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Azure Manor/Rancho De Paz Homeowners Association v. D.R. Horton, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 10, 2015

AZURE MANOR/RANCHO DE PAZ HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff(s),
v.
D.R. HORTON, INC., Defendant(s)

ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.

Presently before the court is a motion for relief from an order, and in the alternative, a motion for reconsideration, submitted by plaintiff Azure Manor/Rancho De Paz Homeowners Association ("HOA"). (Doc. # 13). Defendant D.R. Horton, Inc. ("D.R. Horton") filed a response, (doc. # 14), and plaintiff filed a reply, (doc. # 15).

I. Background

Plaintiff in this case is the homeowners association for the Azure Manor/Rancho De Paz community in Clark County, Nevada. (Doc. # 2 at 3). Plaintiff, in its representative capacity, brought suit in Nevada state court against D.R. Horton, one of the community's builders, alleging construction defects. (Doc. # 2 at 3). Plaintiff brought this action as a single-family home class action suit. (Doc. # 2 at 3).

D.R. Horton removed the action to this court. (Doc. # 1). On January 07, 2015, it filed a motion to stay litigation and to dismiss plaintiff's class action allegations. (Doc. # 5). In this motion, D.R. Horton argued that plaintiff failed to meet the various notice requirements for construction defect claims established by N.R.S. chapter 40 and asked this court to stay the case until plaintiff complied with the statutory requirements. (Doc. # 5 at 5-6). Additionally, D.R. Horton argued that a class action suit is inappropriate for constructive defect claims for single-family homes and asked this court to dismiss the portion of plaintiff's complaint related to the class action allegations. (Doc. # 5 at 7-10).

Plaintiff's response to D.R. Horton's motions was due January 26, 2015. (Doc. # 13 at 4). After plaintiff failed to file its response on this date, this court issued an order on January 27, finding that this failure constituted plaintiff's consent to granting D.R. Horton's motion and that a weighing of the Ghazali factors supported dismissal of plaintiff's claims. (Doc. # 11; see Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 53 (9th Cir. 1995)). Accordingly, this court dismissed plaintiff's complaint without prejudice. (Doc. # 11).

Plaintiff now moves for relief from this order pursuant to F.R.C.P. 60(b)(1). In the alternative, plaintiff moves for reconsideration of this order.

II. Legal standard

Under Rule 60(b), a court may relieve a party from a final judgment, order or proceeding only in the following circumstances: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) fraud; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the judgment. Stewart v. Dupnik, 243 F.3d 549, 549 (9th Cir. 2000); see also De Saracho v. Custom Food Mach., Inc., 206 F.3d 874, 880 (9th Cir. 2000) (noting that the district court's denial of a Rule 60(b) motion is reviewed for an abuse of discretion).

III. Discussion

Plaintiff makes a variety of arguments as to why this court should either grant plaintiff relief from its earlier order dismissing plaintiff's complaint or otherwise reconsider the order: (1) this court did not have jurisdiction over this claim; (2) the totality of the circumstances support this court's permissive withdrawal of plaintiff's consent to defendant's motion to dismiss; (3) plaintiff's failure to meet the response deadline satisfies the "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect" standard for Rule 60(b)(1); and (4) the court's consideration of the Ghazali factors was incorrect and dismissing plaintiff's claims will lead to an injustice.

For reasons set out below, the court will grant plaintiff's motion for relief on the premise that plaintiff's failure to respond to D.R. Horton's motion constituted "excusable neglect" under Rule 60(b). Accordingly, the court will only address this argument, as well as plaintiff's overarching arguments as to whether this court has jurisdiction to hear this claim.

A. Jurisdiction

Plaintiff asserts two arguments to why this court lacks jurisdiction to hear this claim: (1) D.R. Horton's process for removing this case from state to federal court was improper, and (2) plaintiff anticipates adding multiple Nevada subcontractors as defendants to its complaint, thus ...


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