United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Nationstar
Mortgage, LLC's (“Nationstar”), Mortgage
Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”),
and Federal National Mortgage Association's
(“Fannie Mae”) motion to dismiss Plaintiffs'
complaint (Dkt. No. 15). Having thoroughly considered the
parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion
for the reasons explained herein.
2002, Plaintiffs obtained a $196, 000.00 loan secured by a
deed of trust to finance their home in Issaquah,
Washington. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 5-6.) Plaintiffs
defaulted on their loan in October 2014. (Dkt. No. 15 at 5.)
After a Notice of Trustee's Sale was posted in June 2016,
Plaintiffs filed suit to enjoin the sale, naming several of
the same Defendants in the instant action. (Id. at
5-7.) That lawsuit was dismissed, as was as a subsequent suit
Plaintiffs filed in 2017. Hover v. GMAC Mortgage
Corporation, et al., Case No. C16-1243-JLR, slip op. at
*5 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 21, 2017); Hover v. GMAC Mortgage
Corporation, et al., Case No. C17-0902-RSM, slip op. at
*3 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 3, 2017). Both prior actions asserted
claims arising out of the origination and assignment of
third suit arising from the same facts, Plaintiffs allege
Washington Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices
(“UDAP”) violations. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 1) (citing
Wash. Rev. Code § 19.86.020, et seq.)
Plaintiffs assert Defendants “failed to give full
disclosure of the material terms and conditions” of
their loan at the time the note and Deed of Trust were
issued, and thus both are “null and void.”
(Id. at 4, 11, 13.) They seek injunctive relief,
damages, and litigation costs. (Id. at 1.)
Defendants Nationstar, MERS, and Federal National Mortgage
Association move to dismiss the action as barred by res
judicata and UDAP's statute of limitations, and for
failure to state a claim for UDAP violations. (Dkt. No. 15 at
defendant may move for dismissal when a plaintiff
“fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To grant a motion to
dismiss, the Court must be able to conclude that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, even after
accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as true
and construing them in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922,
925 (9th Cir. 2009). However, to survive a motion to dismiss,
a plaintiff must cite facts supporting a
“plausible” cause of action. Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Although
the Court must accept as true a complaint's well-pleaded
facts, “conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted
inferences will not defeat an otherwise proper motion to
dismiss.” Vasquez v. L.A. County, 487 F.3d
1246, 1249 (9th Cir. 2007).
motion to dismiss, the Court may take judicial notice of
another court's opinion “not for the truth of the
facts recited therein, but for the existence of the opinion,
which is not subject to reasonable dispute over its
authenticity.” Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250
F.3d 668, 690 (9th Cir. 2001). The Court takes judicial
notice of prior opinions dismissing Plaintiffs' claims
against Defendants. Hover, Case No. C16-1243-JLR;
Hover, Case No. C17-0902-RSM.
Court agrees with Defendants that Plaintiffs' claims
should be dismissed under the doctrine of res
judicata. In Washington, “[f]iling two separate
lawsuits based on the same event-claim splitting-is
precluded[.]” Ensley v. Pitcher, 222 P.3d 99,
102 (Wash. App. 2009). The doctrine of res judicata
bars a subsequent action where a prior judgment on the merits
involved the same (1) persons and parties, (2) causes of
action, (3) subject matter, and (4) quality of parties.
Karlberg v. Otten, 280 P.3d 1123, 1130 (Wash.Ct.App.
2012). This doctrine “applies to every point which
properly belonged to the subject of [prior] litigation, and
which the parties, exercising reasonable diligence, might
have brought forward at the time.” Feminist
Women's Health Ctr. v. Codispoti, 63 F.3d 863, 868
(9th Cir. 1995).
requirements for res judicata are met here.
Plaintiffs' prior suits against Defendants involved the
same parties (Plaintiffs Lynn and Mila Hover and Defendants
Nationstar, MERS, and FNMA), the same subject matter
(origination and assignment of the same loan), and resulted
in final judgments on the merits. Compare Dkt. No.
1-1, with Hover, Case No. C16-1243-JLR at * 5,
and Hover, Case No. C17-0902-RSM at *3.
Plaintiffs did not bring a UDAP claim in their prior suits,
identity between causes of action exists. See Landry v.
Luscher, P.2d 1274, 1277 n. 1 (Wash.Ct.App. 1999),
review denied, 989 P.2d 1140 (1999) (res
judicata can bar a claim even if a plaintiff seeks
relief “not demanded in the first [action]”).
Plaintiffs' UDAP claim is identical to prior causes of
action because it involves “substantially the same
evidence, ” infringement of the same right, and
“the same transactional nucleus of facts.”
Energy Northwest v. Hartje, 199 P.3d 1043, 1048
(Wash.Ct.App. 2009). Plaintiffs raise no arguments here that
could not have been brought forward in their initial suit
with reasonable diligence. See Codispoti, 63 F.3d at
opposition to Defendants' motion is largely
unresponsive. They argue Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal
violates their due process rights; thus, their prior claims
were not “properly adjudicated” and res
judicata cannot bar the present suit. (Dkt. No. 22 at
3-4.) This argument has ...