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Christiana Trust v. SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

August 2, 2017

CHRISTIANA TRUST, et al., Plaintiff(s),
SFR INVESTMENTS POOL 1, LLC, et al., Defendant(s).


         Presently before the court is plaintiff Christiana Trust, a division of Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, not in its individual capacity but as trustee of ARLP Trust 2's (“Christiana Trust”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 49). Defendants Mandolin Homeowners Association (the “HOA”) (ECF No. 59) and SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC (“SFR”) (ECF No. 60) filed their responses, to which Christiana Trust replied (ECF Nos. 62, 64).

         Also before the court is SFR's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 51). The HOA (ECF No. 57) and Christiana Trust (ECF No. 58) filed responses, to which SFR replied (ECF No. 66).

         Also before the court is the HOA's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 52). Christiana Trust filed a response (ECF No. 56), to which the HOA replied (ECF No. 65).

         I. Facts

         This case involves a dispute over real property located at 7604 Brisa Del Mar Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89179 (the “property”).

         On April 11, 2007, the Flaherty Trust obtained a loan from Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”) in the amount of $219, 173.00 to purchase the property, which was secured by a deed of trust recorded on April 12, 2007. (ECF No. 1 at 4-5).

         On February 18, 2011, defendant Nevada Association Services, Inc. (“NAS”), acting on behalf of the HOA, recorded a notice of delinquent assessment lien, stating an amount due of $1, 036.00. (ECF No. 1 at 5). On April 11, 2011, NAS recorded a notice of default and election to sell to satisfy the delinquent assessment lien, stating an amount due of $2, 088.90. (ECF No. 1 at 6). On December 17, 2012, NAS recorded a notice of trustee's sale, stating an amount due of $6, 389.57. (ECF No. 1 at 6-7).

         On January 11, 2013, SFR purchased the property at the foreclosure sale for $9, 000.00. (ECF No. 1 at 7). A trustee's deed upon sale in favor of SFR was recorded on September 9, 2013. (ECF No. 1 at 6).

         After the foreclosure sale extinguished the deed of trust, it was assigned to Christiana Trust via an assignment of deed of trust recorded May 23, 2014. (ECF No. 1 at 5).

         On June 2, 2016, Christiana Trust filed the underlying complaint against SFR, the HOA, NAS, and Michael Flaherty as trustee of the Andrew M. Flaherty Living Trust dated August 12, 1994, alleging four causes of action: (1) quiet title/declaratory judgment against all defendants; (2) breach of NRS 116.1113 against NAS and the HOA; (3) wrongful foreclosure against NAS and the HOA; and (4) unjust enrichment against SFR, the HOA, and NAS. (ECF No. 1).

         On February 17, 2017, this court dismissed Christiana Trust's second and third causes of action. (ECF No. 41). Christiana Trust voluntarily withdrew its fourth cause of action, which was also dismissed on February 17, 2017. (ECF No. 41). Thus, Christiana Trust's quiet title/declaratory relief claim remains.

         On that same date, SFR filed a counter/crossclaim for quiet title and injunctive relief. (ECF No. 42).

         In the instant motions, Christiana Trust, SFR, and the HOA all move for summary judgment in their favor. (ECF Nos. 49, 51, 52). The court will address each as it sees fit.

         II. Legal Standard

         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. ...

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