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Robinson v. Wells Fargo Bank National Association

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

May 25, 2017

BARBARA ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          JAMES L. ROBART, United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court are two motions: (1) Defendants Wells Fargo Bank National Association, as Trustee for the Certificate Holders of the MLMI Trust, Mortgage Loan Asset-Backed Certificates Series 2005 WMC2 (“Wells Fargo”), Mortgage Electronic Registration System (“MERS”), Nationstar Mortgage LLC (“Nationstar”), and John Bray's (collectively, “Moving Defendants”) motion to dismiss (Wells MTD (Dkt. # 19)) pro se Plaintiff Barbara Robinson's amended complaint (FAC (Dkt. ## 13-1, 13-2)); and (2) Defendant Bank of America, N.A.'s (“BANA”) motion to dismiss Ms. Robinson's amended complaint (2d BANA MTD (Dkt. # 22)).

         In addition, before the court are two documents Ms. Robinson filed: (1) “Notice of Motion to Intervene and Order Dismissing All Defendants Motions for Dismissal for Lack of Standing, ” and (2) “Memorandum to Support Order Dismissing All Defendants [sic] Motions for Dismissal for Lack of Standing.” (See Resp. (Dkt. ## 24, 24-1).) The court liberally construes Ms. Robinson's “motion” and memorandum as a response to Defendants' motions to dismiss because a motion to intervene is nonsensical when Ms. Robinson is already a party to this lawsuit.[1] See Fed. R. Civ. P. 24; Blaisdell v. Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013) (“Courts in this circuit have an obligation to give a liberal construction to the filings of pro se litigants.”).

         The court has considered Defendants' motions, Ms. Robinson's response, all submissions filed in support of and opposition to the motions, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised, [2] the court GRANTS the motions and dismisses Ms. Robinson's complaint with prejudice and without leave to amend.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On February 16, 2005, WMC Mortgage Corp. (“WMC”) loaned Ms. Robinson $596, 031.00 to purchase the property located at 13540 Southeast 159th Place, Renton, Washington 98058 (“the Property”). (Varallo Decl. (Dkt. # 23) ¶ 2, Ex. A.)[3] The loan is secured with a Deed of Trust (“DOT”) on the Property, and the DOT is recorded in King County. (See id.) The DOT lists Ms. Robinson and her husband as borrowers, WMC as the lender, Bishop & Lynch of King County as the trustee, and MERS as the beneficiary, solely as nominee of the lender and its heirs. (Id.)

         On January 5, 2010, a representative of MERS as nominee for WMC recorded a Corporate Assignment of Mortgage/Deed of Trust, which assigned the DOT to Wells Fargo, as trustee for the securitized trust investor. (Id. ¶ 3, Ex. B.) That same day, Wells Fargo recorded an Appointment of Successor Trustee, which appointed Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. (“NW Trustee”) as the trustee on the DOT. (Id. ¶ 4, Ex. C.) On January 28, 2010, N.W. Trustee recorded a Notice of Trustee's Sale, which scheduled a sale of the Property in foreclosure for April 30, 2010. (Id. ¶ 5, Ex. D.) On October 3, 2011, N.W. Trustee recorded a Notice of Discontinuance of Trustee's Sale, which discontinued the sale of the Property in foreclosure. (Id. ¶ 6, Ex. E.)

         On October 25, 2011, BANA, the servicer of the loan at that time, and Ms. Robinson executed a Loan Modification Agreement (“LMA”) under which Ms. Robinson's monthly payments were modified effective August 1, 2011. (Id. ¶ 7, Ex. F; see also Id. ¶ 9, Ex. H (describing BANA as “the then-servicer of the loan secured by the [DOT]”).) BANA recorded the LMA in King County on October 25, 2011. (Id. ¶ 7, Ex. F.)

         On August 15, 2013, BANA mistakenly recorded an Assignment of Deed of Trust assigning any interest in the loan and DOT from BANA to Nationstar. (Id. ¶ 8, Ex. G; see Id. ¶ 9, Ex. H.) On May 3, 2016, BANA recorded a Corrective Assignment of Deed of Trust to clarify that BANA had recorded the August 15, 2013, Assignment of Deed of Trust in error and that the original beneficiary, Wells Fargo-rather than Nationstar- remains the beneficiary on the DOT. (Id. ¶ 9, Ex. H.)

         On June 22, 2016, Wells Fargo recorded an Appointment of Successor Trustee, which appointed Defendant Aztec Foreclosure Corporation of Washington (“Aztec”) as trustee.[4] (Id. ¶ 10, Ex. I.) On August 15, 2016, Aztec recorded a Notice of Trustee's Sale, which scheduled a sale of the Property for December 16, 2016. (Id. ¶ 11, Ex. J.) Based on the record before the court, it is unclear if the Property has been sold in foreclosure to date. (See Compl.; FAC; 2d BANA MTD at 4.)

         Ms. Robinson filed this action in King County Superior Court on December 12, 2016. (See Compl. (Dkt. # 1-1).) Nationstar removed the action to this court on January 13, 2017. (Not. of Rem. (Dkt. # 1).) On January 20, 2017, BANA filed its first motion to dismiss the complaint. (1st BANA MTD (Dkt. # 7).) Ms. Robinson responded by filing a motion to amend her complaint. (MTA (Dkt. # 13).) Moving Defendants then filed their first motion to dismiss directed at Ms. Robinson's proposed amended complaint. (See Wells MTD.) On April 4, 2017, the court granted Ms. Robinson's motion to amend her complaint and denied BANA's first motion to dismiss as moot because BANA's motion addressed at Ms. Robinson's original complaint. (See 4/4/17 Order (Dkt. # 21) at 3-4.) On April 18, 2017, BANA filed its second motion to dismiss, which it directed at Ms. Robinson's amended complaint. (See 2d BANA MTD.) The court now considers Moving Defendants and BANA's motions to dismiss Ms. Robinson's amended complaint.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Legal Standard

         When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Livid Holdings Ltd. v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 416 F.3d 940, 946 (9th Cir. 2005). The court must accept all well-pleaded allegations of material fact as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broad. Sys., Inc., 135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Telesaurus VPC, LLC v. Power, 623 F.3d 998, 1003 (9th Cir. 2010). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663.

         The court, however, need not accept as true a legal conclusion presented as a factual allegation. Id. at 678. Although Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 does not require “detailed factual allegations, ” it demands more than “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A pleading that offers only “labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Id. Further, a pleading may fail to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) “either by lacking a cognizable legal theory or by lacking sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Woods v. U.S. Bank N.A., 831 F.3d 1159, 1162 (9th Cir. 2016). Thus, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations to “plausibly suggest entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).

         Finally, although “the allegations of [a pro se plaintiff's] complaint, ‘however inartfully pleaded' are held ‘to less stringent standards than normal pleadings drafted by lawyers, '” Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)), a court may still dismiss a complaint where “a liberal construction does not remedy the palpable deficiencies in [the] complaint, ” Wallmuller v. Russell, No. C14-5121RBL-JRC, 2014 WL 2475978, at *2 (W.D. Wash. June 3, 2014).

         B. Moving Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

         Although Ms. Robinson's amended complaint is difficult to understand, she appears to contend that the treatment of her loan and the commencement of nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings against the Property were somehow wrongful. (See FAC.) Moving Defendants assert that Ms. Robinson fails to allege sufficient facts or state a cognizable legal theory to adequately underpin her claims concerning the foreclosure process on the Property. (See ...


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