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Medici v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 15, 2014

SARA MEDICI, Plaintiff,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., a nationally chartered bank and successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank; NORTHWEST TRUSTEE SERVICES, INC., a Washington business corporation; BANK OF AMERICA N.A., a nationally chartered bank, successor by merger to LaSalle Bank N.A., as Trustee for WAMU 2004-AR14; and JOHN DOE 1, any other entity being successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANCER L. HAGGERTY, District Judge.

Plaintiff brings this action for injunctive relief, negligence, negligence per se for violation of Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 86.753(2), gross negligence, and breach of contract in connection to the wrongful foreclosure of plaintiff's home after she reinstated her loan and the delay in reinstating her loan. On April 5, 2013, defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [61]. On January 9, 2014, the court heard oral argument on the motion. For the following reasons, defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In October 2004, Sara Medici (plaintiff) obtained a refinance first residential mortgage loan from Washington Mutual Bank in the amount of $687, 000. The loan was secured by a Deed of Trust encumbering plaintiff's residence, 7205 SW Dogwood Place, Portland, Oregon 97225 (Residence). The loan was subsequently transferred to defendant JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase) as successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank. Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. (NWTS) is the servicer of the loan.[1]

Due to problems in her restaurant business, plaintiff became delinquent on her loan payments in September 2008. During this time, plaintiff was in frequent communication with Chase in an attempt to obtain a loan modification. Chase advised plaintiff that she might be eligible for a permanent loan modification, but needed to keep her loan in delinquent status to maintain her eligibility. Through a document dated January 27, 2009, plaintiff was notified that the property was scheduled for foreclosure on June 2, 2009.

By May 2009, plaintiff was behind on her loan payments by $27, 542.94. On May 29, 2009, plaintiff submitted a reinstatement payment in the amount of $27, 542.94 as directed by Chase representatives. The payment cured plaintiff's default and reinstated the loan in good standing. Plaintiff also timely made her June 2009 payment. On June 10, 2009, Chase sent plaintiff a letter explaining that her loan had been reinstated in good standing, and that the loan modification application had been cancelled.

During July and August of 2009, Chase notified plaintiff that there was some internal problem with the status of her loan. Chase representatives flagged plaintiff's loan as in need of additional review on two occasions. Nevertheless, on August 14, 2009, NWTS conducted a foreclosure sale of the Residence. Defendant Bank of America purchased the Residence for the amount of plaintiff's debt. According to plaintiff, there were three requested escalations for internal management review after the sale, but a Trustee's Deed was recorded on August 27, 2009, transferring the Residence to Bank of America.

Plaintiff learned of the foreclosure sale on August 19, 2009, when she discovered a notice on the front door of the Residence. Plaintiff immediately retained counsel, who immediately contacted NWTS. NWTS immediately ceased all eviction activity. Plaintiff's residence on the property has never been interrupted and she continues to reside there.

In 2009 and 2010, plaintiff's counsel sent several letters to Chase, which explained plaintiff's legal theories and offered resolutions that were acceptable to plaintiff. Chase did not process plaintiff's loan modification request and it offered new loan terms that were not acceptable to plaintiff.

Despite living at the Residence, plaintiff has not made any mortgage or rental payment since June 2009. Plaintiff has not paid any property tax since 2009. She did not maintain property insurance from August 2009 through July 2011, and she has not paid bank fees since the foreclosure date. Plaintiff explains that she could not make loan payments because her loan no longer existed. Similarly, plaintiff explains that her property insurance was canceled when she no longer owned the Residence. As evidenced by the original Complaint, plaintiff initially resisted Chase's attempts to rescind the foreclosure and reinstate the loan on its prior terms. After failed attempts to negotiate a resolution, NWTS recorded a Correction of Error Deed on February 25, 2011, rescinding the foreclosure sale and the Trustee's Deed without notifying plaintiff. Plaintiff initiated this action on August 10, 2011.

STANDARDS

A party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Bahn v. NME Hosps., Inc., 929 F.2d 1404, 1409 (9th Cir. 1991). The moving party carries the initial burden of proof and meets this burden by identifying portions of the record on file that demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986).. Once the initial burden is satisfied, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to demonstrate through the production of probative evidence that there remains an issue of fact to be tried. Id.

The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Fairbank v. Wundernian Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). All reasonable doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue of fact should be resolved against the moving party. AiletroPCS, Inc. v. City & County of S.F, 400 F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). Where different ultimate inferences may be drawn, summary judgment is inappropriate. Sankovich v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 638 F.2d 136, 140 (9th Cir. 1981) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)).

Deference to the non-moving party has limits. The non-moving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position [is] insufficient." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). Where "the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation omitted).

DISCUSSION

A. PLAINTIff's ...


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