United States District Court, D. Nevada
NICHOLAS T. SCHRAM et al., Plaintiffs,
MELISSA L. BROWN, Defendant.
C. JONES United States District Judge.
an action to quiet title. Now pending before the Court is a
motion to dismiss. (Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 5.) For the reasons
given herein, the Court grants the motion in part and denies
it in part.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
February 2012, Plaintiffs Nicholas and Sandra Schram wanted
to purchase a new house at 674 West winds Drive in Dayton,
Nevada (“the Property”), but were unable to
qualify for a home loan due to a recent foreclosure. They
asked their daughter, Defendant Melissa Brown, if she would
be willing to obtain a loan and purchase the Property for
them. Ms. Brown agreed; however, the precise terms of that
agreement, discussed below, are at the heart of this dispute.
Ms. Brown obtained an $88, 000 loan to finance a final
purchase price of $110, 000. Mr. and Mrs. Schram funded the
down payment and closing costs. Ms. Brown closed on the
Property in August 2012, and the Schrams took possession of
the home. Since that time, the Schrams have made all payments
on Ms. Brown's mortgage, which are alleged to have been
approximately $570 per month. (See Compl. ¶ 7,
ECF No. 1-5; Mot. Dismiss 8, ECF No. 5.) The Schrams also
allege they have made “significant improvements”
to the Property, although they do not specify the nature of
September 2017, after occupying the Property for about five
years, the Schrams notified Ms. Brown that they were
“qualified and ready” to obtain their own home
loan in order to satisfy the balance of Ms. Brown's
mortgage and take title to the Property. Ms. Brown refused,
which leads to the central controversy of this case. The
Schrams allege that, prior to Ms. Brown's purchase of the
Property, the parties entered into a voluntary oral agreement
under which: (1) Ms. Brown would borrow money and purchase
the Property, (2) the Schrams would pay the down payment and
all other costs incurred in purchasing the Property, (3) the
Schrams would make all payments on Ms. Brown's mortgage,
and (4) at some future date, when the Schrams became able to
obtain their own financing, they would pay off Ms.
Brown's mortgage in full, at which time Ms. Brown would
transfer title to them. (Compl. ¶ 5.) Ms. Brown denies
that she made any agreement to transfer title to the Schrams.
Her apparent understanding of the agreement, as indicated in
her motion to dismiss, is simply that she would buy the
Property and allow the Schrams to live in it so long as they
made her monthly mortgage payments. (Mot. Dismiss 2-3; Reply
2-3, ECF No. 10.)
this lawsuit, the Schrams seek to quiet title in themselves,
on the basis of their alleged oral agreement with Ms. Brown.
They have also asserted claims for breach of fiduciary duty
and unjust enrichment. Ms. Brown has moved for dismissal.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief” in order to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) mandates that a court dismiss a cause of
action that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the
complaint's sufficiency. See N. Star Int'l v.
Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 581 (9th Cir.
1983). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, dismissal is
appropriate only when the complaint does not give the
defendant fair notice of a legally cognizable claim and the
grounds on which it rests. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In considering
whether the complaint is sufficient to state a claim, the
court will take all material allegations as true and construe
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See NL
Indus., Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir.
1986). The court, however, is not required to accept as true
allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted
deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences. See
Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988
(9th Cir. 2001).
formulaic recitation of a cause of action with conclusory
allegations is not sufficient; a plaintiff must plead facts
pertaining to his own case making a violation
“plausible, ” not just “possible.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009)
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556) (“A claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.”). That is, under the modern interpretation of
Rule 8(a), a plaintiff must not only specify or imply a
cognizable cause of action (Conley review), but also
must allege the facts of his case so that the court can
determine whether the plaintiff has any basis for relief
under the cause of action he has specified or implied,
assuming the facts are as he alleges (Twombly-Iqbal
a district court may not consider any material beyond the
pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. However,
material which is properly submitted as part of the complaint
may be considered on a motion to dismiss.” Hal
Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896
F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted).
Similarly, “documents whose contents are alleged in a
complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but
which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be
considered in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss” without converting the motion to dismiss into
a motion for summary judgment. Branch v. Tunnell, 14
F.3d 449, 454 (9th Cir. 1994). Moreover, under Federal Rule
of Evidence 201, a court may take judicial notice of
“matters of public record.” Mack v. S. Bay
Beer Distribs., Inc., 798 F.2d 1279, 1282 (9th Cir.
1986). Otherwise, if the district court considers materials
outside of the pleadings, the motion to dismiss is converted
into a motion for summary judgment. See Arpin v. Santa
Clara Valley Transp. Agency, 261 F.3d 912, 925 (9th Cir.
title action is simply a request that a court declare the
rights of the parties as to the title to a piece of real
estate. See Kress v. Corey, 189 P.2d 352, 364 (Nev.
1948). In Nevada, “[a]n action may be brought by any
person against another who claims an estate or interest in
real property, adverse to the person bringing the action for
the purpose of determining such adverse claim.” Nev.
Rev. Stat. § 40.010. “A plea to quiet title does
not require any particular elements, but each party must
plead and prove his or her own claim to the property in
question and a plaintiff's right to relief therefore
depends on superiority of title.” Chapman v.
Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co., 302 P.3d 1103, 1106