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Morris v. Northwest Trustee Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 30, 2014

LEE W. MORRIS and DOROTHY J. MORRIS, individuals, Plaintiffs,
v.
NORTHWEST TRUSTEE SERVICES, INC., a Washington state profit corporation; JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., a nationally chartered bank and by purchase a/k/a WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, FA, a federal savings bank, Defendants.

Thomas H. Cutler, HARRIS BERNE CHRISTENSEN LLP, 5000 S.W. Meadows Road, Suite 400, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. Of Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

Michael J. Farrell and Bruce C. Hamlin, MARTIN BISCHOFF TEMPLETON LANGSLET & HOFFMAN LLP, 888 S.W. Fifth Avenue, Suite 900, Portland, OR 97204. Of Attorneys for Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

John M. Thomas, RCO Legal, P.C., 511 S.W. Tenth Avenue, Suite 400, Portland, OR 97205. Of Attorneys for Defendant Northwest Trustee Services, Inc.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

Plaintiffs, Lee W. Morris and Dorothy J. Morris, filed suit in state court against Defendants Northwest Trustee Services, Inc. ("NWTS") and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("Chase") seeking: (1) declaratory relief invalidating the non-judicial foreclosure sale of their property and quieting title in favor of Plaintiffs; and (2) injunctive relief enjoining Defendants from proceeding with any action to dispossess Plaintiffs of their property. Defendants timely removed this case to federal court. Both Defendants now move for summary judgment against Plaintiffs' claims. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are granted.

STANDARDS

A party is entitled to summary judgment if the "movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Clicks Billiards Inc. v. Sixshooters Inc., 251 F.3d 1252, 1257 (9th Cir. 2001). Although "[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge... ruling on a motion for summary judgment, " the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is] insufficient...." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 255 (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 and quotation marks omitted).

BACKGROUND

In February 2006, Plaintiffs obtained a loan (the "Loan") originated by Washington Mutual Bank, FA, ("WaMu") and signed a promissory note (the "Note") secured by a trust deed (the "Deed of Trust") to purchase their home in Washington County, Oregon. The Deed of Trust identified WaMu as both the lender and the beneficiary. In September 2008, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized WaMu and sold its assets to Chase. Chase currently holds the Note, which is endorsed in blank. Chase appointed NWTS as trustee of Plaintiff's loan in March 2009.

In August 2008, Plaintiffs defaulted on their loan by failing to make the required monthly mortgage payments. A notice of default was recorded on August 17, 2011. The notice of default named Chase as the beneficiary on the loan. Plaintiffs do not dispute that they were served with the statutorily-required notice of foreclosure. Plaintiffs' home was sold at a foreclosure sale on January 11, 2012. More than four months later, on June 4, 2012, Plaintiffs filed this action.

DISCUSSION

A. Judicial Notice

Defendants move for judicial notice of multiple documents related to Plaintiffs' foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings. Plaintiffs did not file any opposition to Defendants' request for judicial notice. Because the documents about which Defendants seek judicial notice are part of the public record and their accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned, judicial notice is proper. See Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); see also Santa Monica Food Not Bombs v. City of Santa Monica, 450 F.3d 1022, 1025 n.2 (9th Cir. 2006) (facts contained in public records are ...


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