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Manikan v. Pacific Ridge Neighborhood Homeowners Association

United States District Court, S.D. California

March 29, 2018

VINCENT MANIKAN, Plaintiff,
v.
PACIFIC RIDGE NEIGHBORHOOD HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION; N.N. JAESCHKE, INC.; et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS

          Hon. Roger T. Benitez United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is the motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint filed by Defendants Pacific Ridge Neighborhood Homeowners Association and N.N. Jaeschke, Inc. (Docket No. 26.) The motion is fully briefed. For the reasons that follow, the Moving Defendants' motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Vincent Manikan is the owner of real property in San Diego, California. Defendant Pacific Ridge Homeowners Association (“Pacific Ridge”) is a homeowner's association; Plaintiff's real property is located within Pacific Ridge's area. Defendant N.N. Jaeschke (“Jaeschke”) is a property management company Pacific Ridge engages to manage its properties, including collection of homeowner's dues.

         On July 20, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California.[2] Plaintiff scheduled a claim held by Pacific Ridge for $3, 047.04 in alleged arrears. According to Plaintiff's Initial Chapter 13 Plan (“Chapter 13 Plan”), the entire amount of Pacific Ridge's claim would be paid, and Plaintiff would thereafter remain current on his homeowner's dues.

         On September 4, 2012, the Bankruptcy Court issued an order confirming Plaintiff's Chapter 13 Plan. On June 20, 2013, Jaeschke, as a collection agent for Pacific Ridge, filed a Proof of Claim in the Bankruptcy Court, which represented the true amount of arrears Plaintiff owed to Pacific Ridge at the time Plaintiff filed his bankruptcy case was $2, 978.24. Subsequently, on March 17, 2014, Jaeschke (on behalf of Pacific Ridge) advised Plaintiff's Chapter 13 Trustee in writing that Plaintiff's arrears had been fully paid, and requested the Trustee not forward any additional payments.

         In response to Jaeschke's correspondence, Plaintiff's Chapter 13 Trustee filed a “Notice of Intent to Reconsider and Re-Allow Proof of Claim, ” which certified that the true pre-bankruptcy petition amount owed by Plaintiff to Jaeschke (on behalf of Pacific Ridge) was $2, 277.10. On November 24, 2015, the Plaintiff's Chapter 13 Trustee filed a “Notice of Final Cure Payment and Completion of Payments Under the Plan.” This Notice advised Jaeschke that Plaintiff's Chapter 13 Trustee had paid it the full amount of Pacific Ridge's claim against Plaintiff in the amount of $2, 277.10.

         Post-bankruptcy, Plaintiff has made all payments owed to Pacific Ridge. However, sometime before September 6, 2016, Pacific Ridge incorrectly determined Plaintiff owed $2, 597.04 in Homeowner's Dues, and referred Plaintiff's account to Jaeschke and Defendant Peters & Freedman, LLP (“P&F”)[3] for collection, including initiation of a nonjudicial foreclosure on Plaintiff's real property based on the erroneously alleged arrears for $2, 597.04. On behalf of Pacific Ridge and Jaeschke, and with their knowledge and consent, P&F retained Defendant Advanced Attorney Services, Inc. (“AAS”), a registered process server that engages in attorney support services, including debt collection.

         On September 2, 2016, AAS employee Dakotah Douglas (“Douglas”) entered Plaintiff's backyard by pushing open and breaking Plaintiff's closed gate, ultimately causing an estimated $1, 218 in damage to the gate and its surrounding posts and windows. Douglas proceeded around the side of Plaintiff's backyard and began forcefully banging on Plaintiff's kitchen window, which scared Plaintiff's cousin, who phoned 911 and called for Plaintiff, who was upstairs at the time.

         Plaintiff rushed downstairs and saw Douglas banging on the kitchen window. Plaintiff was unable to understand what Douglas was saying through the glass, and became fearful that Douglas was attempting a break-in and would physically harm Plaintiff and his family. Douglas then moved from outside the kitchen window and further around Plaintiff's backyard before banging loudly on a bedroom window, which woke up and frightened Plaintiff's mother who had been resting in the room.

         Around this time, the police started to arrive, which prompted Douglas to run to the front yard. When the police arrived at Plaintiff's property, Plaintiff opened his door and heard Douglas explain to the police that he had been hired to serve Plaintiff with a Notice of Default on behalf of Pacific Ridge. Douglas then provided Plaintiff with a copy of the Notice of Default from Pacific Ridge. The Notice of Default had a stamped recordation date of April 9, 2012, citing a balance owed as of April 9, 2012, and stated that it was from P&F at the direction of Pacific Ridge and Jaeschke.

         On September 6, 2016, Plaintiff called P&F to explain that he had previously repaid all pre-bankruptcy arrears to Pacific Ridge. P&F's representative, “Marcella, ” explained that “according to her records, the balance provided to [P&F] by [Jaeschke] on behalf of [Pacific Ridge]” was accurate and that Plaintiff was in arrears in the amount of $2, 597.04.

         On February 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint in the San Diego Superior Court alleging violations of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“Rosenthal Act”).[4] (Docket No. 1-2.) On March 7, 2017, Plaintiff's action was removed to this Court. (Docket No. 1.) On July 21, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint to add a new defendant (AAS) and assert a new claim for trespass. (Docket No. 21.) On July 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). (Docket No. 22.) Pacific Ridge and Jaeschke (“Moving Defendants”) now seek dismissal of the claims asserted against them in the FAC pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         LEGAL ...


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