United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
KEVIN D. STEELE, et al., Plaintiffs,
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING
L. ROBART United States District Judge
the court is Plaintiffs Kevin D. Steele and Stephanie A.
Steele's (“the Steeles”) motion for a
temporary restraining order (“TRO”) to halt the
June 15, 2018, trustee sale on their property and to
reschedule the sale for August 31, 2018. (TRO Mot. (Dkt. #
17).) Defendants Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., (“Wells
Fargo”) and HSBC Bank, N.A., (collectively,
“Defendant Banks”) oppose the motion.
(See Resp. (Dkt. # 20).) The court has considered
the motion, Defendant Banks' response, the relevant
portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully
advised,  the court DENIES the motion.
to the Steeles' complaint, they purchased real property
in Sammamish, Washington, under a Deed of Trust dated
February 16, 2007. (Compl. (Dkt. # 1-1) at 2.) They began
experiencing financial hardship leading to a default on
payments of their loan. (Id.) They subsequently
received a Notice of Trustee's Sale to satisfy the
obligations created by the Deed of Trust. (Id.) They
allege that they have repeatedly sought assistance from Wells
Fargo without success. (Id.)
April 30, 2018, the Steeles filed a motion for a TRO seeking
to halt the June 15, 2018, trustee's sale of their
property and to reschedule the sale for August 31, 2018.
(See TRO Mot.) In support of their motion, the
Steeles submit a copy of Defendant Quality Loan Services
Corporation of Washington's June 15, 2018, Notice of
Trustee's Sale. (Id., Ex. 2.)
their motion, the Steeles state that Defendant Banks directed
them to submit a “mortgage assistance packet for a loss
mitigation review” no later than April 18, 2018, and
that they complied with Defendant Banks' request.
(Id. at 1-2.) Attached to the Steeles' motion is
a copy of the packet they submitted to Defendant Banks, which
they signed and dated April 18, 2018. (Id., Ex. 1.)
The Steeles assert-without evidentiary support-that
“[i]t takes on average 120 . . . days . . . to complete
a loss mitigation review.” (Id. at 2.)
Accordingly, they seek to reschedule the June 15, 2018,
trustee's sale to August 31, 2018, to allow sufficient
time for Defendant Banks to process their mortgage assistance
Banks oppose the motion. (See generally Resp.)
Defendant Banks voluntarily continued the initial February
16, 2018, trustee's sale of the Steeles' property to
April 20, 2018, and then again to June 15, 2018, to allow the
Steeles the opportunity to submit the information and
documents necessary for Defendant Banks' review of their
mortgage assistance application. (Talevich Decl. (Dkt. # 21)
¶¶ 2, 7, Exs. A, D.) After reviewing the
Steeles' initial April 18, 2018, submissions, on May 1,
2018, Defendant Banks asked the Steeles to submit additional
information and documents by May 8, 2018. (Id.
¶ 8.) Counsel for Defendant Banks has never represented
to the Steeles that a determination concerning their mortgage
assistance application will not occur until August 2018.
(Id. ¶ 9.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 65 empowers the court to issue a TRO.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 65. A plaintiff seeking a TRO in federal court
must meet the standards for issuing a preliminary injunction.
See Stuhlbarg Int'l Sales Co. v. John D. Brush &
Co., 240 F.3d 832, 839 n.7 (9th Cir. 2001). Accordingly,
the Steeles must establish that (1) they are likely to
succeed on the merits of their claim, (2) they are likely to
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,
(3) the balance of equities tips in their favor, and (4) an
injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Nat. Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). “A TRO,
like a ‘preliminary injunction[, ] is an extraordinary
and drastic remedy.'” ConocoPhillips Co. v.
Gonzalez, No. 5:12-CV-00576-LHK, 2012 WL 538266, at *2
(N.D. Cal. Feb. 17, 2012) (quoting Munaf v. Geren,
553 U.S. 674, 689 (2008)). Thus, a district court should
enter a TRO only “upon a clear showing that the
plaintiff is entitled to such relief.” Winter,
555 U.S. at 21. As discussed below, the Steeles fail to
clearly establish the requirements for a TRO.
the Steeles fail to demonstrate a likelihood of success on
the merits. The Steeles admit in their complaint that they
are in default on their loan obligations. (See
Compl. at 2.) Although Defendant Banks are presently
reviewing the Steeles' mortgage assistance application,
the Steeles have not demonstrated that Defendant Banks have
any obligation to vary the terms of the Steeles' loan.
(See generally TRO Mot.) The Steeles show neither a
“defense to the default” nor any
“non-technical flaws in the foreclosure process”
that would require the court to enjoin the trustee's
sale. Vawter v. Quality Loan Serv. Corp. of Wash.,
707 F.Supp.2d 1115, 1122 (W.D. Wash. 2010) (quoting 27
Marjorie Dick Rombauer, Washington Practice: Creditors'
Remedies-Debtors' Relief § 3.62 (2008)). Further,
“a court must ‘require as a condition of granting
the restraining order or injunction that the applicant pay to
the clerk of the court the sums that would be due on the
obligation secured by the deed of trust if the deed of trust
was not being foreclosed.'” Andrews v.
Countrywide Bank, NA, 95 F.Supp.3d 1298, 1300 (W.D.
Wash. 2015) (quoting RCW 61.24.130(1)). The Steeles fail to
show that “they have deposited or are capable of
depositing with the clerk of the court the sums required
under RCW 61.23.130(1).” See Id. at 1302.
Accordingly, the court concludes that the Steeles fail to
demonstrate that they are likely to succeed on the merits,
and on this basis the court denies their motion for a TRO.
addition, the Steeles must “demonstrate that
[irreparable] injury is likely in the absence of an
injunction.” Id. at 22 (italics in original).
The Steeles provide no evidence to support their contention
that Defendant Banks will be unable to process their mortgage
assistance application prior to the June 15, 2018, scheduled
trustee's sale. (See TRO Mot. at 2.) The only
evidence before the court is that the Steeles'
application is pending and Defendant Banks' have reviewed
the Steeles' initial submissions and requested more
information. (See TRO Mot. Ex. 1; Talevich Decl.
¶ 8.) In addition, the Steeles provide no evidence that
they qualify for or are otherwise entitled to any relief
based on their mortgage assistance application. Under these
circumstances, the Steeles fail to demonstrate a likelihood
of irreparable injury in the absence of a TRO, and the court
independently denies their motion on this ground as well.
See Ctr. for Food Safety v. Vilsack, 636 F.3d 1166,
1174 (9th Cir. 2011) (“Because Plaintiffs have failed
to show that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief, . . . we need not address
the district court's analysis of the remaining elements
of the preliminary injunction
the Steeles fail to demonstrate either that they are likely
to succeed on the merits or that they will likely suffer
irreparable harm in the absence of a TRO, the court ...