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Bank of New York Mellon v. Williston Investment Group LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 16, 2019

BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, Plaintiff
v.
WILLISTON INVESTMENT GROUP LLC, et al., Defendants

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NOS. 33, 37]

          ANDREW P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff The Bank of New York Mellon (BONY) sues to determine whether a non-judicial foreclosure sale conducted by defendant The Parks Homeowners Association (Parks) extinguished BONY's deed of trust that encumbered property located at 6770 Cinnabar Coast Lane in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Parks purchased the property via credit bid at the homeowners association (HOA) foreclosure sale. Parks then transferred the property to defendant Williston Investment Group LLC (Williston), which is the current property owner.

         BONY asserts a single claim for declaratory relief, seeking a declaration that the deed of trust remains an encumbrance on the property. ECF No. 1. Williston counterclaims for declaratory relief that it took title to the property free and clear of the deed of trust. ECF No. 25.

         Williston moves for summary judgment, arguing that BONY's claim is untimely, there is no basis to equitably set aside the sale, the relevant statutes do not violate BONY's due process rights, the sale is presumed valid, and Williston is a bona fide purchaser. BONY responds that its complaint is timely or, alternatively, that Williston is not entitled to judgment on its counterclaim because the HOA sale was for a subpriority lien only. BONY asserts that its servicer tendered the superpriority amount before the HOA sale, thereby extinguishing the superpriority lien.

         BONY separately moves for summary judgment on Williston's counterclaim, arguing that the tender extinguished the superpriority lien and that Williston is not a bona fide purchaser. Williston responds that BONY has offered only hearsay evidence to establish the superpriority amount. Williston also argues that BONY has not presented evidence that the tender was actually delivered to the HOA foreclosure agent, and even if delivered, the tender attempt contained an impermissible condition because it required the HOA to waive its continuing right to nuisance abatement charges as part of the superpriority lien. Williston also reiterates its arguments from its own motion that the sale is presumed valid and it is a bona fide purchaser.

         BONY replies that it has presented admissible business records to show the superpriority amount, that there were no nuisance abatement charges, and that its servicer tendered the superpriority amount. BONY also argues that because the tender extinguishes the superpriority lien as a matter of law, Williston's alleged status as a bona fide purchaser is irrelevant.

         The parties are familiar with the facts, and I will not repeat them here except where necessary to resolve the motions. I grant Williston's motion for summary judgment on BONY's claim because that claim is untimely. I grant BONY's motion on Williston's counterclaim because Williston has not shown it is entitled to a quiet title judgment in its favor where BONY's servicer tendered the superpriority amount.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows “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), (c). A fact is material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The burden then shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts demonstrating there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 2000); Sonner v. Schwabe N. Am., Inc., 911 F.3d 989, 992 (9th Cir. 2018) (“To defeat summary judgment, the nonmoving party must produce evidence of a genuine dispute of material fact that could satisfy its burden at trial.”). I view the evidence and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. James River Ins. Co. v. Hebert Schenk, P.C., 523 F.3d 915, 920 (9th Cir. 2008).

         II. WILLISTON'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         Williston moves for summary judgment on BONY's quiet title claim, asserting it is untimely. The HOA foreclosure sale took place on February 1, 2013, the trustee's deed upon sale was recorded on February 7, 2013, and BONY filed the complaint in this matter on January 29, 2018. ECF Nos. 1; 33-6. I have previously ruled that “the catchall four-year limitation period in § 11.220 applies” to claims by lienholders like BONY seeking to determine whether the deed of trust survived an HOA foreclosure sale. Bank of Am., N.A. v. Country Garden Owners Ass'n, No. 2:17-cv-01850-APG-CWH, 2018 WL 1336721, at *2 (D. Nev. Mar. 14, 2018). BONY's declaratory relief claim was filed more than four years after BONY knew or should have known that its deed of trust was in jeopardy. See Job's Peak Ranch Cmty. Ass'n, Inc. v. Douglas Cty., No. 55572, 2015 WL 5056232, at *3 (Nev. Aug. 25, 2015) (“If the facts giving rise to the cause of action are matters of public record then the public record gave notice sufficient to start the statute of limitations running.” (quotation and alteration omitted)). I therefore grant Williston's motion because BONY's claim is time-barred.

         III. BONY's MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         BONY moves for summary judgment on Williston's counterclaim to quiet title. The party asserting a quiet title claim bears the burden of proof “to prove good title in himself.” Res. Grp., LLC as Tr. of E. Sunset Rd. Tr. v. Nevada Ass'n Servs., Inc., 437 P.3d 154, 157-58 (Nev. 2019) (en banc) (quotation omitted). Thus, “a plaintiff's right to relief [ultimately] . . . depends on superiority of title.” Id. (quotation omitted). A quiet title claim “does not require any particular elements.” Id. Rather, “each party must plead and prove ...


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