United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF
R. HICKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 23, 2019, a bench trial was held on the sole
remaining issue before the court: whether Nationstar Mortgage
LLC (“Nationstar”) has a property interest
sufficient to bring its claims for relief (quiet title) and
prove its entitlement to judgment in its favor. ECF No. 131.
During the trial, the court reserved ruling on
defendant's, SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC
(“SFR”), motion in limine to exclude the
corrective assignment recorded July 23, 2018, from evidence
(ECF No. 88). Id. On the eve of trial, Curti Ranch
Two Maintenance Association Inc. (“the
Association” or “Curti Ranch”) and
Nationstar filed a notice of settlement. ECF No. 129. That
same night, SFR filed a “Supplemental Trial
Brief” which was actually a motion to dismiss based on
the settlement agreement between Curti Ranch and Nationstar.
ECF No. 130. As Nationstar was unaware of this filing when
the parties met for trial, no argument was heard on the
motion, and the court ordered the parties to fully brief the
issue. ECF No. 131. During the bench trial, SFR also argued a
motion to reconsider the court's prior ruling that
Nationstar's quiet title claim was governed by a 5-year
statute of limitations. See Id. Nationstar objected
to such argument as untimely, but effectively opposed the
motion before the court. Id. With briefing now
complete on SFR's supplemental trial brief, the court
rules on all pending issues.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
SFR's oral argument at the bench trial, SFR orally
motioned the court to reconsider its prior order on summary
judgment (ECF No. 59), in which the court held that a 5-year
limitations period exists for Nationstar's quiet title
claim. Id. Nationstar objected to the motion as
untimely, however, the court entertained SFR's argument.
Without waiving its objection, Nationstar responded to
SFR's argument, and SFR replied. Id.
court found in its order denying Nationstar's motion to
reconsider, such a motion to reconsider is untimely.
See ECF No. 118. SFR has had almost 9
months to file a motion on the issue: if SFR wished
to argue for reconsideration it should have timely filed a
motion following the court's January 2019 order.
Therefore, consistent with the court's prior order, the
court also denies SFR's motion for reconsideration as
untimely. Moreover, the court is not persuaded by SFR's
argument that a shorter statutory period is applicable: the
court maintains that a 5-year statute of limitations period
applies to Nationstar's quiet title claim. Accordingly,
SFR's oral motion is denied.
MOTIONS IN LIMINE
September 6, 2019, defendant, SFR filed a motion in limine to
exclude the “Corrective Corporate Assignment of Deed of
Trust, ” recorded in the Washoe County Recorder's
Office on July 23, 2018 as document number 4835207, from
evidence presented during trial. ECF No. 88. Plaintiff,
Nationstar responded. ECF No. 92. Nationstar filed a motion
in limine to exclude reference, testimony, argument and
documents concerning prior acts and other properties and
litigation (ECF No. 89), to which SFR responded (ECF No. 93).
On September 26, 2019, during calendar call, the parties
conferred and agreed that a bench trial was appropriate to
decide the only remaining issue before the court. ECF No.
106. At the start of the bench trial on October 23, 2019, the
court reserved ruling on SFR's motion in limine. ECF No.
131; see Hawthorne Partners v. AT&T Techs.,
Inc., 831 F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (a court
may wait to resolve the evidentiary issues at trial where the
evidence can be viewed in its “proper context”).
No. argument was made at the bench trial as to
Nationstar's motion in limine (ECF No. 89), and SFR did
not attempt to introduce the evidence Nationstar sought to
all relevant evidence is admissible. Fed.R.Evid. 402.
Evidence is relevant if “it has any tendency to make a
fact more or less probable than it would be without the
evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. The determination of
whether evidence is relevant to an action or issue is
expansive and inclusive. See Sprint/United Mgmt. Co. v.
Mendelsohn, 552 U.S. 379, 384-87 (2008). However, the
court may exclude otherwise relevant evidence “if its
probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger
of” unfair prejudice. Fed.R.Evid. 403. Additionally,
“[i]f a party fails to provide information . . ., the
party is not allowed to use that information . . . to supply
evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the
failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”
argues that Nationstar failed to disclose this corrective
assignment during discovery. As Nationstar indicated, they
did not disclose the recorded document during discovery
because it was not in existence until after discovery closed
on July 5, 2018 (see ECF No. 28). The court finds
that such a failure to disclose was substantially
justified-Nationstar cannot be required to disclose documents
that don't exist. Further, any failure to disclose the
assignment was harmless. Nationstar disclosed the corrective
assignment on August 2, 2018, over a year before trial.
