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Innocent Obi v. Chase Home Finance

February 8, 2011

INNOCENT OBI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHASE HOME FINANCE, LLC DEFENDANT.



Judge Virginia M. Kendall

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Virginia M. Kendall United States District Court Judge Northern District of Illinois

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Innocent Obi ("Obi"), pro se, filed suit against Chase Home Finance ("Chase"), alleging violations of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. ("TILA"); Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, 815 ILCS 505/1 et seq. ("ICFA"); Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. ("FDCPA"); civil conspiracy; intentional infliction of emotional distress; punitive damages; and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1691 et seq. ("ECOA"). Chase moves to dismiss Obi's Amended Complaint. For the following reasons, the Court grants Chase's Motion to Dismiss regarding Counts I, III, and VIII and dismisses without prejudice Obi's supplemental state law claims in Counts II, IV, V, VI, and VII.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The following facts are taken from Obi's Amended Complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of this Motion to Dismiss. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).

In connection with property he owns in Chicago, Obi entered into a bank loan on August 26, 2005 brokered by Long Beach Mortgage Corporation.*fn1 (Compl. ¶¶ 6, 72.) At the initial loan signing, Obi did not receive copies of the TILA disclosures or two copies of his right to rescind. (Compl. ¶¶ 88, 89.) On September 15, 2005, Obi mailed a letter to Washington Mutual informing them that he wanted to rescind the loan.*fn2 (Compl. ¶ 91.) Obi's letter was never responded to. (Compl. ¶ 93.) Obi's loan eventually came to be serviced by Chase. (Compl. ¶¶ 8, 10.)

Chase contacted Obi in early 2010 and informed him that he was late in his mortgage payments and offered him the option of a loan modification. (Compl. ¶ 8.) Obi entered into a trial loan modification program with Chase in February 2010, pursuant to which his monthly mortgage payments were reduced. (Compl. ¶¶ 11, 12.) On June 4, 2010, Chase sent Obi a letter requesting additional documents from Obi to determine his eligibility for a permanent loan modification. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Obi timely submitted the requested documents on June 10, 2010. (Id.) On July 23, 2010, Obi called a loan modification professional at Chase who told him his loan modification has been approved and that he would receive a confirmation letter in early August. (Compl. ¶ 17.) Later that day, the loan modification specialist called Obi and asked him if he had a pending lawsuit against Chase. (Compl. ¶ 18.) Obi responded affirmatively, noting that the suit was regarding another unit of his in the same building. (Id.) On August 10, 2010, Obi received a letter from Chase denying his loan modification. (Compl. ¶ 19.) The letter stated that Obi's permanent loan modification was denied because he failed to submit the documents requested in the June 4, 2010 letter. (Id.) Since receiving the denial letter, Obi has also noticed erroneous charges and unjustified fines in his Chase account of over $6,000. (Compl. ¶ 29.) Obi's attempts to clarify those charges and the denial of his loan modification-including phone calls and speaking to a representative at a local branch office-were unsuccessful. (Compl. ¶¶ 25-34.)

Obi issued two letters to Chase-in August and September 2010-demanding that Chase cease its practice of sending collection notices to him. (Compl. ¶¶ 78, 79.) Obi alleges that Chase disregarded these letters and continued to send him collection notices. (Compl. ¶ 79.)

Obi filed an emergency petition in this Court on September 10, 2010, which Chase moved to dismiss on October 5, 2010. The Court dismissed the petition for failure to state a cognizable claim on October 12, 2010. On October 27, 2010, Obi filed an Amended Complaint, which Chase moved to dismiss on November 16, 2010, including several exhibits with its Motion. The Court does not consider Chase's exhibits in ruling on its Motion to Dismiss. Obi's response to the Motion to Dismiss comprises over 100 pages, including additional claims, exhibits, and a further amended complaint. The Court will not consider Obi's additional claims, exhibits, or his proposed amended complaint in its ruling. See Harrell v. U.S., 13 F.3d 232, 236 (7th Cir. 1993) (party opposing a motion to dismiss may not amend the complaint by way of arguments made in a brief).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Complaints by pro se litigants are to be generously construed and not held to the stringent standards expected of pleadings drafted by lawyers. See McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000). A pro se litigant can, however, "plead him/herself out of court" by alleging facts that defeat the claim otherwise presented in the complaint. Lekas v. Briley, 405 F.3d 602, 613-14 (7th Cir. 2005).

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construes all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy, 51 F.3d at 717. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "Detailed factual allegations" are not required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when "accepted as true . . . 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In analyzing whether a complaint has met this standard, the "reviewing court [must] draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. See id. at 1949.

Rule 9 provides that "[i]n all averments of fraud or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity." Red. R. Civ. P. 9. This heightened pleading requirement was intended to protect against the "great harm to the reputation of a business of a firm or other enterprise a fraud claim can do." Borsellino v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., 477 F.3d 502, 507 (7th Cir. 2007). Pursuant to Rule 9, a plaintiff must set forth ...


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