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River Stone Holdings NW, LLC v. Lopez

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

June 13, 2017

RIVER STONE HOLDINGS NW, LLC, a Washington Limited Liability Company, Respondent,
v.
ALICE M. LOPEZ, an individual, and all others occupying SE 35th Loop, Vancouver, WA, Appellant.

         ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PUBLISH OPINION

         A third party petitioner moved to publish the opinion filed April 25, 2017 in this case. The court requested that the parties file an answer to the motion to publish within 10 days of its May 11, 2017 order, but no answers were filed. The court having considered the motion, and it is hereby

         ORDERED that the final paragraph in the opinion which reads "A majority of the panel having determined that this opinion will not be printed in the Washington Appellate Reports, but will be filed for public record pursuant to RCW 2.06.040, it is so ordered." is deleted. It is further

         ORDERED that the opinion will now be published.

          Maxa, A.C.J.

         Alice Lopez appeals the superior court's order directing issuance of a writ of restitution, granting River Stone Holdings NW, LLC possession of Lopez's foreclosed home after she defaulted on her home loan. River Stone purchased the property at a trustee's foreclosure sale, held pursuant to the Deeds of Trust Act (DTA), chapter 61.24 RCW. When Lopez did not timely vacate the property, River Stone filed an action for unlawful detainer.

         Lopez argues that the superior court erred in entering the writ of restitution order and that she was entitled to a jury trial on River Stone's claim because (1) genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether River Stone had proper title to the property based on deficiencies in the foreclosure process, (2) a Supreme Court decision regarding the right to enforce a deed of trust conflicted with an applicable statute, and (3) federal law prohibited the holder of Lopez's loan from selling the property to River Stone. We hold that under the facts of this case, Lopez's claims are not proper defenses to an unlawful detainer action and therefore the superior court could not consider them. Accordingly, we affirm the superior court's order directing issuance of a writ of restitution in River Stone's favor.

         FACTS

         In 2004, Lopez purchased residential property in Vancouver. She financed her purchase with a loan from Washington Mutual Bank, secured by a deed of trust. Washington Mutual's promissory note later was assigned to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as trustee for WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificate Series 2005-AR6 (the Trust). Lopez claims that this assignment was made by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), presumably as Washington Mutual's successor.

         Lopez subsequently defaulted on her loan obligation and Deutsche Bank began foreclosure proceedings under the DTA. Northwest Trustee Services, the successor trustee for the deed of trust, held a trustee's sale on November 13, 2015, at which River Stone purchased the property. The property's deed was conveyed to River Stone on November 19. The deed stated that the sale complied with all requirements of the DTA. Lopez represented to the superior court that she filed a separate lawsuit to restrain the foreclosure sale, but the superior court in that lawsuit denied her motion for an injunction.[1]

         On November 17, River Stone sent Lopez a notice to vacate the property by December 3, 20 days after the trustee's sale. On December 8, River Stone filed in superior court an eviction summons, a complaint for unlawful detainer, and a motion for an order to show cause why the superior court should not order issuance of a writ of restitution granting River Stone possession of the property. In her answer, Lopez denied without elaboration that River Stone was the property's owner and alleged that the foreclosure sale was unlawful.

         Lopez filed a brief opposing the unlawful detainer. She argued that the deed of trust had not been properly assigned to the Trust before initiation of the foreclosure proceedings, that the foreclosure proceedings violated the DTA, and that assignment to the Trust violated federal tax law because the assignment occurred after the Trust had closed. Lopez submitted no affidavits or documents supporting her allegations.

         The superior court held a show cause hearing on January 5, 2016. Lopez argued that there was a dispute over the property's ownership. But she presented no evidence to challenge that River Stone had purchased the property at the trustee's sale. The superior court ruled that Lopez had not presented a viable defense to the unlawful detainer, and entered an order directing issuance of the writ of restitution. The court clerk issued the writ and the sheriff enforced it.

         Lopez appeals the superior court's ...


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