See ECF No. 88. If SFR had felt it necessary
following this disclosure, it could have motioned the court
to re-open discovery, but it did not do so. Therefore, the
court cannot find that such late disclosure harmed SFR such
that the evidence should be excluded. Accordingly, the court
denies SFR's motion in limine (ECF No. 88) and shall
consider the corrective assignment when making its further
rulings. Additionally, because SFR did not attempt to
introduce the evidence Nationstar sought to exclude, the
court denies Nationstar's motion in limine (ECF No. 89)
FINDINGS OF FACT
Facts Stipulated to by the Parties
Nevada adopted the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act as
NRS Chapter 116, including NRS 116.3116(2), in 1991.
property at issue in this case, located at 480 Cicada Ct.,
Reno, Nevada 89521 (“the property”), is subject
to the declarations of covenants, conditions, restrictions,
reservations, and easements (CC&Rs) recorded by Curti
Homeowner, Mr. Guillermo Carey (non-party borrower), became
delinquent on his Association monthly assessments. The
Association, through its agent Alessi & Koenig, LLC
(“Alessi”), recorded a Notice of Delinquent
Assessment (Lien) on November 30, 2010, in the Washoe County
Recorder's Office as document number 3947650.
See Nationstar Trial Exhibit No. 9.
Association then recorded, through Alessi, a Notice of
Default and Election to Sell under the Homeowners'
Association Lien on February 24, 2011, in the Washoe County
Recorder's Office as document number 3976810.
See Nationstar Trial Exhibit No. 10.
of America, N.A., through its attorneys at Miles Bauer
Bergstrome & Winters LLP, contacted Alessi on April 5,
2011, and requested a nine-month payoff statement so that it
could satisfy the super-priority portion of the Association
June 6, 2011, Alessi responded with a total payoff demand for
$2, 407. The payoff stated the Association assessments were
$112-per-month. No. nuisance abatement charges were included.
Based on the $112 monthly assessment amount identified in the
June 6, 2011 payoff demand, Bank of America calculated the
super-priority portion of the lien as $1, 008, which was the
sum of nine-months of common assessments, and sent a check
for that amount to Alessi on June 17, 2011.
Alessi refused to accept Bank of America's payment, and
returned the $1, 008 check.
March 13, 2013, the Association, through Alessi, recorded a
Notice of Trustee's Sale in the Washoe County
Recorder's Office as document number 421678. See
Nationstar Trial Exhibit No. 14.
Curti Ranch, through Alessi, foreclosed on the property on
September 19, 2013. A Trustee's Deed upon Sale was
recorded on September 27, 2013, in the Washoe County
Recorder's Office as document number 4284677.
See Nationstar Trial Exhibit No. 6.
the sale, defendant/ counterclaimant SFR placed the highest
cash bid of $22, 000. Id.
Additional Findings of Fact
June 2005, Guillermo and Sandra Carey obtained a purchase
money loan in the original principal amount of $344, 685 from
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., which was secured by a deed of
trust encumbering the property. The deed of trust identified
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. as the lender, and Mortgage
Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as
nominee for the lender and lender's successors and
assigns as the record beneficiary. A copy of the deed of
trust was recorded on July 6, 2005, in the Washoe County
Recorder's Office as document number 3241354.
See Nationstar Trial Exhibit No. 1.
May 2, 2011, the deed of trust was assigned from MERS to BAC
Home Loans Servicing, LP fka Countrywide Home Loans Servicing
LP. It was recorded in the Washoe County Recorder's
Office as document number 3998967. See Nationstar
Trial Exhibit No. 2.
June 17, 2011, Bank of America, N.A., as successor by
merger to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP fka
Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, tendered $1, 008.00 to
Curti Ranch in an attempt to satisfy the HOA's super
priority lien. Curit Ranch rejected the tender.
December 26, 2012, MERS recorded another assignment, this
time transferring its interest in the property to U.S. Bank
National Association for the Benefit of the
Certificateholders CSFB Mortgage Securities Corp. Adjustable
Rate Mortgage Trust 2005-11 Adjustable Rate Mortgage-Backed
Pass-through Certificates, Series 2005-11 (“U.S.
Bank”). It was recorded in ...