United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
VERONICA K. PONGO, FRANCISCO AVOKI, Plaintiff,
BANK OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
ROBERT J. CONRAD, Jr., District Judge.
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, (Doc. Nos. 44; 50; 52; 53), Plaintiffs' Response, and the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation ("M & R"), (Doc. No. 71), recommending that the motions be granted. Plaintiffs filed an Objection to the M & R on September 30, 2014, and Defendants filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Objection on October 17, 2014. (Doc. Nos. 72; 76).
As accurately related in the M & R, this matter involves the foreclosure of a deed of trust on real property located at 2417 Shamrock Drive in Charlotte, North Carolina. On November 7, 2005, Plaintiffs executed a promissory note (the "Note") for $80, 000 in favor of Defendant America's Wholesale Lender along with a Deed of Trust (the "Deed of Trust"). On June 20, 2011, the Deed of Trust was assigned to Defendant Bank of New York Mellon. Plaintiffs allege that they submitted loan modifications beginning in November 2006, but Defendants were unresponsive.
On March 12, 2012, the Substitute Trustee instituted a foreclosure proceeding and filed a Notice of Hearing, which was served on Plaintiffs. On April 15, 2013, the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Court entered an Order Allowing Foreclosure of the Property and Plaintiffs filed a timely Notice of Appeal to Superior Court.
On June 27, 2013, a Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge affirmed the Order Allowing Foreclosure. The Court found that Plaintiffs were "behind at least forty-one (41) monthly payments as required under the terms of the Note and Deed of Trust" and that proper notice was provided to all parties. Plaintiffs did not appeal the Superior Court's Order.
On January 17, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in this court, which, as amended, alleges that "Countrywide did not provide Plaintiffs with enough information to make an informed decision" about their loan or the right to rescind the transaction and thereby "coerced and manipulated [Plaintiffs] into a higher rate." (Doc. No. 38 at 6-7; 16). Plaintiffs further allege that "an agent acting for Bank of America unlawfully and forcible entered the [Property], removed off all of the furnishings and personal belongings, changed the locks on the doors, and then... winterized the property." (Id. at 22). Based on those factual contentions, Plaintiffs asserted causes of action for: (1) Fraud; (2) violation of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"); (3) violation of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act ("HOEPA"); (4) Trespass; (5) Conversion; (6) Negligence; (7) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress; (8) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress ("IIED"); (9) Invasion of Privacy; (10) Breach of Contract; (11) Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith; and (12) Unjust Enrichment.
After a number of initial motions to dismiss were filed by various Defendants, see Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 3; 17; 26), Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Amend their Complaint, (Doc. No. 27), which this Court allowed, (Doc. No. 37), mooting the first Motions to Dismiss in accordance with Rule 15. Plaintiffs then filed their Amended Complaint on July 11, 2014, and Defendants filed their second round of Motions to Dismiss. (Doc. Nos. 44; 50; 52; 53). Among other filings, Plaintiffs filed a series of Responses, (Doc. Nos. 64; 65; 66; 67), to the Motions to Dismiss, and Defendant Eagle Adjusting Services, Inc., filed a Reply. (Doc. No. 70).
On September 15, 2014, Honorable David S. Cayer, United States Magistrate Judge, filed an M & R recommending that the Motions to Dismiss be granted and further advising Plaintiffs of their right to file Objections. (Doc. No. 71).
In addition to filing Objections, Plaintiffs filed on October 2, 2014, a second Motion to Amend their previously Amended Complaint. (Doc. No. 73). Also pending before the Court are a number of other motions, which include Plaintiffs': (1) Motion to Modify a Protective Order (Doc. No. 49); and (2) Motion for Criminal Investigation of Affiant, (Doc. No. 56). Defendants America's Wholesale Lender, BAC Home Servicing, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Beverly Brooks, Kimberly Dawson, Eagle Adjusting Service, Inc, MERS, Inc., and Trustee Service of Carolina ("Bank Defendants") have filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' Motion for Criminal Investigation. (Doc. No. 61).
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Federal Magistrate Act provides that a district court "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specific proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). De novo review is not required by the statute when an objecting party makes only general or conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate judge's recommendations. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44 (4th Cir. 1982). Further, the statute does not on its face require any review at all of issues that are not the subject of an objection. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985); Camby, 178 F.2d at 200. Nonetheless, a district judge is responsible for the final determination and outcome of the case, and accordingly this Court has conducted a careful review of the Magistrate Judge's M & R.
A. Consideration of Plaintiffs' ...