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Taylor v. Bank of America, N.A.

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

April 14, 2014

CASSIE ANN TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., NORTHWEST TRUSTEE SERVICES, INC., and DOES 1-100, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

THOMAS O. RICE, District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT are the following motions: (1) Defendant Bank of America's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7); (2) Defendant Northwest Trustee Services' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15); (3) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (ECF Nos. 16, 17 & 18); and (4) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 22). These matters were submitted for consideration without oral argument. The Court has reviewed the briefing and the record and files herein, and is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff in this diversity case, proceeding pro se, asserts claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion arising from her efforts to halt a non-judicial foreclosure of her home. Defendants have filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff has filed a motion for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant Defendants' motions and dismiss Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice.

FACTS

The following facts are drawn principally from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and the materials attached thereto, and are accepted as true for purposes of the instant motion. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). In August 2010, Plaintiff Cassie Ann Taylor[1] and Matthew Price borrowed $168, 610 from Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. to purchase a home in Spokane. As security for the loan, Plaintiff and Mr. Price executed a deed of trust in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"), as nominee for Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. The loan was subsequently acquired by Defendant Bank of America.

At some point in 2012, Plaintiff and Mr. Price fell behind on their loan payments. On June 5, 2012, MERS executed an assignment of deed of trust in favor of Bank of America. On March 25, 2013, Bank of America initiated nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings by appointing Defendant Northwest Trustee Services ("NWTS") as successor trustee. On April 9, 2013, NWTS recorded a notice of trustee's sale advising Plaintiff and Mr. Price that their home would be sold at auction on August 23, 2013.

On August 2, 2013, Plaintiff mailed a document to Bank of America bearing the caption "Notice of Settlement Offer." The terms of this offer called for Bank of America to accept a "tender" in the amount of $540, 000 in full satisfaction of the mortgage. The offer also purported to become binding upon Bank of America unless it was specifically rejected within 20 days of receipt. ECF No. 18-5 at 2. Enclosed with this document was a "Draft Money Order Receipt" purporting to transfer $540, 000 to Bank of America. This "Money Order" was drawn on the "United States Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20220." ECF No. 18-5 at 8.

On August 20, 2013, three days before the scheduled trustee's sale, Plaintiff recorded a document styled as a "Notice of Termination of Trustee" in the Spokane County Auditor's Office. This document purported to unilaterally terminate the authority of NWTS to move forward with the foreclosure proceedings. ECF No. 18-7. On the same date, Plaintiff filed a series of UCC financing statements claiming a security interest in the property.[2]

NWTS moved forward with the trustee's sale as scheduled on August 23, 2013. The property was purchased by Bank of America.

Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit in Spokane County Superior Court on September 17, 2013. Defendants subsequently removed the case to this Court on diversity of citizenship grounds[3] on October 21, 2013.

DISCUSSION

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim tests the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff's claims. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). To withstand dismissal, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "Naked assertion[s], " "labels and conclusions, " or "formulaic recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555, 557. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While a plaintiff need not establish a probability of success on the merits, he or she must demonstrate "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id.

A complaint must also contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In assessing whether Rule 8(a)(2) has been satisfied, a court must first identify the elements of the plaintiff's claim(s) and then determine whether those elements could be proven on the facts pled. The court should generally draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, see Sheppard v. David Evans and Assocs., 694 F.3d ...


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