United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
WILLIAM O. WELLS, Plaintiff,
SERVI-SOLUTIONS, et al., Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
S. Lasnik, United States District Judge.
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
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. 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.
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).
Invalid Deed of Trust
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.
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.
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.
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).
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