MARTINEZ v. CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP.
OPINION. Signed by Judge Jose L. Linares on 6/2/16. N/M(DD, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No.: 15-266 (JLL) (JAD)
CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP.,
LINARES, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court by way of Defendant Capital One, N.A. 1 ("Defendant"
or "Capital One")'s Motion to Dismiss Pro-Se Plaintiff Ruben Martinez's ("Plaintiff' or "Mr.
Martinez")'s Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
(ECF No. 36.) The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Court has considered
the parties' submissions and decides this matter without oral argument pursuant to Rule 78 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the Motion to
Dismiss and dismisses Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint with prejudice.
The Second Amended Complaint alleges that, on or about May 31, 2007, Plaintiff and his
wife, Leticia Leon, executed a note (the "Note") in favor of GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc.
named as Capital One Financial Corp. in the Amended Complaint.
This background is derived from Plaintiffs Amended Complaint, which the Court must accept as true at this stage
of the proceedings. See Alston v. Countrywide Fin. C01p., 585 F.3d 753, 758 (3d Cir. 2009).
("GMF") in the amount of $300,000.00, and Plaintiffs granted a mortgage (the "Mortgage") to
GMF, secured by the property at 63 Market Street, Passaic, New Jersey (the "Property")
(collectively the "Loan"). (ECF No. 33, Second Amended Complaint ("SAC")~~ 29-31; see also
ECF No. 36-2, Exs. A (Note) and B (Mortgage) to Defendant's Brief.) 3 Plaintiff signed the
Mortgage as an "accommodation party."4 (See Mortgage.)
Plaintiff commenced this action on January 13, 2015 against U.S. Bank N.A. and Aurora
Loan Services, LLC. (ECF No. 1.) Because it was determined that neither U.S. Bank N.A. nor
Aurora Loan Services, LLC had any interest in the Property or Loan, in August 2015 the Court
dismissed Plaintiffs original Complaint without prejudice with right to refile against the
appropriate defendant. (ECF Nos. 16, 17.) On November 17, 2015, Plaintiff filed a three-count
Amended Complaint naming Capital One as Defendant. (ECF No. 21.) On January 28, 2016,
Capital One moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint. (See ECF No. 28-1 ("Mov. Br.").) On
March I, 2016, the Court granted the motion and dismissed Plaintiffs Amended Complaint
without prejudice, and gave Plaintiff "a final opportunity" to amend his complaint to state a claim.
"[A] document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint may be considered without converting the motion
to dismiss into one for summary judgment." Schmidt v. Skolas, 770 F.3d 241, 249 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting In re
Burlington Coat Facto1y Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (quotation marks omitted)).
Under the UCC,
An accommodation party is one who has signed the instrument as maker, drawer,
acceptor, or indorser, without receiving value therefor, and for the purpose of
lending his name to some other person. Such a person is liable on the instrument
to a holder for value, notwithstanding such holder at the time of taking the
instrument knew him to be only an accommodation party.
§ 29. Liability of Accommodation Party, ULA APPENDIX I, UNIF.COMMERCIAL CODE UNIL § 29. For
purposes of this Motion to Dismiss only, and because the Court dismisses on other grounds, the Court concludes that
Plaintiff has standing. See Harrison v. M R. A., Ltd., 278 F.2d 539, 541 (9th Cir. 1960) ("The essential feature of an
accommodation party to a negotiable instrument is a loan of credit or financial standing to an accommodated principal
party.") (citations omitted); In re Boles, 150 B.R. 733, 735 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1993) ("Standing under§ 523(a)(2)(B)
includes situations where an accommodation party on a loan is subrogated to the creditor's rights or has a right of
contribution against the debtor.") (citation omitted).
(ECF Nos. 30, 31.)
On April 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed the operative Second Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 33 .)
On May 4, 2016, Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss. (See ECF No. 36-1 ("Mov. Br.").)
On May 12, 2016, Plaintiff filed opposition. (ECF No. 37 ("Opp. Br.").) On May 27, 2016,
Defendant filed a reply. (ECF No. 38 ("Reply Br.").) The matter is now ripe for resolution.
To withstand a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."'
