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Fletcher v. Seterus, Inc.

United States District Court, District of New Hampshire

May 19, 2014

Wesley C. Fletcher
v.
Seterus, Inc. Opinion No. 2014 DNH 121

ORDER

Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge.

Wesley Fletcher, proceeding pro se, brought suit in state court against Seterus, Inc., alleging claims for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (“RESPA”) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. Seterus removed the case to this court and moved to dismiss the complaint. While the motion to dismiss was pending, Fletcher filed an amended complaint, which asserted only the RESPA claim. Seterus moves to dismiss the amended complaint. Fletcher objects.

Background

Sometime prior to July of 2010, Wesley Fletcher entered into a loan which was secured by a mortgage on property located at 434 Bahia Beach Boulevard in Ruskin, Florida (“Florida property”). On July 10, 2010, Seterus assumed the servicing rights on the loan.[1]

On October 4, 2010, Fletcher called Seterus because his monthly escrow bill for his property taxes had increased even though the actual property taxes had decreased. Fletcher alleges that a representative from Seterus informed him that he could pay the original monthly escrow payment.

On October 28, 2010, after noticing that the additional charges for the escrow payment had not been corrected and that he had been charged a late fee, Fletcher called Seterus again. A representative told him that the monthly escrow payment could not be corrected unless Seterus received a written letter from Fletcher, and that Fletcher should pay the increased amount until the issue was corrected.

On November 4, 2010, Fletcher faxed a letter to Seterus regarding the issue concerning his escrow payment. Fletcher included with the letter his current tax bill, and he confirmed receipt by telephone.

Fletcher received a written response from Seterus on February 9, 2011. The letter informed Fletcher that his monthly escrow bill had been corrected to the original amount, and that he could begin to pay the original amount in his upcoming March 1, 2011, payment. The letter also stated that Fletcher’s unpaid late fees were not credited, and that Fletcher’s account had been reported as delinquent to credit agencies.

Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a defendant to move to dismiss on the ground that the plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. In assessing a complaint for purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court “separate[s] the factual allegations from the conclusory statements in order to analyze whether the former, if taken as true, set forth a plausible, not merely conceivable, case for relief.” Juarez v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 708 F.3d 269, 276 (1st Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). “If the facts alleged in [the complaint] allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendants are liable for the misconduct alleged, the claim has facial plausibility.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

With its motion to dismiss, Seterus included several document as exhibits, including Fletcher’s mortgage on the Florida property and a judgment Fletcher obtained in a landlord-tenant action involving the property. In his objection, Fletcher included his loan application for the Florida property. When the moving party presents matters outside the pleadings to support a motion to dismiss, the court must either exclude those matters or convert the motion to one for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). An exception to Rule 12(d) exists “for documents the authenticity of which [is] not disputed by the parties; for official public records; for documents central to the plaintiffs’ claim; or for documents sufficiently referred to in the complaint.” Rivera v. Centro Medico de Turabo, Inc., 575 F.3d 10, 15 (1st Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, the court may consider documents that are susceptible to judicial notice. Jorge v. Rumsfeld, 404 F.3d 556, 559 (1st Cir. 2005). Fletcher does not dispute the authenticity of the documents included with Seterus’s motion to dismiss. Fletcher’s loan application is integral to his claim in this case. Therefore, these additional documents submitted by the parties may be considered without converting the motion to one for summary judgment.[2]

Discussion

Fletcher alleges that Seterus violated RESPA by (i) exceeding the sixty day time period to respond to his “qualified written request”; (ii) failing to credit late fees; and (iii) reporting delinquencies to consumer reporting agencies during the sixty day time period. Seterus moves to dismiss, arguing that Fletcher fails to allege that RESPA applies to his loan. Seterus further argues that the property for which Fletcher obtained the loan was used primarily for business or commercial purposes, to which RESPA does not apply.

RESPA does not “apply to credit transactions involving extensions of credit . . . primarily for a business, commercial, or agricultural purpose.” 12 U.S.C. § 2606(a). Such credit transactions “includ[e] mortgage loans on non-owner-occupied rental properties.” Edwards v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, --- F.Supp.2d ---, 2014 WL 861996, at *3 (D.D.C. ...


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