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Samet v. Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

December 17, 2019

STEVEN A. SAMET, Plaintiff,
v.
BAYVIEW LOAN SERVICING, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          GLOR M NAVARRO, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Steven A. Samet's (“Plaintiff's”) Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 40). Defendant Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC (“Defendant”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 42), [1] and Plaintiff filed a Reply, (ECF No. 45).

         Also pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Enforce Settlement, (ECF No. 43). Plaintiff filed a Response, (ECF No. 51), [2] and Defendant filed a Reply, (ECF No. 53).

         Also pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Sanctions, (ECF No. 44). Plaintiff filed a Response, (ECF No. 52), and Defendant filed a Reply, (ECF No. 53).[3]

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Enforce Settlement and Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss. Defendant's Motion for Sanctions is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from Defendant allegedly wrongfully reporting Plaintiff's deed of trust debt to credit reporting agencies in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (See generally Compl., ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he surrendered his real property located at 2331 Peaceful Sky Drive, Henderson, NV 89044 (“the Property”) to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LLC (“BAC”) in 2014 pursuant to the Confirmation Order in his bankruptcy case. (Id. ¶ 19). Defendant, as BAC's successor in interest, reported an outstanding debt owed on the deed of trust despite the earlier Confirmation Order allegedly discharging the debt. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 23-24, 39). Plaintiff alleges that, in so doing, Defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (Id. 106-08).

         On September 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Settlement in this case stating that the parties “have reached a tentative settlement.” (Notice of Settlement 1:24-25, ECF No. 35). Defendant alleges that the parties reached a settlement agreement under which Plaintiff agreed not to contest foreclosure on the Property. (Def.'s Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss (“Def.'s Resp.”) 3:3-16, ECF No. 42). After the purported settlement, Defendant's counsel discovered that Plaintiff applied for a loan modification that it argues was inconsistent with the settlement agreement. (Emails re: Application for Loan Modification (“Loan Emails”) at 1, Ex. B to Mot. Enforce Settlement (“MES”), ECF No. 43-2). Plaintiff also filed a Petition for Foreclosure Mediation Assistance in state court on October 19, 2018, seeking an alternative to foreclosure of the Property, and the state court set a mediation for March 5, 2019. (MES at 4:1-5) (See also Petition for Foreclosure Mediation Assistance, Ex. C. to Def.'s Resp., ECF No. 42-3). On March 11, 2019, after the mediation, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Dismiss Defendant with prejudice, (ECF No. 40). Defendant opposes the Motion, [4] and it filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement and a Motion for Sanctions, (ECF Nos. 42-44).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         a. Motion to Enforce Settlement

         “It is well settled that a district court has the equitable power to enforce summarily an agreement to settle a case pending before it. However, the district court may enforce only complete settlement agreements.” Callie v. Near, 829 F.2d 888, 890 (9th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted). “Whether the parties intended only to be bound upon the execution of a written, signed agreement is a factual issue.” Id. at 890-91. “In addition to the intent of the parties to bind themselves, the formation of a settlement contract requires agreement on its material terms.” Id. at 891. “Because a settlement agreement is a contract, its construction and enforcement are governed by principles of contract law.” May v. Anderson, 119 P.3d 1254, 1257 (Nev. 2005) (footnote omitted).

         Under Nevada law, “[b]asic contract principles require, for an enforceable contract, an offer and acceptance, meeting of the minds, and consideration.” Id. (footnote omitted). “A valid contract cannot exist when material terms are lacking or are insufficiently certain and definite.” Id. (footnote omitted). “A contract can be formed, however, when the parties have agreed to the material terms, even though the contract's exact language is not finalized until later.” Id. (footnote omitted). Ordinarily, “[w]here a complete contract was made orally, the fact that it was expected that a written contract would afterwards be signed, embodying the terms of the oral contract, does not prevent the oral contract from taking effect.” Micheletti v. Fugitt, 134 P.2d 99, 104 (Nev. 1943).

         “In the case of a settlement agreement, a court cannot compel compliance when material terms remain uncertain.” May, 119 P.3d at 1257 (footnote omitted). “The court must be able to ascertain what is required of the respective parties.” Id. (footnote omitted). “[T]he question of whether a contract exists is one of fact.” Id. A settlement contract is formed “when the parties have agreed to its material terms;” accordingly, a party's refusal to later execute a written settlement agreement containing the agreed upon terms “does not render the settlement agreement invalid.” Id. at 1256.

         b. ...


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