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Sakuma v. Association of Apartment Owners of Tropics at Waikele

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 28, 2016

PATSY NAOMI SAKUMA, Plaintiff,
v.
ASSOCIATION OF APARTMENT OWNERS OF THE TROPICS AT WAIKELE, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER GRANTING (1) PORTER MCGUIRE KIAKONA & CHOW, LLP'S MOTION TO DISMISS; (2) JAMES S. KOMETANI'S MOTION TO DISMISS; (3) FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK AND WATANABE ING LLP'S MOTION TO DISMISS; AND (4) MILTON M. MOTOOKA, MOTOOKA YAMAMOTO & REVERE, LLP'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         In a continuing effort to collaterally attack the state court judicial foreclosure of her property, Plaintiff Patsy Naomi Sakuma again brings claims against the entities and individuals responsible for bringing that foreclosure about. Although her First Amended Complaint is at times difficult to decipher, Sakuma is evidently attempting to relitigate the prior state court foreclosure of her property and related actions, which both state and federal courts have already addressed, several times over. Because this Court is without the authority to re-open Sakuma's previously closed cases, and because her current claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Overview Of Prior Litigation

         On or about December 15, 1998, Sakuma entered into a Real Property Mortgage and Financing Statement (“Mortgage”) and Note to buy her home in the Tropics at Waikele, located at 94-1016 D Maiau Street, Waipahu, Hawaii 96797. The Mortgage was recorded in the Bureau of Conveyances as Document No. 98-194762 on December 29, 1998. FAC ¶ 53.

         Sakuma has spent the last fifteen years litigating with various defendants regarding the property.[1] Excluding the present action, there have been three federal lawsuits since 2001 in which Sakuma and the Tropics entities have opposed one another, including Sakuma v. AOAO Tropics at Waikele, Civil No. 01-CV-00556 DAE BMK; Tropics at Waikele v. Sakuma, Civil No. 02-00147 HG-LEK (“2002 Removed Action”); and Sakuma v. AOAO Tropics at Waikele, Civil No. 08-00502 HG-KSC. There have been three additional state lawsuits, including AOAO of Tropics at Waikele v. Sakuma, 1RC-05-1-006232; Association of Homeowners of Tropics at Waikele v. Sakuma et al., 1CC 07-1-00487 (“2007 Foreclosure Action”); and First Hawaiian Bank v. Sakuma et al., 1CC 11-1-001943.

         The Court briefly addresses this related prior litigation where pertinent to Sakuma's current action.

         A. 2001 Federal Action

         Sakuma sued the AOAO Tropics at Waikele (“AOAO”); Love Yamamoto & Motooka; and Hawaiiana Management Company over a dispute relating to the property, purportedly for “handicap discrimination” under the Fair Housing Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. § 3600 et seq. and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12131. See FAC Ex. GG (Docket Sheet in Sakuma v. AOAO Tropics at Waikele, Civil No. 01-CV-00556 DAE-BMK). The 2001 federal action was dismissed by stipulation and order on September 20, 2002 (Dkt. No. 53 in 01-CV-00556) together with another removed action (02-CV-00147 HG-LEK). Sakuma thereafter moved to amend the judgment (Dkt. Nos. 55 & 56 in 01-CV-00556). The district court denied that motion and Sakuma filed a notice of appeal. (Dkt. Nos. 68 & 69 in 01-CV-00556). After the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court (Dkt. No. 74 in 01-CV-00556), Sakuma filed another motion for relief from final judgment in the district court on January 26, 2005 (Dkt. No. 76 in 01-CV-00556). The district court again denied Sakuma's motion (Dkt. No. 93 in 01-CV-00556) and ordered Sakuma to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed (Dkt. No. 94 in 01-CV-00556). Sakuma appealed the district court's order denying her motion for relief from final judgment (Dkt. No. 103 in 01-CV-00556).

         On October 31, 2005, the district court imposed sanctions against Sakuma pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927 and the court's inherent power, and ordered her to pay to defendants' attorneys their fees incurred as a result of responding to Sakuma's motions (Dkt. Nos. 119 & 130 in 01-CV-00556). Sakuma appealed the award of attorneys' fees and costs on May 31, 2006 (Dkt. No. 131 in 01-CV-00556). The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling on December 12, 2006 (Dkt. No. 145 in 01-CV-00556). On June 25, 2007, the district court issued an order finding Sakuma in civil contempt for failure to pay the attorneys' fees and costs as previously ordered. (Dkt. No. 151 in 01-CV-00556). Sakuma appealed the contempt order on July 24, 2007 (Dkt. No. 159 in 01-CV-00556), which was then dismissed by the Ninth Circuit on January 14, 2009 (Dkt. No. 198 in 01-CV-00556).

