The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S VERIFIED COMPLAINT FILED JUNE 4, 2012
Before the Court is Defendants Onewest Bank FSB ("Onewest") and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation's ("FHLMC", collectively "Defendants") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Verified Complaint Filed June 4, 2012 ("Motion"), filed on August 1, 2012. Plaintiffs Samrit Ounyoung and Ailyn T. Ounyoung ("Plaintiffs") filed their memorandum in opposition on October 15, 2012, and Defendants filed their reply on October 22, 2012. This matter came on for hearing on November 7, 2012. Appearing on behalf of Defendants was Charles Prather, Esq., and appearing on behalf of Plaintiffs was Erika Hunter, Esq. After careful consideration of the Motion, supporting and opposing memoranda, and the arguments of counsel, Defendants' Motion is HEREBY GRANTED for the reasons set forth below.
Plaintiffs filed their verified complaint in this action ("Complaint") on June 4, 2012. According to the Complaint, on January 29, 2012, Plaintiffs executed a Note and Mortgage in favor of Indymac Bank FSB ("Indymac") for 76-6209 Leone Place, Kailua Kona, Hawai`i 96740 ("Property"). [Complaint at ¶¶ 12, 16.]
Plaintiffs state that, as of January 9, 2009, they were "continu[ing] to correspond with INDYMAC BANK as to getting a modification in order to stay in their home." [Id. at ¶ 18.] On or around September 14, 2009, Onewest filed a Notice of Mortgagee's Intention to Foreclose Under Power of Sale ("Foreclosure Notice") with the Bureau of Conveyances. The Foreclosure Notice identified Onewest as the mortgagor. [Id. at ¶¶ 19, 23.] Plaintiffs allege that, at the time Onewest filed the Foreclosure Notice and when Onewest held the foreclosure sale on March 23, 2011, Plaintiffs were "in the process of applying and awaiting the results of a loan modification . . . ." [Id. at ¶¶ 13, 21.] Indymac allegedly assured Plaintiffs that "the non-judicial foreclosure action would be held in abeyance pending the modification efforts," but Onewest sold the Property to itself and then deeded it to FHLMC. [Id. at ¶ 26.] An Affidavit of Foreclosure was filed on April 5, 2011, and FHLMC initiated an ejectment action in a state district court on August 25, 2011.
The state district court granted summary judgment in favor of FHLMC. [Id. at ¶ VI.]
Plaintiffs allege that Indymac "never sold, transferred, or granted his Note or Mortgage to Defendant" and that Onewest "failed to provide any evidence to verify the owner and amount of Plaintiff's Mortgage or validate the claim to Plaintiff's debt obligation." [Id. at ¶ 17.] Plaintiffs do not assert that they are parties or beneficiaries to the purported assignment from Indymac to Onewest, but they argue that, because there was no assignment, Onewest cannot claim any interest in the Property. [Id. at ¶ 20.] Plaintiffs argue that Onewest's collection of Plaintiffs' mortgage payments and Onewest's foreclosure on the Property are illegal and deceptive. [Id. at ¶ 24.] Plaintiffs also argue, in their background allegations, that Onewest's foreclosure process violated Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 667-5 through 667-10. Thus, Plaintiffs contend that the power of sale, the Foreclosure Affidavit, and the foreclosure deed are void. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants knew they were not acting on behalf of the current beneficiary of the Note and Mortgage. [Id. at ¶¶ 27-37.]
Plaintiffs allege that they relied on Onewest's or its servicer's misrepresentations and that they have suffered damages, including inter alia having the title to their home clouded and rendered unmarketable and losing their home in a non- judicial foreclosure sale and an ejectment action. [Id. at ¶ 21.] Plaintiffs also argue that FHLMC filed the ejectment action in a state district court that did not have jurisdiction to determine issues of title. [Id. at ¶ 39.] Plaintiffs state that they have "offered to and [are] ready, willing and able to unconditionally tender [their] obligation." [Id. at ¶ 47.]
The Complaint alleges the following claims: claims for declaratory and injunctive relief to quiet title and determine the status of Defendants' interest, if any, in the Property ("Count I"); violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., ("Count II"); and accounting ("Count III"). Plaintiffs seek the following relief: compensatory, special, and general damages; punitive and exemplary damages; an order compelling Defendants to remove any cloud on Plaintiffs' title to the Property; an order determining that Defendants have no legal rights to the Property, the Note, or the Mortgage; a restraining order preventing Defendants from instituting any action against the Property during the pendency of this case; disgorgement of the amounts Defendants wrongfully took from Plaintiffs, plus interest; attorneys' fees and costs; and any other appropriate relief.
In the instant Motion, Defendants first argue that the portion of Count I seeking declaratory relief improperly seeks review of past wrongs which allegedly occurred during the underlying non-judicial foreclosure action. They also note that, in this district, it is well-settled that a claim for injunctive relief cannot stand on its own. [Mem. in Supp. of Motion at 3-4.] As to the portion of Count I alleging quiet title, Defendants argue that, in order to bring such a claim, a plaintiff "must allege that he or she has 'satisfied their obligations under the deed of trust.'" [Id. at 4-5 (quoting Wagner v. Aurora Loan Servicing, 2011 WL 6819041, at *12 (D. Haw. Dec. 27, 2011)).] Defendants therefore argue that this Court must dismiss Count I.
As to Count II, Defendants argue that the claim is limited to actions associated with the non-judicial foreclosure, and this district court has recognized that a non-judicial foreclosure is not an attempt to collect a debt. [Id. at 5 (quoting Soriano v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2012 WL 1536065, at *9 (D. Haw. Apr. 30, 2012)).] Defendants therefore argue that this Court must dismiss Count II.
As to Count III, Defendants argue that there is no legal basis for a claim for an accounting because there is no allegation in the Complaint that there was a confidential or trust relationship between Plaintiffs and Defendants, nor is there any allegation that an accounting is necessary because there is no adequate remedy at law. [Id. at 5-6 (quoting Lee v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 2012 WL 2467085, at *7 (D. Haw. June 27, 2012)).] Defendants therefore argue that this Court must dismiss Count III.
II. Memorandum in Opposition
In their memorandum in opposition, Plaintiffs first argue that, if this Court dismisses Plaintiffs' claims for declaratory and injunctive relief as mere requests for relief which are duplicative other causes of action, this Court must allow Plaintiffs to amend their Complaint to allege a claim for wrongful foreclosure in violation of Haw. Rev. Stat. § 667-5. They assert that the Complaint contains sufficient factual allegations to sustain a wrongful foreclosure claim, and Plaintiffs emphasize that Hawai`i case law requires strict compliance with the requirements of § 667-5. Plaintiffs state that they have properly ...