United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Terry
Steiner’s Motion for Reconsideration. Dkt. #29. On
August 19, 2019, this Court granted Defendant Asset
Acceptance, LLC’s Motion to Dismiss and dismissed the
action. Dkt. #27. Plaintiff now requests that the Court
reconsider its decision. The Court has determined that
response briefing from Defendant is unnecessary. See
Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h)(3).
the administratrix of Mr. David Steiner’s estate,
brought this action against Defendant under the Federal Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the
Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”). The action arose
out of a dispute over the withholding of $28, 000 in proceeds
for the sale of Mr. Steiner’s home due to a judgment
lien held by Defendant against the property. Dkt. #1 at
¶ 1. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant, who had recorded
a judgment against Mr. Steiner, did not maintain a lien
against Mr. Steiner’s home because of
Washington’s homestead laws. Id. (Arguing that
“a judgment does not become a lien on homesteaded real
estate until the equity in the homestead exceeds $125,
000.”). For that reason, Plaintiff argued, Defendant
unlawfully demanded money to satisfy the lien despite having
no valid lien on Mr. Steiner’s property.
Court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint on the basis that
under RCW 6.13.090, properly recording a judgment immediately
creates a lien on the excess value of homestead property.
Dkt. #27 at 6. The Court found that by recording both the
original judgment and the renewed judgment, Defendant was a
valid lienholder at the time Mr. Steiner’s property was
sold, at which point the property was no longer subject to a
homestead exemption. The Court accordingly dismissed
for reconsideration are disfavored.” Local Rules W.D.
Wash. LCR 7(h)(1). “The court will ordinarily deny such
motions in the absence of a showing of manifest error in the
prior ruling or a showing of new facts or legal authority
which could not have been brought to its attention earlier
with reasonable diligence.” Id.
instant Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff claims that the
Court should have considered the fact that Defendant needed
to file a claim in probate court in order to collect on its
judgment lien. Dkt. #29 at 2. Although Plaintiff describes
this issue as “the lynch-pin of the case, ” she
concedes that she never plead this claim in the original
complaint. Id. at 8. (“The Complaint does not
allege that AA failed to file a claim in the estate as
required by RCW 11.40.130 and RCW 11.40.070.”). For
that reason, Plaintiff moves for both reconsideration and
leave to amend her original complaint.
initial issue, Plaintiff has improperly used this Motion as a
means to raise an argument that she could have raised earlier
in the litigation. Kona Enterprises, Inc. v. Estate of
Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000) (“A Rule
59(e) motion may not be used to raise arguments . .
. when they could reasonably have been raised earlier in the
litigation.”) (emphasis in original). Plaintiff
originally disputed-and the Court resolved-the issue of
whether Washington’s homestead laws prevented Defendant
from holding a lien against Mr. Steiner’s property.
Now, Plaintiff acknowledges Defendant’s status as a
“judgment lienholder, ” but disputes whether
Defendant has taken the necessary steps during the probate
process to collect on the judgment lien. Dkt. #29 at 2. This
was not the original argument before the Court, and Defendant
is prejudiced by its inability to respond. On this basis
alone, the Court may deny Plaintiff’s motion. See
Navajo Nation v. Confederated Tribes & Bands of the
Yakima Indian Nation, 331 F.3d 1041, 1046 (9th Cir.
2003) (“Whether or not to grant reconsideration is
committed to the sound discretion of the court.”).
the Court considered Plaintiff’s argument, it does not
change the Court’s analysis that Plaintiff has failed
to state a claim under the FDCPA and CPA. Plaintiff
originally claimed that Defendant had “demanded money
to which it was not entitled” due to the homestead
exemption. Dkt. #24 at 7. Now, Plaintiff acknowledges that
Defendant is a judgment lienholder but disputes whether it
took the proper steps under Washington’s probate law to
collect from Mr. Steiner’s estate. Dkt. #29 at 2
(citing RCW 11.40.130 and RCW 11.40.070). Whether Defendant
complied with RCW 11.40 to bring its claims against the
estate falls under Washington state probate law-not debt
collection laws. See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. § 1692
et seq. (FDCPA imposes civil liability on debt
collectors for prohibited debt collection practices).
Consequently, Plaintiff has still failed to state a claim
under the FDCPA and CPA.