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Wells v. Servi-Solutions

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

June 18, 2019

WILLIAM O. WELLS, Plaintiff,
SERVI-SOLUTIONS, et al., Defendant.


          Robert S. Lasnik, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on defendant's “Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim.” Dkt. #12. For the following reasons, defendant's motion is GRANTED.


         Plaintiff William O. Wells' complaint concerns a piece of real property located at 300 South 9th Street in Mount Vernon, WA. The property is encumbered by a deed of trust (“DOT”) in favor of defendant Servi-Solutions[1]. Although plaintiff's complaint is difficult to decipher, it appears he alleges multiple causes of action mainly arising from a split in the ownership or possession of the DOT and the mortgage note.


         In the context of a motion to dismiss, the Court's review is generally limited to the contents of the complaint. Campanelli v. Bockrath, 100 F.3d 1476, 1479 (9th Cir. 1996). In order to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The Court presumes all well-pleaded allegations to be true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. In re Fitness Holdings Int'l, Inc., 714 F.3d 1141, 1144-45 (9th Cir. 2013). The facts must allow the Court “to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. Dismissal is appropriate if plaintiff's complaint fails to state a cognizable legal theory or fails to provide sufficient facts to support a claim. Taylor v. Yee, 780 F.3d 928, 935 (9th Cir. 2015). Where a plaintiff proceeds pro se, the court must construe the “complaint[] liberally even when evaluating it under the Iqbal standard.” Johnson v. Lucent Techs. Inc., 653 F.3d 1000, 1011 (9th Cir. 2011).

         A. Invalid Deed of Trust

         Any contention in plaintiff's complaint that a split in the note and DOT invalidates the promissory note is deficient factually and legally. Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts for the Court to ascertain the nature of the split he alleges and, even if he had, splitting the note from the DOT does not, by itself, invalidate either document or erase the debt evidenced by the note.

         Plaintiff has not alleged that defendant attempted to foreclose on the property nor has he provided any facts beyond mere conclusory statements to suggest that Servi-Solutions is not entitled to enforce either document. It is not necessarily a violation in Washington to split the note from the DOT. Zamzow v. Homeward Residential, Inc., No. C12-5755BHS, 2012 WL 6615931, at *1 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 19, 2012). The person authorized to enforce a promissory note can be the holder of the note and does not have to be the owner of that note. Robinson v. Wells Fargo Bank Nat'l Ass'n, No. C17-006-1JLR, 2017 WL 2311662, at *4 (W.D. Wash. May 25, 2017); See RCW 62A.3-301 (“‘Person entitled to enforce' an instrument means . . . the holder of the instrument . . .. A person may be a person entitled to enforce the instrument even though the person is not the owner of the instrument.”); see also Deutsche Bank Nat. Tr. Co. v. Slotke, 192 Wash.App. 166, 173 (Wn. App. 2016) (“[I]t is the holder of a note who is entitled to enforce it. It is not necessary for the holder to establish that it is also the owner of the note secured by the deed of trust.”). Aside from vaguely stating that there exists “no definitive claimant of ownership of the note(s), ” plaintiff fails to provide the Court any factual information regarding efforts to foreclose on the mortgage or who the owners or holders of the relevant documents are if not Servi-Solutions. Therefore, the Court can draw no inference that the alleged split is wrongful or that defendant has any potential liability in this matter.

         The complaint does not attach either document for the Court's review, nor does it describe them in sufficient detail for the Court to ascertain why plaintiff believes defendant's actions are improper. Thus, plaintiff fails to validly state any cause of action related to the alleged split.

         B. Quiet Title

         To the extent that plaintiff is bringing an action to quiet title on the property under RCW 7.28.010 based on the allegedly invalid DOT, plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6).

         As discussed above, plaintiff has not alleged facts sufficient to raise an inference that the DOT is invalid. In addition, to succeed on a quiet title claim, plaintiff must first allege that he is “the rightful owner[] of the property, i.e., that [he has] satisfied [his] obligations under the Deed of Trust.” Gelinas v. Bank of Am., No. 16-1355RAJ, 2017 WL 1153859, at *6 (W.D. Wash. Mar 27, 2017), citing Santos v. Countrywide Home Loans, No. CIV.20902642WBS DAD, 2009 WL 3756337, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 6, 2009). Plaintiff has not asserted any facts indicating that he has satisfied his obligations or is the rightful owner, and for that reason his claims are deficient.

         C. ...

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