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Nationstar Mortgage, LLC v. SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 21, 2018

NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC, Plaintiff(s),
v.
SFR INVESTMENTS POOL 1, LLC, Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is plaintiff Nationstar Mortgage LLC's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 70). Defendants SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC (“SFR”) and Suncrest Homeowners Association (“the HOA”) filed responses (ECF Nos. 78, 79), to which plaintiff replied (ECF Nos. 82, 83).

         Also before the court is the HOA's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 68). Plaintiff filed a response (ECF No. 74), to which the HOA replied (ECF Nos. 81).

         Also before the court is SFR's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 71). Plaintiff filed a response (ECF No. 76), to which SFR replied (ECF No. 84).

         I. Facts

         This case involves a dispute over real property located at 609 Twilight Blue Avenue, North Las Vegas, Nevada, 89032 (the “property”). (ECF No. 40).

         On August 27, 2007, Tara Thompson and Joshua Thompson (“the borrowers”) purchased the property pursuant to a grant, bargain, sale deed. (ECF No. 70-1). The borrowers obtained a loan in the amount of $222, 559 from Countrywide Bank, FSB (“Countrywide”) to finance the purchase. (ECF No. 70-2). The loan was secured by a deed of trust recorded on February 11, 2008. Id.; (ECF No. 70-3). The deed of trust lists Countrywide as the lender and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as the beneficiary “solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender's successors and assigns.” (ECF No. 70-3). The covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CC&R”) governing the property contained a mortgage protection clause. (ECF No. 70-4).

         On November 16, 2011, MERS assigned all beneficial interest in the deed of trust to Bank of America, N.A. (“BOA”). (ECF No. 70-5).

         On September 12, 2012, Nevada Association Services (“NAS”), acting on behalf of the HOA, recorded a notice of delinquent assessment lien, stating an amount due of $1, 086.[1] (ECF No. 70-7). On October 29, 2012, NAS, acting on behalf of the HOA, recorded a notice of default and election to sell to satisfy the delinquent assessment lien, stating an amount due of $1, 958.50. (ECF No. 70-8).

         On November 28, 2012, the borrowers filed a chapter 7 voluntary petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada. (ECF No. 70-9).

         On May 20, 2013, NAS recorded a notice of foreclosure sale, stating an amount due of $2, 910.27 and an anticipated sale date of June 14, 2013. (ECF No. 70-10).

         On June 14, 2013, the HOA foreclosed on the property. (ECF No. 40). SFR purchased the property at the foreclosure sale for $17, 000. (ECF No. 70-11). A foreclosure deed in favor of SFR was recorded on June 25, 2013. Id.

         On July 10, 2013, BOA assigned all beneficial interest in the deed of trust to plaintiff. (ECF No. 70-6).

         On July 8, 2014, the bankruptcy court entered a final decree discharging the bankruptcy trustee and closing the borrower's chapter 7 case. (ECF No. 70-9).

         On September 3, 2015, plaintiff filed the underlying complaint. (ECF No. 1). On March 15, 2017, plaintiff filed an amended complaint, alleging (1) quiet title/declaratory relief pursuant to NRS 30 et seq., and NRS 40.10 [sic]; (2) declaratory relief under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment's due process clauses; (3) quiet title under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment's due process clauses; (4) preliminary and permanent injunction; (5) wrongful/defective foreclosure; (6) unjust enrichment; (7) negligence; and (8) negligence per se. (ECF No. 40).

         On March 29, 2017, SFR filed counterclaims against plaintiff for (1) declaratory relief/quiet title pursuant to NRS 30.010 et seq, NRS 40.010, and NRS 116.3116; and (2) preliminary and permanent injunction.[2] (ECF No. 45).

         On January 5, 2018, the bankruptcy court granted a retroactive annulment of the automatic stay as applied to the property. (ECF No. 86) (“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the automatic stay with respect to the real property located at 609 Twilight Blue Avenue, North Las Vegas, Nevada, 89032; Parcel No. 139-10-411-172 is ANNULLED as of May 19, 2013.”)

         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. Discussion

         As an initial matter, claim (4) of plaintiff's complaint and claim (2) of SFR's counterclaim will be dismissed without prejudice as the court follows the well-settled rule that claims for “injunctive relief” standing alone are not causes 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. ...


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