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Bank of America, N.A. v. Giavanna Homeowners Association

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 27, 2017

BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., Plaintiffs,
v.
GIAVANNA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Premier One Holdings, Inc.'s (“Premier”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 42). Plaintiff Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”) filed a response. (ECF No. 44). Premier has not replied, and the period to do so has since passed.

         I. Facts

         This case involves a dispute over real property located at 3817 Bella Legato Avenue, North Las Vegas, Nevada, 89081 (the “property”).

         On March 6, 2014, Nevada Association Services, Inc. (“NAS”) filed a complaint in interpleader against BANA and various defendants in Nevada state court (case no. A-14-697287-C). (ECF No. 42-1). On July 28, 2014, BANA filed a counterclaim against Premier. (ECF No. 42-2). On October 23, 2014, Premier filed a counter-counterclaim against BANA, NAS, Absolute Collection Services, LLC (“ACS”), and Red Rock Financial Services, LLC (“Red Rock”). (ECF No. 42-3). In that counter-counterclaim, Premier sought, inter alia, to quiet title as to several properties, including the subject property in the instant matter (3817 Bella Legato Avenue). (ECF No. 42-3 at 5). On October 25, 2016, NAS, Premier, BANA, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, and Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. stipulated to stay the state court action pending full resolution of the issues by the Ninth Circuit and the Nevada Supreme Court. (ECF No. 42-4). The state court entered an order granting the stay the next day. (ECF No. 42-4).

         On February 18, 2016, BANA filed the instant complaint against Giavanna Homeowners Association (the “HOA”), Premier, and ACS, alleging four claims for relief: (1) quiet title/declaratory judgment against all defendants; (2) breach of NRS 116.1113 against ACS and the HOA; (3) wrongful foreclosure against ACS and the HOA; and (4) injunctive relief against Premier. (ECF No. 1).

         In the instant motion, Premier moves to dismiss BANA's complaint because a state court action involving the same factual and legal issues related to the subject property has existed since March 2014. (ECF No. 42).

         II. Legal Standard & Discussion

         Ordinarily, “‘the pendency of an action in the state court is no bar to proceedings concerning the same matter in the Federal court having jurisdiction.'” Chapman v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co., 651 F.3d 1039, 1043 (9th Cir. 2011), certified question answered sub nom. Chapman v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co., 302 P.3d 1103 (Nev. 2013) (quoting Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 292 (2005)). “However, ‘[c]omity or abstention doctrines may, in various circumstances, permit or require the federal court to stay or dismiss the federal action in favor of the state-court litigation.'” Id. (quoting Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 292).

         In Chapman, the Ninth Circuit found that the United States Supreme Court's prior exclusive jurisdiction doctrine “is a mandatory jurisdictional limitation” and held, in relevant part, as follows:

Accordingly, where parallel state and federal proceedings seek to “‘determine interests in specific property as against the whole world'” (in rem), or where “‘the parties' interests in the property . . . serve as the basis of the jurisdiction'” for the parallel proceedings (quasi in rem), then “the doctrine of prior exclusive jurisdiction fully applies.” [State Eng'r v. S. Fork Band of Te-Moak Tribe of W. Shoshone Indians, 339 F.3d 804, 810 (9th Cir. 2003)] (alterations omitted) (quoting Black's Law Dictionary 1245 (6th ed.1990)).

Id. at 1043-44; see also United States v. One 1985 Cadillac Seville, 866 F.2d 1142, 1145 (9th Cir. 1989); accord Penn Gen. Casualty Co. v. Pennsylvania, 294 U.S. 189, 195 (1935); In re Simon, 153 F.3d 991, 996 (9th Cir. 1998); Metro. Fin. Corp. of Cal. v. Wood, 175 F.2d 209, 210 (9th Cir. 1949).

         The Ninth Circuit has made clear that, “[t]he purpose of the rule is the maintenance of comity between courts; such harmony is especially compromised by state and federal judicial systems attempting to assert concurrent control over the res upon which jurisdiction of each depends.” United States v. One 1985 Cadillac Seville, 866 F.2d 1142, 1145 (9th Cir. 1989) (citing Penn Gen. Cas. Co. v. Pennsylvania ex rel. Schnader, 294 U.S. 189, 195 (1935)).

         The property at issue in BANA's quiet title and wrongful foreclosure claims is also the subject of Premier One's counter-counterclaim filed in Nevada state court. Under Nevada law, quiet title and wrongful foreclosure are considered in rem or quasi in rem; therefore, the prior exclusive jurisdiction doctrine applies. Chapman, 302 P.3d at 1107. Any damages recovered with respect to BANA's wrongful foreclosure claim are “incidental to the central relief requested in the complaint: possession of, and title to, the property.” Chapman, 651 F.3d at 1046.

         “[T]he court first assuming jurisdiction over the property may maintain and exercise that jurisdiction to the exclusion of the other.” Penn Gen. Cas. Co., 294 U.S. at 195. Jurisdiction attaches upon the ...


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