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Cui v. National Default Servicing Corp.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 12, 2017

LAN FANG CUI, an individual, Plaintiff,
NATIONAL DEFAULT SERVICING CORPORATION, an Arizona corporation; GREEN TREE SERVICING LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; and DOES 1-10, and ROES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants.



         Pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 48), filed by Defendant Green Tree Servicing, LLC (“Green Tree”). Plaintiff Lan Fang Cui (“Plaintiff”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 55), and Green Tree filed a Reply, (ECF No. 56). For the reasons discussed below, Green Tree's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The present action arises from the attempted foreclosure sale of real property located at 3534 White Mountain St., Las Vegas, NV 89147 (the “Property”). (See Compl., ECF No. 1-2). On October 21, 2005, Juan Rodriquez (“Rodrgiuez”) and Catalina Gonzalez (“Gonzalez”) purchased the Property. (Grant, Bargain, Sale Deed, ECF No. 8-1).[1] A Deed of Trust was recorded on February 27, 2007, wherein Rodriquez and Gonzalez were stated as the borrowers, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (“Countrywide”) was stated as the lender, Fidelity National Title Insurance was stated as the trustee, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) was stated as the nominee for the beneficiary. (2007 Deed of Trust, ECF No. 8-2). On March 5, 2010, BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP f/k/a Countrywide (“BAC”) was assigned all beneficial interest in the 2007 Deed of Trust. (Corp. Assignment of Deed of Trust, ECF No. 8-3). Then, on May 11, 2011, MERS transferred any and all beneficial interest in the Property to BAC. (2011 Assignment of Deed of Trust, ECF No. 8-4).

         Green Tree obtained BAC's interest in the Property on May 17, 2013. (2013 Assignment of Deed of Trust, ECF No. 8-5). On December 18, 2013, the bankruptcy trustee for the estate of Rodriguez and Gonzalez executed a Bankruptcy Trustee's Quitclaim Deed, whereby title to the Property was transferred to Argo NV, LLC. (Bankruptcy Trustee's Quitclaim Deed, ECF No. 8-6). Plaintiff obtained title to the Property pursuant to a Quitclaim Deed on March 4, 2014. (Quitclaim Deed, ECF No. 8-7).

         On May 12, 2014, Defendant National Default Servicing Corporation (“NDSC”) was substituted as trustee under the 2007 Deed of Trust. (Substitution of Trustee, ECF No. 8-8). Subsequently, on October 15, 2014, a Notice of Default and Election to Sell was recorded against the Property. (Notice of Default and Election to Sell, ECF No. 8-9). Furthermore, on January 15, 2015, a Certificate from the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program was recorded. (Mediation Certificate, ECF No, 8-10). Finally, on February 10, 2015, a Notice of Trustee's Sale was recorded, which set a sale date of the Property on March 3, 2015. (Notice of Trustee's Sale, ECF No. 8-11).

         On February 12, 2015, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in state court, alleging that Defendants NDSC and Green Tree violated NRS 107.080[2] by failing to provide Plaintiff notice of the Notice of Default and Election to Sell and the Notice of Trustee's Sale. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-11, Ex. 2 to Pet. for Removal, ECF No. 1-2). Specifically, Plaintiff's Complaint asserts the following causes of action: (1) Declaratory Relief; (2) Unjust Enrichment; and (3) Violations of NRS 107.080(3) and (4)(a). (Id. ¶¶ 12-26). On February 23, 2015, the state court granted Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order, which prevented the Trustee's Sale scheduled for March 3, 2015 from taking place. (TRO, ECF No. 1-6). On March 4, 2015, Green Tree removed the case to this Court. (See Pet. for Removal, ECF No. 1).

         On October 21, 2015, the Court granted in part and denied in part Green Tree's Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 7). (See Order, ECF No. 23). Specifically, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claim of unjust enrichment without prejudice and denied Green Tree's Motion as to Plaintiff's remaining claims. (Id. 9:4-7). Plaintiff's first cause of action for declaratory relief and third cause of action for a violation of NRS 107.080 survived. (See Compl. ¶¶ 12-26).

         On May 2, 2016, the Court denied Green Tree's first Motion for Summary Judgment because the evidence Green Tree provided was insufficient to establish that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the Notice of Default and Election to Sell were mailed with return receipt requested. (Order 7:7-9, ECF No. 36). In the instant Motion, Green Tree purports to have rectified the issue by providing such evidence. (Mot. for Summ. J. (“MSJ”) 6:20-13:15, ECF No. 48).


         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 ...

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