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Munson v. Wells Fargo Bank

United States District Court, D. Oregon

December 11, 2018

STEVE MUNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Michael J. McShane, United States District Judge

         Defendant Wells Fargo Bank moves to dismiss Plaintiff Steve Munson's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) with prejudice and without leave to amend, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and (6). Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 17. In support of its motion, Defendant asks the Court to take judicial notice of eight proffered exhibits, as well as a number of previously judicially noticed documents and related exhibits. Def.'s Request for Judicial Notice, ECF No. 18; see also Op. and Order 3-5, ECF No. 7. Because Plaintiff's FAC fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and faces standing, preclusion, and statute of limitations issues, this Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

         BACKGROUND

         A detailed rendering of the facts of this case is set forth in the Opinion and Order granting Defendant's first Motion to Dismiss. See Op. and Order 2. For the purposes of this Opinion and Order, the notable facts are as follows. Plaintiff failed to pay on a loan he obtained from Wells Fargo on or about October 7, 2008 and went into default on February 1, 2011. Wells Fargo then started the process for non-judicial foreclosure. Plaintiff brought this action in state court on April 9, 2018. Wells Fargo removed the action to federal court on April 17, 2018. This Court dismissed Plaintiff's fraud claims without prejudice on June 11, 2018. Op. and Order 6-7. Plaintiff was granted the opportunity to amend his complaint and re-state his fraud claims with specificity. Plaintiff filed his FAC on August 10, 2018. ECF No. 13.[1] Defendant now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's FAC.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 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.

         When considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe those facts 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, leave to amend should be granted unless the court “determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Defendant's Request for Judicial Notice

         As a preliminary matter, Defendant requests that this Court take judicial notice of eight items:

Notice and Motion for Relief from Stay filed by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in Stephen Miles Munson Bankruptcy No. 10-39795-tmb (“Munson bankruptcy”), dated November 23, 2010 (ECF No. 18-1); Stipulated Order Granting Relief from Stay to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. filed in Munson bankruptcy, dated April 29, 2011 (ECF No. 18- 2); Debtor's Objection to Committee of Unsecured Creditors' Second Amended Plan filed in Munson bankruptcy, dated May 28, 2013 (ECF No. 18-3); Order Granting Summary Judgment, Denying Discharge, and Denying Motion to Strike filed in Vulcan Power Company v. Munson Adversary No. 11-03366.tmb (“Munson adversary”), dated October 21, 2013 (ECF No. 18-4); portions of the Order Confirming Committee of Unsecured Creditors' Second Amended Plan of Liquidation in Munson bankruptcy, dated April 18, 2013 (ECF No. 18-5); Order Approving Disclosure Statement and Fixing Time for Filing Acceptances or Rejections of Plan and Notice of Confirmation Hearing in Munson bankruptcy, dated April 22, 2013 (ECF No. 18-6); Order of Dismissal of Appeal filed in Munson bankruptcy, dated February 4, 2014 (ECF No. 18-7); and Order of Dismissal filed in Munson adversary, dated April 29, 2014 (ECF No. 18-8). See Def.'s Request for Judicial Notice.

         Generally, material outside of the pleadings may not be considered in ruling on a motion to dismiss unless the motion is treated as one for summary judgment and the parties are “given reasonable opportunity to present all materials made pertinent to such motion by Rule 56.” Jacobson v. AEG Capital Corp., 50 F.3d 1493, 1496 (9th Cir. 1995).

         However, there are several exceptions to this general rule. First, a court may take judicial notice of “matters of public record, ” under Federal Rule of Evidence 201, so long as the facts contained therein are not subject to reasonable dispute. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-90 (9th Cir. 2001); Santa Monica Food not Bombs v. City of Santa Monica, 450 F.3d 1022, 1025 (9th Cir. 2006). Second, a court may take judicial notice of material incorporated into a complaint in order to develop its understanding of facts and inferences contained within the body of the complaint that are drawn from those incorporated materials. Coto Settlement v. Eisenberg, 593 F.3d 1031, 1038 (9th Cir. 2010). Third, courts may properly notice, for the purpose of jurisdictional determinations, facts that are not subject to reasonable dispute that come from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned. Green v. U.S., 630 F.3d 1245, 1248 (9th Cir. 2011).

         Defendant's notice request is appropriate with respect to Exhibits 1 through 8 because they are true and correct copies of a United States Bankruptcy Court judicial record in a case filed by Plaintiff on his own behalf. These documents “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned, ” see Fed. R. Evid. 201(b)(2), and their authenticity is not subject to reasonable dispute, see Lee v. City of Los ...


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