United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division, Lafayette
ANTHONY G. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
JP MORGAN CHASE, CHASE HOME FINANCE, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on the: (1) Report and
Recommendations of Magistrate Judge John E. Martin, filed on
June 30, 2017 (DE #67); and (2) the Plaintiff's Objection
to Magistrate's Findings, Report and Recommendation,
filed by pro se Plaintiff, Anthony G. Taylor, on July 14,
2017 (DE #68). For the reasons set forth below, the objection
(DE #68) is OVERRULED and the report and
recommendation (DE #67) is ADOPTED.
Accordingly, Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings, filed by Defendant, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., on
January 4, 2017 (DE #37), is GRANTED, and
the Clerk is ORDERED to
DISMISS all claims against Defendant, Chase,
WITH PREJUDICE. Plaintiff's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings, filed by pro se Plaintiff, Anthony
G. Taylor, on January 27, 2017 (DE #46), is DENIED AS
30, 2017, this Court referred Defendant's motion for
judgment on the pleadings (DE #37) and Plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings (DE #46) to Magistrate Judge
John Martin for report and recommendation. (DE #60.)
30, 2017, Magistrate Judge John Martin issued a Report and
Recommendation. (DE #67.) First, Judge Martin denied
Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint (DE #38). Judge
Martin also ruled upon Defendant's motion for judgment on
the pleadings (DE #37), finding that Taylor's claims fail
as a matter of law and Chase was entitled to judgment on the
pleadings. (DE #67.) Finally, Judge Martin ruled on
Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings (DE
#46), recommending it should be denied as moot because
Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings was
successful. (DE #67.) The facts of the case are fully set
forth in Judge Martin's opinion.
filed a timely objection to the Magistrate Judge's
rulings on July 14, 2017 (DE #68), and Chase filed a response
on July 27, 2017 (DE #69). As such, this matter if fully
briefed and ripe for adjudication.
Court's review of the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
When a party makes objections to a magistrate judge's
recommendations, “[t]he district court is required to
conduct a de novo determination of those portions of the
magistrate judge's report and recommendations to which
objections have been filed.” Goffman v. Gross,
59 F.3d 668, 671 (7th Cir. 1995). “[T]he court may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge misapplied the
standard of review for the judgment on the pleadings. (DE #68
at 3.) To the contrary, the Magistrate Judge properly
evaluated the motions for judgment on the pleadings under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) under the same standard
as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c)
“is reviewed under the same standard as a motion to
dismiss under 12(b); the motion is not granted unless it
appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no facts
sufficient to support his claim for relief, and the facts in
the complaint are viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party.” Flenner v. Sheahan, 107
F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1997); see also Thomason v.
Nachtrieb, 888 F.2d 1202, 1204 (7th Cir. 1989). In order
to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face'.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). All well-pleaded facts must be
accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences from those
facts must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. Pugh
v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 692 (7th Cir. 2008).
However, pleadings consisting of no more than mere
conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. This includes legal
conclusions couched as factual allegations, as well as
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555). Nevertheless, the court must bear in mind that a
pro se complaint is entitled to liberal
construction, “however inartfully pleaded.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
because Plaintiff included 77 allegations in his complaint
does not mean that he has properly pled the parties had an
agreement. (DE #68 at 4.) Indeed, the Magistrate Judge
analyzed in detail the breach of contract claim and properly
determined that no contract existed because, inter
alia, no offer was made by Chase to Taylor; Chase never
returned an executed copy of the TPP, and Taylor's
signature on the TPP letter did not bind Chase to its terms.
(DE #67 at 5-7.) As such, the Magistrate Judge properly found
that Plaintiff could not establish the elements of a breach
of contract claim.
Plaintiff contends the Magistrate Judge misapplied the
rationale and holding in Baehl v. Bank of America,
N.A., 3:12-cv-00029-RLY-WGH, 2013 WL 1319635 (S.D. Ind.
Mar. 29, 2013). (DE #68 at 6.) To the contrary,
Baehl is directly on point. In that case, like here,
the plaintiffs executed and returned a TPP to the bank.
Id. at *2-3. When the Baehl plaintiffs did
not obtain a permanent loan modification, they sued the bank
for, among other claims, breach of contract. Id. at
*11. In dismissing the breach of contract claim, the
Baehl court held that the TPP was not an enforceable
contract, because the:
language of the TPP is clear that the TPP was not an offer by
[the bank] to Plaintiffs which Plaintiffs could accept simply
by providing further documentation. Instead, it was an
invitation for Plaintiffs to apply to the program, which