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Nevada Sand Castle LLC v. Green Tree Servicing LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 22, 2017

NEVADA SAND CASTLES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
GREEN TREE SERVICING LLC; et al., Defendants, FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION; and FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, as Conservator of Federal National Mortgage Association, Intervenors, FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION; FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, as Conservator of Fannie Mae, Counterclaimants,
v.
NEVADA SAND CASTLES, LLC, Counter-Defendant.

          ORDER

          Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge.

         Pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 37), filed by Intervenors Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) (collectively “Intervenors”). Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Nevada Sand Castles, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 49), and Intervenors filed a Reply, (ECF No. 53).

         I. BACKGROUND

         The present action involves the interplay between Nevada Revised Statutes § 116.3116 and 12 U.S.C. § 4617 as it relates to the parties' interests in real property located at 5710 E. Tropicana Avenue, #1029, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89122 (the “Property”). On September 20, 2006, Laura Forman (“Forman”) obtained a loan (the “Loan”) in the amount of $89, 430 from lender Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”) that was secured by a Deed of Trust on the Property. (Deed of Trust, Ex. A to MSJ, ECF No. 37-1).[1] Fannie Mae purchased the Loan on October 1, 2006, and has owned it ever since. (See Curcio Decl., Ex. B to MSJ ¶¶ 4, 7). On September 6, 2008, FHFA's Director placed Fannie Mae into conservatorships pursuant to HERA. (MSJ ¶ 3, ECF No. 37).

         On October 25, 2010, Nevada Association Services, Inc. (“NAS”), as agent for Canyon Willow Tropicana HOA (the “HOA”) recorded a Notice of Delinquent Assessment Lien against the Property for $1, 324.88. (Not. of Delinquent Assessment Lien, Ex. I to MSJ). Then, on December 10, 2010, NAS recorded a Notice of Default and Election to Sell, warning that the HOA would foreclose on its lien unless the assessment payments were brought up to date. (Not. of Default and Election to Sell, Ex. J to MSJ). Plaintiff subsequently purchased the Property as the highest bidder at the November 1, 2013 foreclosure sale. (Foreclosure Deed, Ex. L to MSJ). At no time during the process did FHFA, as conservator of Fannie Mae, consent to the HOA's foreclosure. (See FHFA's Statement on HOA Super-Priority Lien Foreclosures, Ex. M to MSJ).

         On January 7, 2011, BANA assigned the Deed of Trust to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, who was later acquired by BANA through merger. (Assignment of Deed of Trust, Ex. C to MSJ). A second assignment from BANA to Green Tree Servicing LLC (“Defendant”) was recorded on August 23, 2013. (Second Assignment of Deed of Trust, Ex. D to MSJ).

         Plaintiff initiated this action by filing the original complaint in state court on February 24, 2015, asserting claims for quiet title and declaratory relief against Defendant. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-18, Ex. A to Pet. for Removal, ECF No. 1-2). Defendant subsequently removed the action to this Court on March 31, 2015. (Pet. for Removal, ECF No. 1).

         On January 13, 2016, the Court entered an Order granting the parties' Stipulation that granted the Intervenors permission to intervene. (Order on Stipulation, ECF No. 28). The Intervenors subsequently filed an Answer, asserting counterclaims against Plaintiff. (Ans. to Compl. & Counterclaims, ECF No. 29).[2] Then, on July 5, 2016, Intervenors filed the pending Motion for Summary Judgment. (MSJ, ECF No. 37).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary adjudication when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the case. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Id. “Summary judgment is inappropriate if reasonable jurors, drawing all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, could return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor.” Diaz v. Eagle Produce Ltd. P'ship, 521 F.3d 1201, 1207 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Shumway, 199 F.3d 1093, 1103-04 (9th Cir. 1999)). A principal purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis. “When the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact on each issue material to its case.” C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). In contrast, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an essential element of the nonmoving party's case; or (2) by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party's case on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323- 24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the nonmoving party's evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159-60 (1970).

         If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987). In other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts by producing competent evidence that shows a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324.

         At summary judgment, a court's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The evidence of the nonmovant is “to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Id. at 255. But if the evidence of the nonmoving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Id. at 249-50.

         III. ...


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