United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Darrin M. Mottram
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A Opinion No. 2016 DNH 046
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
BARBADORO, District Judge.
M. Mottram, proceeding pro se, has sued Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A., for claims arising from the bank's attempts to
foreclose on his home. Mottram alleges that Wells Fargo (1)
discriminated against him because he is disabled, (2)
violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
("RESPA") by failing to disclose certain
information about his loan, and (3) breached the covenant of
good faith and fair dealing by declining to modify his loan.
He asserts that Wells Fargo's actions have caused him
emotional distress. Wells Fargo responded with a motion to
dismiss, arguing that Mottram's complaint fails to state
a viable claim for relief.
who suffers from an unspecified disability, lives at 42 South
Avenue in Derry, New Hampshire. In January 2009, Mottram
entered into a mortgage, secured by his home, with Plaza Home
Mortgage, Inc. In 2012, Mottram's mortgage was assigned
to Wells Fargo, the defendant here.
point, Mottram defaulted on his mortgage, and Wells Fargo
attempted to foreclose. Wells Fargo hired the Harmon Law
Offices as foreclosure counsel, which sent Mottram notices
that his house would be auctioned. Those notices, and the
possibility that he would be required to leave his home,
upset Mottram. He filed this suit.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must allege
sufficient facts to "state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially
plausible if it provides "factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id .
This plausibility standard "asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully, "
id., but "simply calls for enough fact to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence" of wrongdoing. Twombly, 550 U.S. at
employ a two-step approach in deciding a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion. See Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640
F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). First, I screen the complaint for
statements that "merely offer legal conclusions couched
as fact or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action." Id . (citations, internal punctuation,
and alterations omitted). I then accept as true all
non-conclusory factual allegations and the reasonable
inferences drawn therefrom, and determine whether the claim
is plausible. Id . When applying this standard to a
pro se pleading, I construe the pleading liberally. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also
Dutil v. Murphy, 550 F.3d 154, 158 (1st Cir. 2008)
(explaining that courts "hold pro se pleadings to less
demanding standards than those drafted by lawyers and
endeavor, within reasonable limits, to guard against the loss
of pro se claims due to technical defects").
complaint appears to include four claims: (1) a
discrimination claim, (2) a RESPA claim, (3) a breach of the
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim, and
(4) a claim for infliction of emotional distress. Wells Fargo
attacks each claim on various grounds.
first alleges that Wells Fargo discriminated against him on
the basis of his disability by declining to modify his loan,
attempting to foreclose on his home, and sending him auction
notices. Mottram claims that these actions violate federal
and state anti-discrimination laws. He specifically cites
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans
with Disabilities Act. See Doc. No. 1 at 1.
contends that Wells Fargo violated Title VII by
discriminating against him because of his disability. Title
VII forbids "an employer... [from] discriminat[ing]
against any individual with respect to his compensation,
terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of
such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). Accordingly,
"Title VII is a vehicle through which an individual may
seek recovery for employment discrimination...."
Franceschi v. U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs,
514 F.3d 81, 85 (1st Cir. 2008) (emphasis added). Title VII
thus prohibits only employment-related discrimination. See
Joseph G. Cook & John L. Sobieski, Jr., Civil Rights Actions,
§ 21.08[A], at 21-54 (2015) ("Title VII prohibits
discrimination only insofar as it ...