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Estes v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

January 27, 2015

PAULETTE M. ESTES, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage ("Wells Fargo") (collectively "Defendants") Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and/or 56(a) motion for an order dismissing claims with prejudice and/or granting summary judgment (Dkt. 26). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion in part and denies it in part for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 18, 2014, Plaintiff Paulette Estes ("Estes") filed a complaint in Clark County Superior Court against Defendants. Dkt. 1, Ex. A at 4-18. Estes alleged (1) breach of contract, (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) violation of Washington's Consumer Protection Act ("CPA"), (4) misrepresentation, (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and (6) promissory estoppel. Id.

On March 19, 2014, Defendants removed the matter to this Court. Dkt. 1.

On May 5, 2014, Defendants filed a similar motion seeking dismissal of all Estes's claims. Dkt. 13. On August 20, 2014, the Court granted the motion in part and denied it in part and granted Estes leave to file an amended complaint. Dkt. 23. On August 29, 2014, Estes filed an amended complaint asserting causes of action for (1) breach of contract, (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) violation of the CPA, (4) negligent misrepresentation, (5) outrage, and (6) promissory estoppel. Dkt. 25 ("Comp.").

On October 29, 2014, Defendants filed the instant motion. Dkt. 26. On December 15, 2014, Estes responded. Dkt. 38. On January 2, 2015, Defendants replied. Dkt. 44.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On December 20, 2002, Estes and her husband obtained a home loan, secured by a deed of trust on the property in question. Comp. ¶ 3.2. Soon after the home loan's inception, Fannie Mae became the owner of the loan and Wells Fargo began servicing the loan. Id. ¶¶ 3.3, 3.4.

In December 2008, Estes contacted Wells Fargo to discuss options for lowering her mortgage payment. Id. ¶ 3.8. Over the next few months, Estes alleges that she sent the requested financial information to Wells Fargo to be considered for a loan modification. Id. ¶ 3.9. According to Estes, she received a September 22, 2009 letter from Wells Fargo, which stated:

Based on our recent conversation about your current mortgage payment issues, we've gone back and carefully reviewed your situation and the information you provided. That's why we're writing you today-to let you know the results of our review. You may be eligible for a trial modification plan under the government's Home Affordable Modification Program, and we estimate your new payment amount to be $1, 167.

Id. ¶ 3.10. Estes states that the letter explained step-by-step how to proceed with the modification process:

(1) You must call us to finalize this offer by October 6, 2009 so that we can establish your trial modification plan; (2) During the phone call, we'll schedule a date for your first trial payment using our free Wells Fargo Easy Pay automatic payment service.... (3) You will need to make two additional payments at your modified amount using Wells Fargo Easy Pay over the following sixty days; (4) Within a week of setting up your trial payments, we will send you a package of information that clearly spells out the full terms and documentation you need to supply.

Id. ¶ 3.11. The letter closed with the following statement:

Don't let this opportunity to lower your monthly mortgage payments through the Home Affordable Modification Program pass you by. Call us right away to schedule your required trial period payment, and you are in the program. It's that easy.

Id. ¶ 3.12.

Estes alleges that she never received the promised packet of information that clearly spells out the full terms and documents she would need to supply. Id. ¶ 3.13. Estes further alleges that on October 2, 2009, she scheduled her three trial payments with Wells Fargo to be made on October 10, November 10, and December 10, 2009. Id. ¶ 3.14. According to Estes, during a call with Wells Fargo representative, Monica, the bank requested no further documentation from Estes. Id. Before accepting the trial modification offer, Estes alleges that she was current on her mortgage with the unpaid principal balance at approximately $283, 360.20. Id. ¶ 3.15.

According to Estes, after she made the first payment on the trial plan, she received a letter stating she and her husband were in default on their mortgage. Id. ¶ 3.16. Estes alleges that she called and spoke to a Wells Fargo representative, Melissa, who explained that Estes was technically late on her loan payment per the original note; however, Melissa also indicated that Estes was in the home loan modification program and working under a different payment plan. Id. Melissa instructed Estes to continue to make the trial payments. Id. No further documents were requested from Estes at that time. Id. Estes alleges that she continued to make monthly trial payments at the modified rate for fifty months. Id. ¶ 3.17.

Estes alleges that she continued to call Wells Fargo to check on the status of her modification. She alleges that on January 6, 2010 she contacted Wells Fargo and was instructed by them to send updated financial information by fax; she did so that same day. Id. ¶ 3.18. On March 10, 2010, Estes alleges that she received a letter from the bank stating:

Unfortunately, after carefully reviewing the information you've provided, we are unable to adjust the terms of your mortgage. We can only process your request for payment assistance if we have additional information from you. We have been unable to reach you to discuss your situation. For that reason, you have not been approved for assistance with your current payment challenges.

Id. ¶ 3.19. On March 11, 2010, Estes alleges that she phoned Wells Fargo and spoke with a representative, Diane, who instructed her to re-fax all her financial documents, which Estes did that same day. Id. ¶ 3.20. According to Estes, on March 17, 2010, she received a loan modification starter kit sent by mail from Wells Fargo, which contained forms that she completed, including updates regarding her ...


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