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Hacker v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division

February 17, 2015

JOHN C. HACKER, III, Plaintiff,
v.
DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [24]

DAVID O. CARTER, District Judge.

Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion") filed by Defendants, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for The Pooling and Servicing Agreement Dated as of November 1, 2006 Securitized Asset Backed Receivables LLC Trust 2006-FR4 ("Deutsche Bank"), and Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC ("Ocwen") (Dkt. 24). Counsel for Deutsche Bank and Ocwen appeared at the hearing. No appearance was made on behalf of Plaintiff. After considering the relevant briefings and oral argument, the Court hereby GRANTS the Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

In this case, Plaintiff John C. Hacker asserted claims against Defendants related to the foreclosure of his residence. Plaintiff's sole remaining claim is that Deutsche Bank and Ocwen (collectively, "Defendants") violated California's Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code ยง 17200) ("UCL") by failing to timely respond to Plaintiff's Qualified Written Request ("QWR") as required under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). The following facts are taken from Defendants' Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts ("SUF").

A. Plaintiff's Loan Default and QWR to Ocwen

Prior to the foreclosure of Plaintiff's residence, the loan servicer, HomEq Servicing, offered Plaintiff a proposed Loan Forbearance Agreement (the "Agreement"). SUF # 13. Plaintiff admits signing the Agreement on May 25, 2010. SUF # 13. The Agreement provides that Plaintiff was required to pay $1, 889.72 in July, August and September 2010, followed by a payment of $43, 169.99 in October 2010. SUF # 14. Plaintiff never made the $43, 169.99 payment in October 2010. SUF # 16. Because Plaintiff failed to comply with the specific terms of the Agreement, the loan was placed into default and was sold to a third party purchaser at a trustee's sale on February 10, 2011. SUF # 21.

On or about February 7, 2011, Ocwen (who was apparently the loan servicer at the time) received a QWR from Plaintiff. SUF # 17. On February 26, 2011, Ocwen sent Plaintiff an acknowledgement letter stating that Ocwen would respond to Plaintiff's letter within 60 days. SUF # 18. On April 13, 2011, Ocwen sent a letter responding to Plaintiff's QWR. SUF # 19.

B. Procedural Background

On October 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants and others in the Orange County Superior Court. Def. Request for Judicial Notice ("RJN"), Ex. 2 (Dkt. 28-2). On February 7, 2012, the superior court sustained a demurrer as to all claims asserted in the complaint. RJN, Ex. 3 (Dkt. 28-3). The court granted Plaintiff leave to amend only the UCL claim. Id. On February 27, 2012, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint only alleging a UCL claim. RJN, Ex. 1 (Dkt. 28-1) ("FAC"). On June 5, 2012, the superior court sustained Defendants' demurrer as to Plaintiff's UCL claim "without leave to amend as to every allegation except Plaintiff's alleged violation of [RESPA] as alleged under the unlawful' prong of [the UCL]." RJN, Ex. 7 (Dkt. 28-7). Defendants then removed the case to federal court. Notice of Removal (Dkt. 1).

On June 14, 2013, the parties submitted a joint motion to modify the Scheduling Order. Dkt. 16. The motion stated that "to date Plaintiff ha[d] failed to prosecute the claim due to an ongoing health condition." Id. As requested, the Court continued the trial date (and other dates). Dkt. 17.

On January 24, 2014, Defendants filed the present Motion. Dkt. 24. On January 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed (1) a motion requesting that the Court stay the proceedings for one year based on Plaintiff's medical condition and (2) a separate request for an extension of time to oppose Defendants' Motion. Dkt. 29, 31. On February 11, 2014, the Court vacated all scheduled dates and stayed the proceeding. Dkt. 35. The Court also ordered Plaintiff to file periodic, one-page status updates briefly explaining his condition as it relates to his ability to prosecute this action. Id.

At a status conference held on September 8, 2014, the Court lifted the stay. Dkt. 42. The Court later set a hearing date of February 17, 2015, for Defendants' previously filed motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 46.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is proper 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). Summary judgment is to be granted cautiously, with due respect for a party's right to have its factually grounded claims and defenses tried to a jury. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The court must view the facts and draw inferences in the manner most favorable to the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); Chevron Corp. v. Pennzoil Co., 974 F.2d 1156, 1161 (9th Cir. 1992). The moving party ...


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