United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(IN CHAMBERS) - DEFENDANTS NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC, AND U.S.
BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. 11,
filed June 6, 2017)
FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION TO
DISMISS (Dkt. 16, filed June 6, 2017)
Court finds these motions appropriate for decision without
oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; CD. Cal. L.R.
7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of July 10, 2017 is
vacated, and the matters are hereby taken under submission.
15, 2017, plaintiff Martin Pearson filed this action against
defendants U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee for
Greenpoint Mortgage Funding Trust Mortgage Pass-Through
Certificates, Series 2007-AR1 ("U.S. Bank"); First
American Title Insurance Company ("First
American"); and Nationstar Mortgage, LLC
("Nationstar"). Dkt. 1 ("Compl.").
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, asserts claims for violation of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, cancellation of
instruments, and violation of California Business &
Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq.
6, 2017, Nationstar and U.S. Bank, and First American filed
motions to dismiss plaintiff s complaint. Dkts. 11, 16.
Plaintiff has not filed oppositions (due on June 19, 2017),
and defendants have not filed replies (due on June 26, 2017).
bottom, plaintiff contests the validity of nonjudicial
foreclosure proceedings against the property located at 1168
Deborah Street, Upland, CA ("Subject Property").
This is not the first time that plaintiff has brought a
similar action against Nationstar, U.S. Bank, and related
February 5, 2014, plaintiff filed an adversary proceeding
complaint in U.S. Bankruptcy Court against Nationstar and
U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for Greenpoint
Mortgage Funding Trust. Plaintiff asserted causes of action
for declaratory relief, negligence, quasi contract, violation
of 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., violation of 12
U.S.C. § 2605, violation of the UCL, violation of the
California Homeowner's Bill of Rights ("HBOR"),
and accounting. On April 22, 2014, the Bankruptcy Court
declined to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiffs
April 25, 2014, plaintiff filed an action in San Bernardino
Superior Court against Nationstar ("the State Court
Action"). In his state court complaint, plaintiff
asserted two causes of action for quiet title pursuant to
California Civil Code § 760.020 and violation of the
HBOR. Each of these causes of action challenged
Nationstar's right to foreclose on the subject property.
On August 15, 2014, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint
("FAC") in the State Court Action alleging the same
causes of action as his original complaint. On September 12,
2014, Nationstar filed a demurrer to plaintiffs FAC, and on
April 23, 2015, the demurrer was heard and sustained without
leave to amend. On May 1, 2015, judgment was entered against
plaintiff and in favor of Nationstar. On June 11, 2015, the
State Court Action was dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiff
did not timely appeal the dismissal of the State Court
24, 2016 plaintiff filed an action (the "2016
Action") against Nationstar and Greenpoint Mortgage
Funding in this Court, challenging Nationstar's right to
foreclose on the Subject Property. See Pearson I,
dkt. 1. On July 18, 2016, the Court dismissed with prejudice
plaintiffs May 24, 2016 complaint as against Nationstar
pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata. Pearson I,
2016 WL 3922626, at *5. The Court found that, in both the
State Court and 2016 Actions, "plaintiff allege[d] that
Nationstar lack[ed] the ability to enforce any interest under
his Deed of Trust and thereby foreclose on the Subject
Property" and both actions "raise[d] virtually the
same facts, cite[ed] and append[ed] the same mortgage
documents, and involve[d] the same property." IcL On
September 26, 2016, the Court denied plaintiffs motion for
default judgment against Greenpoint because res judicata also
barred plaintiffs claims against Greenpoint, which could have
been raised in the State Court Action. Pearson I,
2016 WL 5496268, at *3. The Court thus dismissed plaintiffs
claims against Greenpoint with prejudice. Id. at *6.
Local Rule 7-12, "[t]he failure to file any required
document, or the failure to file it within the deadline, may
be deemed consent to the granting or denial of the
motion." CD. Cal. L.R. 7-12. "Although we construe
pleadings liberally in their favor, pro se litigants are
bound by the rules of procedure." Ghazali v.
Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam)
(holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion
by granting an unopposed motion to dismiss under the local
rule because the pro se litigant's failure to oppose
constituted consent to granting the motion); Holt v.
