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Pensco Trust Co. v. Delfierro

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

August 11, 2017

PENSCO TRUST COMPANY, CUSTODIAN FBO JEFFREY D. HERMANN, IRA ACCOUNT NUMBER 20005343, Plaintiff,
v.
LORINA DELFIERRO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT.

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on the parties' cross Motions for Summary Judgment.[1] Dkts. #44 and #45. Plaintiff argues that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there are no genuine disputes as to any material fact, and the record definitively demonstrates that it is entitled to foreclose on Defendant Delfierro's property. Dkt. #44. Defendant Delfierro asserts that Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this action, and therefore the claims should be dismissed in their entirety. Dkt. #45. For the reasons set forth below, the Court now GRANTS Plaintiff's motion and DENIES Defendant's motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed the instant action in King County Superior Court on November 14, 2016, seeking a judicial foreclosure on Ms. Delfierro's residential property. Dkt. #4. On December 16, 2016, Defendant Delfierro removed the action to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Dkt. #1. Defendant subsequently filed an Amended Answer in this matter and alleged four Counterclaims against Plaintiff for: 1) Wire Fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1343; 2) violations of 18 U.S.C. § 152; 3) violations of Washington's Consumer Protection Act; and 4) False Claims. Dkt. #31 at Counterclaims ¶ ¶ 4.1-4.23. Although difficult to discern from the Amended Answer, Defendant alleges as the bases for her Counterclaims that there is no effective chain of title with respect to her property, that certain sums of money have not been accounted for and have been taken fraudulently, and that certain title documents have been improperly re-sequenced. Id. Plaintiff moved to dismiss the Counterclaims as barred by the doctrine of res judicata, which this Court granted. Dkt. #48. The instant motions are now ripe for review.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). In ruling on summary judgment, a court does not weigh evidence to determine the truth of the matter, but “only determine[s] whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Crane v. Conoco, Inc., 41 F.3d 547, 549 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d 744, 747 (9th Cir. 1992)). Material facts are those which might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

         The Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d at 747, rev'd on other grounds, 512 U.S. 79 (1994). However, the nonmoving party must make a “sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof” to survive summary judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Further, “[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251.

         The parties have both moved for summary judgment. However, cross motions for summary judgment do not warrant the conclusion that one of the motions must be granted. The Court must still determine whether summary judgment for either party is appropriate. See Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. v. Riverside Two, 249 F.3d 1132, 1136-1137 (9th Cir. 2001).

         B. Plaintiff's Motion

         Plaintiff moves for judgment as a matter of law on the bases that: 1) it has standing to foreclose on the subject property; 2) Defendant is in default on the mortgage loan; and 3) all preconditions to foreclosure have been met. Dkt. #44. The Court agrees that Plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence to satisfy these assertions.

         First, in its prior Order dismissing Defendant's Counterclaims, the Court affirmed what the Washington state court had already determined - Plaintiff is the beneficial owner of the mortgage note, “with power and authority to enforce the same.” Dkt. #48 at 5 (emphasis added). Further, the record is clear that shortly after loan origination, Defendant Delfierro defaulted on her obligation to make her mortgage payments, and Ms. Delfierro does not dispute that in her response to summary judgment. Dkt. #34. Ex. E. As a result, Plaintiff is entitled to bring an action to foreclose on the subject property under the terms of the Note and the Deed of Trust.

         In her own motion, and in response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant does not discuss her default on the mortgage loan, nor does she point to any evidence that would raise a genuine dispute as to the fact that she has defaulted on her payments. See Dkts. #45 and #51. Instead, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff, as a mere “account, ” does not have standing to bring this action. Id. She seems to argue that Jeffrey Hermann, as the beneficiary of the account, is the real party in interest, but that the account itself has no ability to bring the foreclosure claim. Dkt. #45 at 3-9. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(a) states that “An action must be prosecuted in the ...


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