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Ventura v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

March 30, 2017

LUZ AND WALTER VENTURA, Plaintiffs,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN MCBRYDE DISTRICT JUDGE

         Came on for consideration the motion of defendant, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiffs, Luz and Walter Ventura, filed a response to which defendant replied. Having considered the motion, the response, the reply, plaintiffs' original petition, and applicable legal authorities, the court concludes that defendant's motion should be granted.

         I.

         Plaintiffs' Claims

         Plaintiffs asserted four claims against defendant: (1) breach of contract, (2} quiet title, (3} declaratory judgment, and (4) permanent injunction. The breach of contract claim arose from claimed defects in a home equity lien executed between plaintiffs and defendant that allegedly fails to comply with section 50(a)(6) of the Texas Constitution. Specifically, plaintiffs asserted that the home equity lien was unconstitutional because:

(a) [plaintiffs]did not receive a copy of the final loan documents; (b) an appraisal report was not prepared; (c) [plaintiffs] did not receive an acknowledgemet of the three-day right to rescind document; and (d) [defendant] failed to properly acknowledge the fair market value on the day the extension of credit was made.

         Doc. 1 at Ex, D, ¶ 1.[1] Also, plaintiffs alleged that defendant clouded plaintiffs' title to the property secured by the home equity lien by claiming a valid lien and the power to foreclose on the property. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and prayed that defendant forfeit all principal and interest owed and reimburse plaintiffs for all previous payments made.

         II.

         Grounds of the Motion to Dismiss

         Defendant moved to dismiss all of plaintiffs' claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Specifically, defendant argued that plaintiffs' breach of contract claim is barred by the applicable four-year statute of limitations. Regardless of limitations, defendant asserted that the breach of contract claim should otherwise be dismissed because each of the alleged violations of the Texas Constitution fails as a matter of law. Defendant also contended that plaintiffs' quiet title claim fails because the claim is not based on the strength of plaintiffs' title to the property, but instead is based on the alleged weakness of defendant's title. Finally, defendant argued that plaintiffs' requests for declaratory and injunctive relief should be dismissed, as such requests are dependant upon the assertion of a viable cause of action.

         III. Applicable Pleading Principles

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in a general way, the applicable standard of pleading. It 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), "in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, " Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007} (internal quotation marks and ellipsis omitted). Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, the "showing" contemplated by Rule 8 requires the plaintiff to do more than simply allege legal conclusions or recite the elements of a cause of action. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3. Thus, while a court must accept all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, it need not credit bare legal conclusions that are unsupported by any factual underpinnings. See Ashcroft v. Igbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) ("While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.") .

         Moreover, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the facts pleaded must allow the court to infer that the plaintiff's right to relief is plausible. Igbal, 556 U.S. at 678. To allege a plausible right to relief, the facts pleaded must suggest liability; allegations that are merely consistent with unlawful conduct are insufficient. Id. In other words, where the facts pleaded do no more than permit the court to infer the possibility of misconduct, the complaint has not shown that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. at 679. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

         Further, when a successful affirmative defense such as limitations is apparent on the face of the pleadings, dismissal is appropriate on that ground. Kansa, Reinsurance Co. v. Cong. Mo ...


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