United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. NAVARRO, CHIEF JUDGE
before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No.
62), filed by Plaintiff PHH Mortgage
Corporation. Defendant SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC
(“SFR”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 64), and
Plaintiff filed a Reply, (ECF No. 66). Also pending before
the Court is SFR's Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No.
70). Plaintiff filed a Response, (ECF No. 76), and SFR filed
a Reply, (ECF No. 77).
reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment is DENIED and SFR's Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
case arises from the non-judicial foreclosure on real
property located at 8909 Topaz Springs Court, Las Vegas,
Nevada 89149 (the “Property”). (Compl. ¶ 21,
ECF No. 1). In 2008, Andrew E. Cato (“Cato”)
purchased the Property by way of a loan in the amount of
$130, 752.00 secured by a deed of trust (“DOT”)
recorded on December 30, 2008. (Id. ¶¶ 22-
23); (DOT, Ex. 2 to Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J.
(“MSJ”), ECF No. 62-2). The loan and the DOT were
guaranteed by the Department of Veteran's Affairs
(“VA”) via its VA Home Loan Guaranty program.
(Compl. ¶ 24-25); (see Note, Ex. 4 to Pl.'s
MSJ, ECF No. 62-4); (see also VA Guaranty
Certificate, Ex. 5 to Pl.'s MSJ, ECF No. 62-5). Further,
the DOT identifies USAA Federal Savings Bank
(“USAA”) as the lender, and Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as
nominee-beneficiary. (See DOT, Ex. 2 to Pl.'s
MSJ); (Compl. ¶ 23).
Cato's failure to stay current on payment obligations,
Centennial Park HOA (“HOA”), through its agent
Absolute Collection Services, LLC, recorded a Notice of
Delinquent Assessment against the Property on August 1, 2011.
(See Lien Notice, Ex. 6 to Pl.'s MSJ, ECF No.
62-6). On December 1, 2011, HOA recorded a Notice of Default
and Election to Sell to satisfy the delinquent assessment
lien. (See Default Notice, Ex. 7 to Pl.'s MSJ,
ECF No. 62-7). A Notice of Trustee's Sale was recorded
against the Property on March 23, 2012, and a non-judicial
foreclosure occurred on July 17, 2012, through which SFR
acquired its interest in the Property. (See Compl.
¶ 33); (Notice of Sale, Ex. 8 to Pl.'s MSJ, ECF No.
62-8). SFR recorded a foreclosure deed on July 19, 2012.
(Compl. ¶ 35); (Foreclosure Deed, Ex. A-12 to SFR's
MSJ, ECF No. 70-1). On April 12, 2013, MERS assigned the DOT
to Plaintiff. (Assignment, Ex. 3 to Pl.'s MSJ, ECF No.
13, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint containing claims
against SFR for quiet title, declaratory relief, and unjust
enrichment. (Compl. ¶¶ 45-84). SFR subsequently
filed crossclaims and counterclaims against Plaintiff and
Cato, respectively, for “declaratory relief/quiet
title, ” and injunctive relief. (See Answer
¶¶ 38-51, ECF No. 15).
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
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).
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 merely colorable or is not significantly
probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Id.
moves for summary judgment on its quiet title and declaratory
relief claims, asserting that the DOT survived because the
foreclosure was conducted pursuant to a facially
unconstitutional statute. (Pl.'s MSJ 4:16-6:15, ECF No.
62). Plaintiff further argues that the foreclosure sale
cannot extinguish a loan guaranteed by the VA because federal
law preempts NRS Chapter 116. (Id. 6:16-8:27).
Furthermore, Plaintiff contends that SFR purchased a mere
lien interest in the Property, thus title did not transfer to
SFR. (Id. 9:1-26).
seeks judgment in the form of a declaration that it is the
title holder to the Property. (SFR's MSJ 2:23-3:1, ECF
No. 70). SFR asserts that Plaintiff's quiet title claim
is barred by the applicable statute of limitations and that,
even if timely, it cannot survive because Plaintiff is
without standing to bring the claim. (Id.
7:20-10:26, 14:15-16:16); (see also SFR's Resp.
3:20-7:19, ECF No. 64). SFR further argues that Bourne
Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 832 F.3d
1154 (9th Cir. 2016) has been superseded and has never been
dispositive. (SFR's MSJ 11:1-13:2). Lastly, SFR argues
that Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim fails as a
matter of law because Plaintiff does not have admissible
evidence showing that a benefit was conferred and appreciated
by SFR. (Id. 24:23-25:8). The Court will address the
parties' arguments in turn.