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Bank of New York Mellon v. Cascade Homeowners Association, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 31, 2017



         Presently before the court is defendant/crossdefendant Cascade Homeowners Association, Inc.'s (the “HOA”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 35). Defendant/crossclaimant Daisy Trust (ECF No. 40) and plaintiff/counterdefendant Bank of New York Mellon's (“BNYM”) (ECF No. 41) filed responses, to which the HOA replied (ECF No. 45).

         Also before the court is Daisy Trust's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 37). BNYM filed a response (ECF No. 46), to which Daisy Trust replied (ECF No. 49).

         Also before the court is BNYM's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 38). Daisy Trust (ECF No. 42) and the HOA (ECF No. 47) filed responses, to which BNYM replied (ECF Nos. 48, 50).

         I. Facts

         The present case involves a dispute over real property located at 7840 Ithaca Falls Street, Las Vegas, NV 89149 (the “property”).

         On April 23, 2004, Patrick and Suzanne Simmons (the “Simmonses”) purchased the property. (ECF No. 1 at 4). The Simmonses later refinanced the property by way of a loan in the amount of $276, 000.00 evidenced by a note and secured by a deed of trust recorded on November 9, 2004. (ECF No. 1 at 4).

         On September 2, 2011, defendant/crossdefendant Absolute Collection Services LLC (“ACS”), acting on behalf of the HOA, recorded a notice of delinquent assessment lien, stating an amount due of $2, 959.85. (ECF No. 1 at 4). On November 9, 2011, ACS recorded a notice of default and election to sell to satisfy the delinquent assessment lien, stating an amount due of $3, 865.85. (ECF No. 1 at 4).

         On December 12, 2011, BNYM's predecessor-in-interest contacted ACS, offering to tender the superpriority amount and requesting a ledger. (ECF No. 1 at 5). The HOA/ACS allegedly failed to respond. (ECF No. 1 at 5-6).

         On March 23, 2012, ACS recorded a notice of trustee's sale, scheduling the trustee's sale for May 15, 2012, and stating an amount due of $5, 505.85. (ECF No. 1 at 4-5). On August 14, 2012, Daisy Trust purchased the property at the trustee's sale for $7, 700.00. (ECF No. 1 at 6). On August 15, 2012, a trustee's deed upon sale in favor of Daisy Trust was recorded. (ECF No. 1 at 6).

         After the foreclosure sale extinguished the deed of trust, it was assigned to BNYM via an assignment deed of trust recorded on March 1, 2016. (ECF Nos. 1 at 4; 11 at 2).

         On June 14, 2016, BNYM filed the underlying complaint against the HOA, Daisy Trust, and ACS alleging four causes of action: (1) quiet title/declaratory relief against all defendants; (2) breach of NRS 116.1113 against the HOA and ACS; (3) wrongful foreclosure against the HOA and ACS; and (4) injunctive relief against Daisy Trust. (ECF No. 1).

         On July 11, 2016, Daisy Trust filed a motion to dismiss the complaint (ECF No. 11), which this court denied on January 20, 2017 (ECF No. 25).

         On February 6, 2017, Daisy Trust filed a counterclaim against BNYM for quiet title/declaratory relief and a crossclaim against the HOA and ACS for misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. (ECF No. 26).

         In the instant motions, the HOA moves to dismiss based on statute of limitations (ECF No. 35) and Daisy Trust (ECF No. 37) and BNYM (ECF No. 38) move for summary judgment.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         A court may dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide “[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).

         “Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (citation omitted).

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, the court must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 678-79. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. at 678.

         Second, the court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678.

         Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged-but not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         The Ninth Circuit addressed post-Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). The Starr court stated, in relevant part:

First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.


         B. Motion for Summary Judgment

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow summary judgment 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 a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). 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).

         For purposes of summary judgment, disputed factual issues should be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). However, to be entitled to a denial of summary judgment, the nonmoving party must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.

         In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis. The moving party must first satisfy its initial burden. “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).

         By 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 non-moving 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, 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 v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). 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. Discussion

         As an initial matter, claim (4) of BNYM's complaint will be dismissed without prejudice as the court follows the well-settled rule in that a claim for “injunctive relief” standing alone is not a cause of action. See, e.g., In re Wal-Mart Wage & Hour Emp't Practices Litig., 490 F.Supp.2d 1091, 1130 (D. Nev. 2007); Tillman v. Quality Loan Serv. Corp., No. 2:12-CV-346 JCM RJJ, 2012 WL 1279939, at *3 (D. Nev. Apr. 13, 2012) (finding that “injunctive relief is a remedy, not an independent cause of action”); Jensen v. Quality ...

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