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Amrani v. Us Bank Trust, N.A.

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

June 5, 2019

ALLAL K. AMRANI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
U.S. BANK TRUST, N.A., AS TRUSTEE FOR LSF9 MASTER PARTICIPATION TRUST, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) (Dkt. #6) and request to seal (Dkt. #9).[1] Plaintiff, Allal Amrani, principally seeks to restrain a foreclosure sale of real estate located at 20704 Des Moines Memorial Drive, SeaTac, Washington. Dkt. #7 at ¶ 1. If not restrained, Plaintiff indicates that the foreclosure will occur on June 16, 2019. Dkt. #6. Plaintiff filed his Complaint and requested a TRO on the same day. Plaintiff's request is in the form of a one-page letter that provides, in substance:

RE: Urgency - Emergency
My house-residence property is in foreclosure and it is posted for online auction on the 16th of the month.
My Complaint is to stop the foreclosure and the auction and therefore it is urgent and of emergency nature that my case is reviewed immediately and hope it will be entered into record immediately, and my fee waiver should also be reviewed immediately [and] hope it is approved.

Id. (typographic alterations for clarity).[2] However, Plaintiff has also verified the allegations of his Complaint and has filed an affidavit and exhibits. Dkts. #5 and #7. The Court therefore considers the three filings collectively as a Motion for TRO (“Motion”). However, upon review, the Court does not find it appropriate to grant Plaintiff's requested relief at this time and accordingly denies the Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND[3]

         Plaintiff alleges that he owns a piece of property in SeaTac, Washington (the “Property”). Dkt. #7 at ¶ 1. The Property was acquired in 2006, by one of the defendants in pursuit of a joint business venture with Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 8-12. The Property was later transferred to the business venture, but payments were missed, and the mortgage went into default in 2011. Id. at ¶ 19.

         Over the years, Plaintiff has recorded several quit claim deeds related to the Property and has recorded a “UCC Development Real Estate Services Mechanic's Lien” against the Property. Id. at ¶ 26; Dkt. #7-4. Concurrently, several of the defendants have continued to seek foreclosure of the Property and have continued to send Plaintiff and his former partner notices at the Property. On December 16, 2016, unspecified defendants filed a complaint in King County Superior Court seeking to foreclose on the Property. Dkt. #7 at ¶ 28. A guardian ad litem (“GAL”) was appointed for Plaintiff due to significant health issues that were caused, at least in part, by the mortgage default. Id. at ¶¶ 39-30. Ultimately, the GAL took actions that Plaintiff maintains were not in his best interest, including placing Plaintiff's interest in the Property into a special needs trust-for which the GAL was the trustee. Id.; Dkt. #7-5. Plaintiff believes that the GAL, a defendant, has acted to the benefit of several of the other defendants in this action. Dkt. #7 at ¶ 34.

         Defendant indicates that a foreclosure sale is now scheduled to take place on June 16, 2019. Dkt. #6. Plaintiff's Complaint lays out thirteen causes of action against the ten named defendants. Dkt. #5. Plaintiff's letter requesting relief does not clearly identify what claims he relies upon for injunctive relief. Dkt. #6. However, Plaintiff's affidavit appears to more particularly identify bases upon which the foreclosure sale cannot proceed. Dkt. #7. These appear to include questions as to the ownership of the Property, questions as to the actions of the GAL, questions as to whether his UCC lien is entitled to super-priority such that it must be satisfied before any foreclosure, and whether irregularities in the assignment of notes and deeds of trust preclude defendants' standing to foreclose. Id. at ¶¶ 35-44.[4]

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard for a TRO

         To support a TRO, the moving party must show: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a likelihood of irreparable harm to the moving party in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that a balance of equities tips in the favor of the moving party; and (4) that an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). The Ninth Circuit employs a “sliding scale” approach, according to which these elements are balanced, “so that a stronger showing of one element may offset a weaker showing of another.” Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1131 (9th Cir. 2011).[5]

         A party seeking a TRO without providing written or oral notice to the adverse party must satisfy additional requirements. Specifically, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 ...


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