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Lia v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82053 United States District Court for the District of New Jersey  

June 17, 2014, Decided; June 17, 2014, Filed Civ. No. 2:14-0752 (WJM) 

"For purposes of Rule 8(a) and 9(b), Plaintiffs have sufficiently pled an unconscionable commercial practice. Plaintiffs allege that Wells Fargo strung them along for months, letting Plaintiffs believe they would be eligible for loan modification when Wells Fargo knew or should have known that they would not be. Plaintiffs also allege Wells Fargo's delay tactics were geared toward preventing Plaintiffs from receiving a loan modification. It is possible that Plaintiff's theory lacks foundation—i.e. it is possible that Wells Fargo had nothing to gain from drawing out the application process, and that Wells Fargo's employees were simply careless or overburdened. It is also possible that Wells Fargo strung out the application process to increase the chances of an event, like the 2010 tax lien, that would allow Wells Fargo to deny Plaintiffs application. Discovery will reveal which theory is correct. Since the truth lies with Wells Fargo, Rule 9(b) does not permit the Court  [*7] to demand more of the Plaintiffs by way of factual allegations at this stage of the case. See In re Craftmatic Sec. Litig., 890 F.2d 628, 645 (3d Cir. 1989) (relaxing the 9(b) standard where plaintiffs "cannot be expected to have personal knowledge of the details of corporate internal affairs"). 


Lia v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 2:14-0752 (WJM), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82053, at *6-7 (D.N.J. June 17, 2014) 



Lia is cited by the following Courts: 


***Cited by 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Bukowski v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 35034   December 13, 2018  "Indeed, the District Court recognized this very principle in a prior decision, where it permitted the plaintiffs to proceed with their HAMP-oriented NJCFA claim because HAMP in no way "precludes state law causes of action." Giordano v. Saxon Mortg. Servs., Inc., No. CIV.A. 12-7937 (MAS), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137703, 2014 WL 4897190, at *4 (D.N.J. Sept. 30, 2014) (quoting Lia v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 14-0752(WJM), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82053, 2014 WL 2739348, at *2 (D.N.J. June 17, 2014)). 

            Bukowski v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 17-3253, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 35034, at *9 (3d Cir. Dec. 13, 2018) 

***Cited by the NJ District Court: Pigford v. Residential Credit Solutions, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156445   November 19, 2015  ("Wells Fargo begins by arguing that both counts should be dismissed because they constitute an impermissible end run around a federal law called Home Affordable [*11]  Modification Program ('HAMP'), which apparently governs the loan modification sought by Plaintiffs, and which lacks a private right of action. In support of this argument, Wells Fargo cites an unpublished Third Circuit decision, Sinclair v. Citi Mortg. Inc., 519 F. App'x 737, 2013 WL 1010617 (3d Cir. 2013). Sinclair is neither binding nor on-point. Sinclair held only that that HAMP lacks a private right of action. It did not hold that HAMP in any way precludes state law causes of action. On the other hand, in Wigod v. Wells Fargo Bank, 673 F.3d 547, 581-85 (7th Cir. 2012), a published decision that is on-point, the Seventh Circuit explicitly rejected Wells Fargo's 'impermissible end run' argument. The Court finds Wigod to be persuasive.") 

Pigford v. Residential Credit Sols., Inc., No. 13-5703 (RMB/AMD), 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156445, at *10-11 n.6 (D.N.J. Nov. 19, 2015) 


***Cited by the NJ District Court in:  

Giordano v. Saxon Mortg. Servs., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137703  September 29, 2014: " However, recent decisions in this Circuit have not construed that statement as totally precluding plaintiffs [*10]  from pursuing their claims under state law. See, e.g., Lia v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 14-0752 (WJM), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82053, 2014 WL 2739348, at * 2 (D.N.J. June 17, 2014) ("Sinclair is neither binding nor on-point. Sinclair held only that HAMP lacks a private right of action. It did not hold that HAMP in any way precludes state law causes of action."); Laughlin v. Bank of Am., N.A., No. 13-4414 (JAP), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79441, 2014 WL 2602260, at *7 n.7 (D.N.J. June 11, 2014). Accordingly, the Court rejects Defendant's assertion that Plaintiffs' claims are an "impermissible back-door effort to enforce HAMP Guidelines." 

Giordano v. Saxon Mortg. Servs., Civil Action No. 12-7937 (MAS) (LHG), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137703, at *9 (D.N.J. Sep. 29, 2014) 


*Montesdeoca: First finding of Predatory lending in New Jersey, Bergen County Chancery Division, Court found that the Plaintiff was responsible for violations of the NJ Consumer Fraud Act. 


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