretion to deny Barker leave to amend his complaint, and Barker is hereby ORDERED to ' show cause as to why this Court should not impose sanctions in the form of Defendants' reasonable costs and fees.

BACKGROUND

In June 2006, Mary R. Dunham signed a note for a $204, 750 loan, secured by real property located at 1815 East 19th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon (the "Property"). The deed of trust identified Dunham as the borrower, and she was the only signatory to the deed of trust. Although Barker purchased the Property in 2004, he transferred his interest to Dunham in 2005. Dunham transferred her interest in the Property to Woodstock Financial Corporation in 2008, which in tum transferred its interest to Zuma Enterprises, LLC ("Zuma Enterprises") in 2010.

On December 2, 2014, U.S. Bank as Trustee filed a judicial foreclosure complaint in. Lane County Circuit Court[3] against Mary R. Dunham, Citibank, Zuma Enterprises, and any other person claiming an interest in the Property. Zuma Enterprises, of which Barker was the sole member, owned the Property at the time of filing. Barker brought this federal cause of action on December 29, 2014, but Barker did not transfer the Property from Zuma Enterprises to himself until January 14, 2015. In a separate action, Barker improperly attempted to remove the state foreclosure case to federal court on January 9, 2015. See No. 6:15-cv-00046 (D. Or.).

Barker's complaint lists the following causes of action: (I) Fraud; (II) Violations of ORS 86.060 et seq.; (III) Unfair, Deceptive, and Fraudulent Practices; (IV) Violations of U.S. Securities Laws; (V) Breach of Fiduciary Responsibility; (VI) Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; (VII) Violations of the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act; (VIII) Conversion; (IX) Restraint of Trade & Public Policy; (X) Obstruction of Justice; (XI) Wrongful Foreclosure/Quiet Title; (XII) Unfair Trade Practices; (XIII) RESPA Violations; (XIV) Unfair & Bad Faith Dealing; (XV) Violations of the Truth-in-Lending Act; (XVI) Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act- Section 1692; (XVII) Unjust Enrichment; and (XVIII) Contract of Adhesion.

Defendants move to dismiss Barker's complaint for lack of standing because he was not the owner of the property at the time he filed the lawsuit, nor was he a party to the loan, note, or. deed of trust. Defendants also move to dismiss Barker's complaint for failure to state a claim because it contains vague allegations of misconduct by the banking and lending industry without identifying specific actions by any particular defendants.

STANDARDS

To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the plaintiff has the burden to establish subject matter jurisdiction. Ass'n ofAm. Med. Call. v. United States, 217 F.3d 770, 778 (9th Cir.2000). Unlike a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the court may consider affidavits or other evidence properly before the court that is relevant to the issue of subject matter jurisdiction. Id. In order to invoke subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff must establish that he or she has standing to bring a claim. Lee v. State of Or., 107 F.3d 1382, 1387 (9th Cir. 1997). Standing addresses whether the plaintiff is the proper party to litigate a particular matter. Id.

To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter that "state[s] a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible on its face when the factual allegations allow the court to infer the defendant's liability based on the alleged conduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). The factual allegations must present more than "the mere possibility of misconduct." Id. at 678.

While considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Burget v. Lokelani Bernice Pauahi Bishop Trust, 200 F.3d 661, 663 (9th Cir. 2000). But the court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. If the complaint is dismissed, courts have discretion to deny leave to amend where amendments would be futile. Klamath Lake Pharm. Assoc. v. Klamath Med. Serv. Bureau, 701 F.2d 1276, 1292 (9th Cir. 1983).

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1)

It is undisputed that Barker did not own the Property when he brought this action. Nevertheless, Barker insists that he is a real party in interest because he was the sole member of Zuma Enterprises, which owned the Property at the time Barker filed this lawsuit. However, Barker may not bring an action pro se on behalf of Zuma Enterprises, even if he is the sole member, because Zuma Enterprises is a separate legal entity. See Simon v. Hartford Life, Inc., 546 F.3d 661, 664 (9th Cir. 2008) ("It is well established that the privilege to ...


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