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Tucker v. South Shore Villas Homeowners Association

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 1, 2017

Freddie Tucker, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
South Shore Villas Homeowners Association, et al., Defendants

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RECONSIDER [ECF NO. 54]

          Jennifer A. Dorsey United States District Judge.

         Pro se plaintiffs Freddie Tucker and Ida Hanson sued defendants to challenge the sale of Tucker's home at ¶ 2012 foreclosure sale after he fell behind on his homeowners' association dues. I granted defendants' dismissal motion under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine because, by this action, plaintiffs essentially sought to appeal the Nevada state-court rulings that the foreclosure sale was valid and extinguished Tucker's interest in the property, and that the plaintiffs' claims challenging the sale are barred by claim preclusion.[1] Plaintiffs now ask me to reconsider the with-prejudice effect of my dismissal order based on the Ninth Circit's decision in Bourne Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., which held that Nevada's nonjudicial HOA-lien foreclosure scheme “facially violated mortgage lenders' constitutional due process rights” before it was amended in 2015.[2] Because Bourne Valley is not a valid basis for me to reconsider my dismissal order, I deny plaintiffs' motion and direct the Clerk of Court to close this case.

         Background

         A. Tucker's complaint

         Plaintiffs brought this case to challenge the sale of Tucker's home located at 3127 Lido Isle Court, Las Vegas, Nevada, at a foreclosure sale in September 2012 after Tucker fell behind on his HOA dues. Plaintiffs sued their former homeowners' association, the South Shore Villas HOA, and its president, Jacqueline Taylor, the HOA's servicer, Angius and Terry Collection, LLC (the HOA defendants), the Lido Isle Court Trust, which purchased the property at the foreclosure sale, its trustee, the Resources Group, LLC, and the Resources Group's manager, Iyad Haddad (the Lido Isle defendants).

         Plaintiffs vaguely alleged that “[t]his was a calculated and fraudulently[sic] scheme where members of an association and others foreclose on their members and retain individual[sic] to purchase the property at the auction.”[3] Plaintiffs alleged that Tucker's home was improperly foreclosed on after the HOA failed to properly post payments to his account, resulting in an outstanding balance of $18, 501.58.[4] Tucker contested this amount, but the sale went forward anyway. When Tucker arrived at the auction, he was informed that the property had already been sold to the Lido Isle Court Trust for $11, 060-not the $18, 501.58 that the HOA claimed he owed.[5]Plaintiffs unsuccessfully tried to purchase the property back from Lido Isle, which demanded $100, 000 for the property despite having only paid a fraction of that amount to buy it.[6] Plaintiffs asserted nine claims and sought monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief declaring them the rightful owners of the property.

         B. Previous lawsuits

         This is not the first time Tucker has sued over the foreclosure sale. In fact, it's the fifth. First, Tucker sued the South Shore HOA and various HOA individuals, including Taylor, in state court challenging the HOA assessments against his property.[7] The state court entered judgment for defendants and against Tucker in that case in March 2008, and Tucker did not appeal that decision.

         Shortly after the foreclosure sale, Lido Isle brought a quiet-title action against Tucker and First Fidelity Credit Company, which claimed to hold two deeds of trust on the property, to expunge the lis pendens filed by Tucker; Tucker asserted counterclaims.[8] The state court entered summary judgment in favor of Lido Isle on all claims after finding that First Fidelity was owned and operated by Tucker and his mother[9] and that the lawful HOA foreclosures sale extinguished any interest in the property held by Tucker or First Fidelity.[10] Tucker did not appeal.

         Plaintiffs then filed another state-court case[11] in which they again sought to challenge the foreclosure sale and regain title to the property.[12] In that case, plaintiffs named the same defendants as in this case and filed a second lis pendens. The state court dismissed the case and expunged the lis pendens, finding that plaintiffs' claims against the HOA defendants were either barred by claim preclusion or should have been brought in the case challenging the HOA assessments and that plaintiffs' claims against the Lido Isle defendants were either barred by claim preclusion or should have been brought in the quiet-title action filed by Lido Isle in which Tucker asserted counterclaims.[13] Plaintiffs appealed that judgment; the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed.[14]

         Plaintiffs then filed yet another lawsuit seeking to challenge the foreclosure sale in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.[15] Plaintiffs then brought this action.[16] Like the state court in plaintiffs' third lawsuit, I found plaintiffs' claims barred.

         C. Dismissal order

         I found that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine precluded me from considering plaintiffs' claims. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits a federal district court from exercising subject-matter jurisdiction over a suit that is a de facto appeal from a state court judgment.[17] Plaintiffs essentially sought to appeal the Nevada state-court rulings that the foreclosure sale was valid and extinguished Tucker's interest in the property, and that the plaintiffs' claims challenging the sale are barred by claim preclusion.[18] I reasoned that, throughout the amended complaint, plaintiffs raise and challenge errors made by the Nevada state courts. For example, plaintiffs allege that one of the state-court judges ruled against them because he “was not familiar with the case.”[19] Plaintiffs also represented that they were seeking relief in federal court because the state court “appears to have a hidden agenda.”[20]

         Because the Nevada state courts have determined that the foreclosure sale was valid, that plaintiffs have no interest in the foreclosed-on property, and that plaintiffs' claims challenging the sale against these defendants are barred by claim preclusion, I concluded that this court lacks jurisdiction to review those judgments and to grant plaintiffs the relief they seek. And because this is a jurisdictional defect ...


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