IRS, 231 Fed.App'x. 557, at *1 (9th Cir. 2007)
(same, and rejecting the pro se litigant's contention
that the district court should have warned her of the
consequences of failing to file an opposition). Accordingly,
plaintiffs failure to file oppositions to the instant motions
provides independent grounds for granting the defendants'
motions to dismiss.
addition, the Court again finds that plaintiffs claims are
barred by the doctrine of res judicata. "Res judicata,
or claim preclusion, prohibits lawsuits on any claims that
were raised or could have been raised in a prior
action." Stewart v. U.S. Bancorp, 297 F.3d 953,
956 (9th Cir. 2002) (quotation marks omitted). "The res
judicata effect of a state court judgment is governed by the
laws of the state in which the court is located."
McGinest v. GTE Service Corp.. 247 Fed.App'x.
72, 74 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Palomar Mobilehome Park
Ass'n v. City of San Marcos. 989 F.2d 362, 364 (9th
Cir. 1993) ("The Full Faith and Credit Act. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1738, requires that we give the same preclusive effect
to a state-court judgment as another court of that state
would give.") (quotation marks omitted). California
courts apply res judicata when "[(1)] the claim relates
to the same 'primary right' as a claim in a prior
action, [(2)] the prior judgment was final and on the merits,
and [(3)] the plaintiff was a party or in privity with a
party in the prior action." Trujillo v. Santa Clara
County, 775 F.2d 1359, 1366 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing
Slater v. Blackwood. 15 Cal.3d 791, 795 (1975)).
two actions involve the same injury to the plaintiff and the
same wrong by the defendant then the same primary right is at
stake even if in the second suit the plaintiff pleads
different theories of recovery, seeks different forms of
relief and/or adds new facts supporting recovery."
Eichman v. Fotomat Corp., 147 Cal.App.3d 1170, 1174
(1983) (citations omitted). As in the State Court Action
and the 2016 Action, plaintiff again alleges that
defendants lack the ability to enforce any interest under his
Deed of Trust and thereby foreclose on the Subject Property.
Compl. at 20. Moreover, both the State Court Action, the 2016
Action, and the instant action raise virtually the same
facts, cite and append the same mortgage documents, and
involve the same property. Accordingly, plaintiffs prior
action and the instant action are derived from the same
primary right. See Rodriguez v. Bank of New York,
No. 13-cv-1830-GPC-BLM, 2014 WL 229274, at *6 (S.D. Cal. Jan.
17, 2014) ("Plaintiffs new claims in this Court arise
from the same foreclosure process and documents as the state
court actions and therefore arise out of the same primary
other two elements of res judicata are also satisfied. The
State Court Action resulted in a final judgment dismissing
the action with prejudice and the time to appeal has expired.
Seedkt. 13, Request for Judicial Notice ("RJN"),
Exs. 10, 12-13. Both the instant action and the prior state
action named Nationstar as a defendant. RJN, Ex. 10. While
U.S. Bank and First American were not named in the State
Court Action, that does not preclude the application of res
judicata to plaintiffs claims against them. Plaintiffs claims
against U.S. Bank and First American "could have
been raised" in the State Court Action.
Stewart, 297 F.3d at 956. Furthermore, defendants
are in privity. Privity may be established by "a mutual
or successive relationship to the same rights of property, or
to such an identification in interest of one person with
another as to represent the same legal rights."
Citizens for Open Access to Sand & Tide, Inc. v.
Seadrift Ass'n. 60 Cal.App.4th 1053, 1069 (1998);
see also Armstrong v. Armstrong, 544 P.2d 941, 946
(Cal. 1976) ("[P]rivity exists where the person involved
is ... so identified in interest with another that he
represents the same legal right.") (quotation marks
omitted). Nationstar, U.S. Bank, and First American are in a
mutual relationship with respect to the Subject Property
because they received sequential assignments of the Deed of
Trust ("DOT") for the Subject Property, see RJN,
Exs. 1, 2, 5, 7, and their respective interests in the DOT
and Subject Property form the basis of this action. See
Janson v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., 2015 WL
1250092, at *10 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 18, 2015) (privity
requirement satisfied where "Plaintiff [sued] all of the
Defendants because of their relationship to his
mortgage"); O'Connor v. Nationstar Mortgage.
LLC. 2014 WL 1779338, at *8 ("Nationstar obtained
an assignment of the deed of trust to the property from