United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Talwani United States District Judge.
reasons set forth below, the court directs the plaintiff to
file an amended complaint. I. Background In August
2016, pro se plaintiff Matthew Farrell
(“Farrell”) filed a complaint [#1] in which he
alleges that the defendant, Wells Fargo, is in the process of
wrongfully foreclosing on his home. He also filed a motion
for a temporary restraining order to prevent the foreclosure
scheduled for September 2, 2016.
to Farrell, he has been in his home since 2004 and initially
was making $3, 000 mortgage payments each month. At some
point, he lost his regular employment. He contacted the loan
company regarding his situation but was told that
he had to continue making the same monthly payment. Farrell
also claims that he applied for a loan modification and that,
instead of reviewing it in good faith, the lender simply
rejected it. He believes that he was discriminated against
because he is a single parent. The plaintiff further
represents that he made a $70, 000 down payment on the house
but he questions what became of that money.
August 22, 2016, the court issued an order [#6] in which it
granted Farrell's motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, ordered that a summons issue, and set a
hearing on the motion for a temporary restraining order for
August 25, 2016.
court held the hearing on Farrell's motion for a
temporary restraining order as scheduled. Wells Fargo did not
appear. At the hearing, the court denied without prejudice
the motion for a temporary restraining order and directed
Farrell to file an amended complaint. Thereafter, counsel for
Wells Fargo entered their appearances.
subsequently filed a one-page handwritten statement [#14]
complaining of Wells Fargo's “Widespread Illegal
practices” and expressing his desire to keep his house.
Statement [#14]. He asserts that the lenders did his papers
wrong, that he does not see his $70, 000 down payment on his
account, that the bank that he was dealing with has closed,
and that Wells Fargo is a stranger to him. Statement [#14].
Farrell's original complaint nor his one-page statement
to the court satisfy the pleading requirements of a
complaint. A complaint must, as required by Rule 8(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 8(a)”),
include “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). At a minimum, the complaint must
“give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Calvi v. Knox County, 470 F.3d 422,
430 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Educadores
Puertorriqueños en Acción v.
Hernández, 367 F.3d 61, 66 (1st Cir. 2004)). The
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
claim “requires more than labels and
conclusions.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “Where the well-pleaded facts
do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, ” the complaint does not
show that “the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (quoting
Fed. R Civ. P. 8(a)(2) in second quotation).
Farrell's original complaint and statement do not meet
the requirements of Rule 8(a). Although the court can discern
from the filings that Farrell claims Wells Fargo did not
review his loan modification request in good faith, this is a
conclusory allegation that the court cannot credit. Missing
from Farrell's pleadings is a recitation of the alleged
facts from which the court could reasonably infer that Wells
Fargo violated the law and that the plaintiff is entitled to
relief. Farrell's pleading do not specify when he
contacted Wells Fargo (or its agents) about a possible loan
modification; the response by Wells Fargo; any ensuing
communication between the parties; what information Farrell
provided to Wells Fargo and when he provided it; evidence
that Wells Fargo did not review his loan modification
application; what representations, if any, Wells Fargo made
in regards to his eligibility for a loan modification and
whether Wells Fargo followed through with any such promise;
and, the existence and terms of any trial loan modification
agreement and whether the parties adhered to the terms of
such agreement. Similarly, he does not identify facts on
which he bases his claim of discrimination. Nor does he
provide details concerning any alleged wrongdoing in regards
to his closing or the application of his down payment.
Notably, there is no clear timeline of the relevant events.
Farrell wishes to pursue this action, he must file an amended
complaint that complies with the pleading requirements of
Rule 8(a). Because an amended complaint completely replaces
the original complaint, see Connectu LLC v.
Zuckerberg, 522 F.3d 82, 91 (1st Cir. 2008), Farrell
should include in the amended complaint any allegations in
the original complaint or other documents he filed that he
wishes to be part of the operative complaint. Further, all
factual allegations and legal claims should be “in
numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a
single set of circumstances.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b).
court directs the plaintiff to file an amended complaint
within twenty-eight (28) days of the date of this order.
Failure to do so will result in dismissal of the action.
defendant is not required to respond to the original
complaint, statement, or any amended complaint ...