The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted MoskowitzUnited States District Judge
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND LIS PENDENS AND FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION SETTING HEARING ON MOTION
Plaintiff Luz E. Gomez has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to enjoin Defendants from selling her home at a trustee's sale scheduled for November 3, 2011. Plaintiff also seeks an order for a lis pendens. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.
On August 27, 2004, Plaintiff and her husband borrowed $339,375.00 from World Savings Bank, FSB. (Request for Judicial Notice in support of Motion to Dismiss (RJN), Ex. A.) The loan was secured by a Deed of Trust on property located at 132 E. Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910 (the "Property"). (RJN, Ex. B.) The Deed of Trust identifies the "Lender" as "World Savings Bank, FSB, its successors and/or assignees." (Id.) The Deed of Trust identifies the Trustee as "Golden West Savings Association Service Co." (Id.)
On December 31, 2007, World Savings Bank, FSB changed its name to "Wachovia Mortgage, FSB." (RJN, Ex. G.). Effective November 1, 2009, Wachovia Mortgage, FSB changed its name to "Wells Fargo Bank Southwest, N.A.," and merged into Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (RJN, Ex. I.)
On December 7, 2009, a Notice of Default was recorded. (RJN, Ex. C.) The Notice of Default was issued by Cal-Western Reconveyance Corporation, as "either the original trustee, the duly appointed substituted trustee, or acting as agent for the trustee or beneficiary under a deed of trust." The notice informed Plaintiff and her husband that they were in default in the amount of $8,556.22, and explained that payments should be made to "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., also known as Wachovia Mortgage, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and formerly known as Wachovia Mortgage, FSB, formerly known as World Savings Bank, FSB."
In a Substitution of Trustee, recorded on April 1, 2011, Wells Fargo (by Cal-Western as Attorney in Fact) substituted Cal-Western as the Trustee. (RJN, Ex. D.) The form was notarized on August 18, 2010, but indicates that the "effective date" is December 3, 2009.
On April 14, 2011, a Notice of Trustee's Sale was recorded. (RJN Ex. E.) The notice, which was signed by Cal-Western Reconveyance Corporation, set the sale for May 5, 2011.
On August 17, 2011, Plaintiff commenced this action in state court. Defendants Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and Golden West Savings Association Service Co., removed the case to federal court. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss and motion to strike, which are set for hearing on December 2, 2011.
A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order must establish that (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in his favor; and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 555 U.S. 7, 129 S. Ct. 365, 374 (2008).
The Ninth Circuit has held that the "sliding scale" approach to preliminary injunctions survives Winter when applied as part of the four-element Winter test. Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1131 (9th Cir. 2011). In other words, "'serious questions going to the merits' and a balance of hardships that tips sharply towards the plaintiff can support issuance of a preliminary injunction, so long as the plaintiff also shows that there is a likelihood of irreparable injury and that the injunction is in the public interest." Id. at 1135.
Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order is premised on Plaintiff's claim that neither Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"), nor Cal-Western Reconveyance Corporation ("Cal-Western"), had standing to initiate non-judicial foreclosure proceedings against the Property. As discussed ...