United States District Court, M.D. Florida
GREGORY A. PRESNELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court without a hearing on the Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 6) filed by the Defendant, Bank of America,
N.A. (henceforth, “BOA”), and the response in
opposition (Doc. 10) filed by the Plaintiff, Mehdi Taghadoss.
to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 2), which are
accepted in pertinent part as true for purposes of resolving
the instant motion, in 2015 BOA foreclosed a note and
mortgage against Gerald Buckley and Debra Buckley. The final
judgment of foreclosure, which BOA obtained on August 28,
2015, was in the amount of $189, 560.28. (Doc. 2 at 3). The
mortgage foreclosed by BOA was secondary to one held by
Ditech Financial LLC (“Ditech”), which instituted
its own foreclosure action against the Buckleys on December
8, 2015. (Doc. 2 at 2). The principal amount of the note
given to Ditech by the Buckleys was $291, 450; the underlying
property was valued by the Volusia County Property Appraiser
at $292, 008. (Doc. 2 at 2, 5).
judicial sale in the BOA foreclosure action took place on
January 5, 2016. (Doc. 2 at 3). Taghadoss attended the sale.
At the time, he was suffering from a debilitating mental
illness caused by the onset of diabetes. (Doc. 2 at 3).
Unaware of his impairment, and unaware that the BOA mortgage
was subordinate to the Ditech mortgage (and that Ditech had
instituted its own foreclosure proceedings), Taghadoss bid
$193, 000 on a worthless mortgage. (Doc. 2 at 3). As no other
entity had placed more than a nominal bid, Taghadoss won; he
tendered the $193, 000 to the clerk of courts and a
certificate of title was issued to him two weeks later. (Doc.
2 at 3). BOA netted $192, 906.92 from Taghadoss. (Doc. 2 at
3). Within a few days of the sale, Taghadoss fell into a
diabetic coma, resulting in repeated, lengthy hospitalizat
ions. (Doc. 2 at 3).
August 2, 2017, Taghadoss filed the instant suit in state
court, asserting claims against BOA for unjust enrichment
(Count I) and rescission based on mental incompetence (Count
II). The case was removed to this court on November 2, 2017.
By way of the instant motion, BOA seeks dismissal of both
Le gal Standards
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief” so as to give the defendant fair
notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests, Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct.
99, 103, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957), overruled on other
grounds, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). A Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
merely tests the sufficiency of the complaint; it does not
decide the merits of the case. Milburn v. United
States, 734 F.2d 762, 765 (11th Cir.1984). In ruling on
a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual
allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light
most fa vorable to the plaintiff. SEC v. ESM Group,
Inc., 835 F.2d 270, 272 (11th Cir. 1988). The Court must
also limit its consideration to the pleadings and any
exhibits attached thereto. Fed. R. Civ. P . 10(c); see
also GSW, Inc. v. Long County, Ga., 999 F.2d 1508, 1510
(11th Cir. 1993).
plaintiff must provide enough factual a llegations to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1966, and to
indicate the presence of the required elements, Watts v.
Fla. Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1302 (11th Cir.
2007). Conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual deductions
or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent
dismissal. Davila v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 326 F.3d
1183, 1185 (11th Cir. 2003).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), the Supreme Court explained that a
complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations,
“but it demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading
that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of
further factual enhancement.” Id. at 1949
(internal citations and quotations omitted). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - ‘that
the plaintiff is entitled to relief.'” Id.
at 1950 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
Florida law, the elements of unjust enrichment are (1)
plaintiff conferred a benefit on the defendant; (2) defendant
voluntarily accepted and retained the benefit conferred; and
(3) the circumstances are such that it would be inequitable
for the defendant to retain the benefit without paying the
value thereof to the plaintiff. Fito v. Attorneys'
Title Ins. Fund, Inc., 83 So.3d 755, 758 (Fla. 3d DCA
2011). The plaintiff must show that it directly conferred a
benefit on the defendant. Peoples Nat. Bank of Commerce
v. First Union Nat. Bank of Florida, N.A., 667 So.2d
876, 879 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996) (affirming dismissal of unjust
enrichment claim where plaintiff had sued other banks that
participated in joint loan, alleging that the other banks had
been overpaid by organizer of joint loan, because any benefit
from the overpayment would have been conferred by the
organizer, not the plaintiff). BOA contends that Taghadoss
did not confer a “direct benefit” on it because
he paid the clerk of courts, not BOA. (Doc. 6 at 3). However,
a plaintiff need not be in direct contact with a defendant to
confer a direct benefit on it. See, e.g.,
Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-21233,
2011WL4901346 (S. D. Fla . October 14, 2011) (“It would
not serve the principles of justice and equity to preclude an
unjust enrichment claim merely because the
‘benefit' passed through an intermediary before
being conferred on a defendant.”). Based on the
allegations of the Complaint, the clerk of courts was merely
an intermediary here, and Taghadoss conferred a direct
benefit on BOA in the amount of $192, 906.92. The motion will
be denied as to Count I.