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Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, As v. Leigafoalii Tafue Williams

March 29, 2012

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE MORGAN STANLEY ABS CAPITAL I INC. TRUST 2007-NC1 MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES,
SERIES 2007-NC1,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEIGAFOALII TAFUE WILLIAMS, FKA LEIGAFOALII TAFUE KOEHNEN; PAPU CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS; REAL TIME RESOLUTIONS, INC.; CAROLYN RUTH KOEHNEN, AS TRUSTEE OF THE CAROLYN R. KOEHNEN REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST U/A, DATED APRIL 14, 1986; AND JOHN DOES 1-5, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Michael Seabright United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS WILLIAMSES' MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FILED 10/20/11, DOC. NO. 13

I. INTRODUCTION

On October 20, 2011, Plaintiff Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2007-NC1 Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-NC1 ("Plaintiff" or "Deutsche Bank") filed this foreclosure action against Leigafoalii Tafue Williams, fka Leigafoalii Tafue Koehnen ("Lei Williams") and Papu Christopher Williams ("Papu Williams") (collectively, the "Williamses"); Real Time Resolutions, Inc. ("Real Time"); and Carolyn Ruth Koehnen, as Trustee of the Carolyn R. Koehnen Revocable Living Trust U/A, dated April 14, 1986 ("Koehnen"). Plaintiff asserts that it is holder of a Mortgage and Note on real property located at 45 Lama Street, Hilo, Hawaii 96720 (the "subject property") and that Lei Williams, the mortgagor, defaulted such that Plaintiff is entitled to foreclose.

Currently before the court is the Williamses' Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), in which they argue, among other things,*fn1 that Plaintiff has no standing to foreclose because it has not established that it was validly assigned the Mortgage and Note. Based on the following, the court agrees that Plaintiff has not established its standing to foreclose and therefore GRANTS the Williamses' Motion to Dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

As alleged in the Complaint, on August 17, 2006, Lei Williams entered into a mortgage transaction with Home 123 Corporation ("Home 123") for $280,000, secured by the subject property.*fn2 Compl. ¶¶ 10-11. Although the mortgage requires the lender's written consent prior to the transfer of any legal or beneficial interest in the subject property, on October 31, 2007 Lei Williams conveyed the subject property to herself and Papu Williams as tenants by the entirety without written notice to the lender. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

The Complaint asserts that by instrument dated January 13, 2009 and recorded in the State of Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances on January 21, 2009, the Mortgage and Note were assigned from Home 123 to Plaintiff. See id. ¶ 14; Compl. Ex. 4. Lei Williams has allegedly failed to pay the Note in accordance with its terms, resulting in her owing $358,409.37 as of October 1, 2011. Compl. ¶ 19. Plaintiff therefore asserts that it is entitled to foreclose on the Mortgage and, if appropriate, obtain a deficiency judgment. Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff further asserts that Lei Williams' transfer of the subject property to Papu Williams and herself as tenants by the entirety was fraudulent and should be voided to the extent necessary to satisfy the amounts due and owing under the Mortgage and Note. Id. ¶¶ 25-27.

B. Procedural Background

On October 20, 2011, Plaintiff filed this action asserting claims for breach of contract and fraudulent transfer.

On December 19, 2011, the Williamses filed their Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on February 13, 2012, and the Williamses filed a Reply on February 7, 2012. A hearing was held on March 27, 2012.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes a court to dismiss claims over which it lacks proper subject matter jurisdiction.

A Rule 12(b)(1) jurisdictional attack is either facial (attacking the sufficiency of the complaint's allegations to invoke federal jurisdiction) or factual (disputing the truth of the allegations of the complaint). Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). In a factual attack "[w]here the jurisdictional issue is separable from the merits of the case, the judge may consider the evidence presented with respect to the jurisdictional issue and rule on that issue, resolving factual disputes if necessary." Thornhill Publ'g Co., Inc. v. Gen. Tel. & Elecs. Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979). In such case, "no presumptive truthfulness attaches to ...


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