United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER (1) DENYING THE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT, (2) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT, (3) DISMISSING MOOT CLAIMS, AND (4)
GRANTING UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SUPPLEMENTAL
AUTHORITY [ECF NOS. 56, 57, 58, 84]
P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Bank of America, N.A. sues to determine whether its deed of
trust still encumbers property located at 2601 Vendange Place
in Henderson, Nevada following a non-judicial foreclosure
sale conducted by the homeowners association (HOA), defendant
Madeira Canyon Homeowners' Association (Madeira).
Defendant Vendange Place Trust (Vendange Trust) purchased the
property at the HOA foreclosure sale and then transferred it
to defendant Paradise Harbor Place Trust (Paradise Trust).
Bank of America asserts a declaratory relief claim against
all defendants and damages claims against Madeira and its
foreclosure agent, defendant Nevada Association Services,
Inc. (NAS). Paradise Trust counterclaims for declaratory
relief and to quiet title.
parties move for summary judgment, raising a
variety of arguments. The parties are familiar with the facts
so I do not repeat them here except where necessary. I deny
the defendants' motions and grant Bank of America's
motion because (1) Bank of America's declaratory relief
claim is timely and (2) NAS failed to mail required notices
to the deed of trust's beneficiary and Bank of America
was prejudiced by that failure, rendering the sale void as to
the deed of trust. I dismiss Bank of America's damages
claims against Madeira and NAS as moot.
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.
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).
Trusts, Madeira, and Bank of America move for summary
judgment on Bank of America's declaratory relief claim.
The parties raise a variety of arguments. I address only
those that are necessary to resolve the pending motions.
Statute of Limitations
Trusts and Madeira argue that Bank of America's
declaratory relief claim is time-barred, and Madeira also
argues Bank of America should be barred by the doctrine of
laches. The HOA foreclosure sale took place on June 8, 2012.
ECF No. 56-3 at 2. The complaint was filed on March 2, 2016.
ECF No. 1. Consequently, if the limitation period is four or
more years, the complaint is timely. Although the parties
advocate for either a three- or five-year limitation period
under Nevada law, I have previously ruled that the four-year
catchall limitation period in Nevada Revised Statutes §
11.220 applies to claims brought by a lienholder seeking to
determine whether an HOA sale extinguished its deed of trust.
See Bank of America, N.A. v. Country Garden Owners
Ass'n, 2:17-cv-01850-APG-CWH, 2018 WL 1336721, at *2
(D. Nev. Mar. 14, 2018). Because Bank of America's
declaratory relief claims were brought within four years of
the HOA sale, they are timely.
laches, Bank of America's suit sounds in equity because
it seeks to resolve competing claims to interests in
property. See Shadow Wood HOA v. N.Y. Cmty. Bancorp,
366 P.3d 1105, 1111 (Nev. 2016) (en banc) (stating that a
person seeking to quiet title under Nevada Revised Statutes
§ 40.010 may invoke the court's equitable powers to
resolve competing claims to title). “Laches is an
equitable time limitation on a party's right to bring
suit, . . . resting on the maxim that one who seeks the help
of a court of equity must not sleep on his rights.”
Jarrow Formulas, Inc. v. Nutrition Now, Inc., 304
F.3d 829, 835 (9th Cir. 2002) (quotations and internal
citation omitted). The “laches determination is made
with reference to the limitations period for the analogous
action at law. If the plaintiff filed suit within the
analogous limitations period, the strong presumption is that
laches is inapplicable.” Id. Laches is an
affirmative defense that “requires proof of (1) lack of
diligence by the party against whom the defense is asserted,
and (2) prejudice to the party asserting the defense.”
In re Beaty, 306 F.3d 914, 926 (9th Cir. 2002).
America filed this action within the limitation period for
its declaratory relief claim, so there is a strong
presumption that laches does not apply. Madeira has not
overcome that strong presumption because it has presented no
evidence of prejudice. Additionally, Madeira argues Bank of
America knew of the sale but failed to act. However, as
discussed below, there is no evidence Bank of America had
actual notice of the sale before it took place. Rather, the
evidence shows that NAS failed to mail the notice of default
and the notice of sale to the beneficiary of record for the
deed of trust, who would have forwarded those notices to Bank
of America had it received them. And Bank of America has
presented evidence that if it had received the notices, it
would have attempted tender, meaning it would have taken
action to protect its interest. I therefore deny the
defendants' motions for summary judgment on the
declaratory relief claims on the basis of either the statute
of limitations or laches.
Adequate Remedy at Law
Trusts argue Bank of America cannot resort to equity because
it can sue NAS for damages, so it has an adequate remedy at
law. Bank of America responds that property is ...