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Rowe v. Naiman

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 15, 2014

VERONICA J. ROWE, Plaintiff,
v.
RANDALL D. NAIMAN, ESQ., STATE BAR NUMBER 81048, and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER STAYING CASE PENDING APPEAL AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AS MOOT [9]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

In June 2012, nonparty Homesales, Inc. purchased Plaintiff Veronica J. Rowe's residence at a trustee's sale. On April 25, 2014, she filed this action against Defendant Randall D. Naiman, Homesales's counsel, who she alleges used forged and fraudulent documents in the subsequent unlawful-detainer action brought against her. Naiman moves to dismiss Rowe's Complaint because her claims have already been adjudicated in state court. For the reasons discussed below, the Court STAYS this case pending appeal and DENIES AS MOOT Naiman's Motion to Dismiss.[1] (ECF No. 9.)

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Rowe's Complaint arises from a nonjudicial foreclosure brought by third-party Homesales, Inc., against Rowe. (Compl. ¶¶ 16-20; RJN Ex. A.) Naiman was not involved in the foreclosure but was Homesales's counsel in the post-foreclosure unlawful-detainer action. ( Id. )

In the underlying unlawful-detainer action, Homesales brought a motion for summary judgment against Rowe. (RJN Ex. B.) Rowe opposed the motion, arguing that Naiman fraudulently forged and filed documents and declarations in the action. ( Id. Ex. C.) The court entered judgment for Homesales and against Rowe on March 11, 2014. (RJN Ex. B.) Rowe filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. ( Id. Ex. B)

On April 11, 2014, Rowe filed a notice of appeal with the Los Angeles County Superior Court's Appellate Division. ( Id. ) That appeal is currently pending.

On April 25, 2014, Rowe filed this federal action against Naiman. (ECF No. 1.) What is discernable from Rowe's pro se Complaint sounds in fraud; she alleges that Naiman "used forged and fraudulent documents in the unlawful detainer court to have the Summary Judgment and, [sic] a request for Writ of Possession issued." (Compl. ¶ 7.) All of Rowe's claims against Naiman arises from his legal representation of Homesales in the underlying unlawful-detainer action.[2]

On May 20, 2014, Defendant Randall Naiman filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Veronica Rowe's Complaint. (ECF No. 9.) Naiman moves to dismiss Rowe's Complaint under Younger abstention, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the doctrine of res judicata, the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, and California's litigation privilege. ( Id. )

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for lack of a cognizable legal theory or insufficient facts pleaded to support an otherwise cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To survive a dismissal motion, a complaint need only satisfy the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)-a short and plain statement of the claim. Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003). The factual "allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). That is, the complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

The determination whether a complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. A court is generally limited to the pleadings and must construe all "factual allegations set forth in the complaint... as true and... in the light most favorable" to the plaintiff. Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). But a court need not blindly accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001).

As a general rule, a court should freely give leave to amend a complaint that has been dismissed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). But a court may deny leave to amend when "the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency." Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 ...


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