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell At!. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "The plausibility standard is not akin to
a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
To determine the sufficiency of a complaint under Twombly and Iqbal in the Third Circuit,
the court must take three steps: first, the court must take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead
to state a claim; second, the court should identify allegations that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth; finally, where there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly
give rise to an entitlement for relief. See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016) (citations omitted). "In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must consider only
the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of the public record, as well as
undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these documents."
Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010).
The Court also notes that pleadings submitted by pro se litigants are subject to liberal
construction. See Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011). The Court is required to
accept a pro se plaintiffs well-pleaded factual allegations as true while drawing reasonable
inferences in his or her favor. Capogrosso v. Sup. Ct. of NJ., 588 F .3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2009).
However, a pro se complaint must still contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face. See Franklin v. GMAC Mortgage, 523 F. App'x 172, 173 (3d Cir.
As noted, on March 1, 2016, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs Amended Complaint without
prejudice, and gave Plaintiff "a final opportunity" to amend his complaint to state a claim. (ECF
Nos. 30, 31.)
On April 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed the operative Second Amended Complaint, again asserting
breach of contract, fraud in the concealment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (ECF
No. 33.) Significantly, as noted by Defendants, the Second Amended Complaint is essentially
identical to the Amended Complaint that was previously dismissed by this Court. (See ECF No.
36-1, Mccumber Cert., Ex. C (redline comparison).)
Plaintiff only made changes to the
"Introduction," deleting one paragraph, and adding three others. 5 No other changes were made.
5 Plaintiff deleted the first paragraph, which had stated as follows: "Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant for
damages and harm resulting from Defendant's negligent, fraudulent and unlawful conduct concerning a residential
Indeed, the Second Amended Complaint rehashes the exact same allegations as the previously
dismissed complaint. In other words, Plaintiff did not actually amend his complaint to address the
deficiencies identified by the Court.
The Court hereby incorporates and adopts its Opinion dated March 1, 2016 (ECF No. 30),
and dismisses the Second Amended Complaint for the same reasons set forth in the Court's March
1, 2016 Opinion. The Court notes that in his opposition brief, Plaintiff abandons his breach of
contract claim, and requests leave to amend, ostensibly, the fraud and intentional infliction of
emotional distress claims. 6
However, Plaintiff does not explain how discovery would yield a
plausible claim, nor does he identify any potential allegations that would be incorporated in to a
theoretical Third Amended Complaint. For example, with respect to the fraud claim, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant fraudulently concealed that the Loan was securitized. (See ECF No. 33
71-85.) However, even accepting as true the allegation that the Loan was securitized, there are no
allegations that Defendant had a duty to disclose, that the omitted information was material, or that
Plaintiff was damaged in any way. See Gennari v. Weichert Co. Realtors, 148 N.J. 582, 610 (1997)
(listing elements for fraud in the concealment claim). Plaintiff does not explain how discovery
would cure such defects. Likewise, with respect to the claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress, Plaintiff does not explain how discovery or amendment would yield a plausible claim,
when the Court previously indicated that the claim was likely barred by the economic loss doctrine,
and that Plaintiffs complaints regarding "litigation-induced stress" were insufficient to state a
claim. (See Mar. 1, 2016 Op. at 7-8.) Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs Second
mortgage loan transaction." Plaintiff then added three paragraphs, which in essence simply note that Plaintiff was
given leave to amend after the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss, and that the document "shall serve as the
operative pleading." (See ECF No. 33 ml 2-4.)
Plaintiff does not mention the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim in his opposition brief.
Amended Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Dismissal is with prejudice. The March 1, 2016 made clear that Plaintiff had "a final
opportunity" to amend his allegations address the deficiencies identified in the March 1, 2106
Opinion. (See id. at 8-9.) As Plaintiff did not actually amend his allegations, dismissal with
prejudice is warranted, because it is clear that further amendment would be futile.
For the reasons above, and for the reasons stated in this Court's March 30, 2016 Opinion,
(ECF No. 30), the Court grants the Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 36.) Plaintiffs Second Amended
Complaint is dismissed with prejudice. An appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
SE L. LINARES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?