Class Action Defense Cases–Tasaranta v. Homecomings Financial: California Federal Court Dismisses Class Action Complaint Holding Allegations Insufficient To Support TILA, RESPA, HOEPA Or FDCPA Claims

Nov 24, 2009 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Class Action Arising out of Home Loan Transaction and Alleging Violations of Various State and Federal Laws Dismissed, without Opposition from Plaintiffs, because Class Action Complaint Failed to Satisfy Pleading Requirements California Federal Court Holds

Plaintiffs filed a putative class action in California state court against Homecomings Financial and American Mortgage Network (which apparently was never served) arising out of a home loan they obtained that was secured by real property in Chula Vista, California. Tasaranta v. Homecomings Financial LLC, ___ F.Supp.2d___ (S.D. Cal. September 9, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1-2.] Specifically, the class action complaint alleged that defendants violated the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), as well various California-state laws. _Id._, at 2. The class action prayed for compensatory and punitive damages, and sought “rescission of the contract and loan.” _Id._ Defense attorneys for Homecomings Financial removed the class action to federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, _id._, at 1., and then filed a motion to dismiss the class action which plaintiffs did not oppose, _id._, at 1-2. _Id._ The district court granted the motion and dismissed the class action complaint without prejudice.

Even though the motion to dismiss the class action was unopposed, the district court reviewed each claim for relief on the merits. With respect to the class action’s TILA claim, the federal court found that the statute of limitations had run on the claim, Tasaranta, at 4-5, and that, separately, the complaint failed to adequately plead a “plausibly suggestive” claim “entitling the plaintiff to relief,” Tasaranta, at 4 (citation omitted). With respect to RESPA, the district court ruled that the class action failed to adequately plead the alleged transfer of the servicing contract in order to support a claim against “Servicers” under RESPA, id., at 5, and that the “yield spread premium” (YSP) claim under RESPA failed because YSPs are not per se illegal under RESPA, id., at 5-6. With respect to HOEPA, the class action complaint failed to allege sufficient details about the loan to support a claim that the interest rate fell within the scope of the statute. See id., at 6-7. And with respect to the FDCPA claim, the federal court observed that the class action did not “include sufficient factual allegations to support the conclusion that Defendants violated the FDCPA, such as how, when and to whom Plaintiffs ‘requested validation,’ and how and when each Defendant responded.” Id., at 7. Accordingly, the district court dismissed the class action complaint against Homecomings Financial without prejudice. Id., at 9.

NOTE: We do not here summarize the district court’s analysis of the state-law claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, injunctive relief and declaratory relief. See Tasaranta, at 7-9.

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