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Aghaji v. Bank of America N.A.

April 13, 2017

Corinne L. Cortes, Esq.

Plaintiff Homeowners Bringing A Class Action Were Unsuccessful in Challenging Denial of Leave to Amend Where They Fail to Show Proposed Additional Facts Sufficient to State Unfair Competition Claims Which Did Not Arise Out of the Same Transaction or Occurrence

In the recent case Aghaji v. Bank of America N.A., the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision to deny plaintiffs leave to amend their UCL claim against Bank of America and its subsidiaries.  Plaintiffs were all homeowners from all over the United States whose home loans originated with or were serviced by Bank of America and its subsidiaries.  The Court held that the claims of the two-hundred-twenty-two plaintiffs could not be presented in a joint action.

The Court of Appeal first noted that plaintiffs had failed to provide sufficient facts to state a UCL claim.  The Court of Appeal also expressed strong disapproval of plaintiffs’ counsel’s declaration which in reality served to emphasize the diverse fact patterns presented.  The declaration enumerated allegations of other charges to one of the plaintiff’s principal balance, additional and unneeded insurance charged to another plaintiff, mortgage statements provided to a plaintiff that underreported amounts toward his mortgage, and an improper loan modification agreement provided to another plaintiff.   Furthermore, the facts alleged failed to show that the alleged UCL violations all occurred in California.  California’s unfair competition law does not apply exterritorialy.

The Court of Appeal also observed that even if plaintiffs had stated sufficient facts for each of the 222 plaintiffs, the claims did “arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.”  Under Code of Civil Procedure section 378(a)(1), plaintiffs may join in one action if “[t]hey assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative, in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all these persons will arise in the action.”

 

By: Corinne L. Cortes, Esq.

Cochran, Davis & Associates, P.C.

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