         On September 5, 2007, Sakuma once again filed a motion for relief from the judgment and final order, and a motion for sanctions against defendants, their attorneys, and the attorneys' law firms (Dkt. No. 169 in 01-CV-00556). On September 27, 2007, the district court denied Sakuma's motion and entered a contempt and pre-filing screening order, directing as follows:

that Plaintiff, Patsy N. Sakuma, is permanently enjoined from filing motions in the instant case, CV NO. 01-00556 DAE/BMK, except to oppose the instant order of pre-filing screening, with good faith arguments, within 10 days of its filing. Subject to that limited exception, the Court shall screen all of Plaintiff's attempted filings in the instant case to determine whether they merit further review and whether they are proper for filing. ORDERS that Plaintiff must immediately comply with the Court's Contempt Order. . . . Upon non-compliance, Defendants may move the Court to order Plaintiff into custody until she complies or until further order of the Court, pursuant to the Contempt Order. Plaintiff may respond to such a motion, in good faith, if made.

Dkt. No. 172 in 01-CV-00556. Sakuma thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied (Dkt. Nos. 173 & 181 in 01-CV-00556), and a notice of appeal (Dkt. Nos. 183 & 186 in 01-CV-00556). The Ninth Circuit affirmed on January 14, 2009 (Dkt. No. 198 in 01-CV-00556).

         B. 2002 Removed Action

         In 2001, the AOAO sued Sakuma in state court (1RC-01-5514), which Sakuma removed to this court on March 8, 2002, entitled Tropics at Waikele v. Sakuma, Civil No. 02-00147 HG-LEK (“2002 Removed Action”). The case was dismissed with prejudice by stipulation and order on October 1, 2002 (Dkt. No. 10 in 02-CV-00147). Sakuma filed a notice of appeal on March 13, 2003, and the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal on April 10, 2003 (Dkt. Nos. 11 & 15 in 02-CV-00147).

         The 2002 Removed Action was globally settled with the 2001 Federal Action, 01-CV-00556. According to Sakuma, “because of material terms in conflict in the written Release and the oral settlement, Sakuma did not sign the Release.” FAC ¶ 58. She now alleges:

On or about October 1, 2002 the Removed Action was deemed settled pursuant to a Stipulation Of Dismissal with prejudice of all claims and parties as to the Complaint filed on August 16, 2001 as Civil No. 1RCOl-5514, which stipulation Sakuma refused to sign and by order of Judge Helen [Gillmor] the clerk of the court signed for Sakuma and for the release of the 2001 Lien, as part of the global settlement with the Main Federal Action.

FAC ¶ 59.

         Thereafter, the AOAO recorded a 2005 Notice of Lien for Unpaid Assessments (“2005 Lien”) at the Bureau of Conveyances (“BOC”) as Doc. 2005-0789021, see FAC Ex. Q. In 2005, the AOAO filed an action against Sakuma for unpaid homeowners fees, AOAO of Tropics at Waikele v. Sakuma, 1RC-05-1-006232, see FAC Ex. P, and judgment was granted in its favor on March 1, 2007. FAC ¶ 63.

         C. 2007 Foreclosure Action

         On August 17, 2007, the Association of Condominium Homeowners of Tropics at Waikele (“AOCH”) filed a judicial foreclosure action against Sakuma in the First Circuit Court, Civ. No. 07-1-1487 (“2007 Foreclosure Action”). The 2007 Foreclosure Action generated at least three appeals: CAAP No. 11-0000054, 12-0000145 and 12-0000870. FAC ¶¶ 64-65. On June 10, 2008, the Circuit Court entered a decree of foreclosure (“2008 Decree of Foreclosure”), and on January 22, 2009, denied Sakuma's October 6, 2008 motion for reconsideration of the court's September 23, 2008 order granting a motion to sell without open house. The Circuit Court thereafter granted the motion to confirm sale, and denied Sakuma's motion for reconsideration on February 10, 2011. Sakuma's subsequent appeals to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”) and Hawaii Supreme Court were dismissed or affirmed in favor of the AOAO and/or AOCH. Most recently, on January 21, 2016, the ICA issued a summary disposition order dismissing Sakuma's third appeal as moot, and denied Sakuma's motion for reconsideration on February 1, 2016. The ICA entered judgment on appeal on July 22, 2016 in CAAP No. 12-000870.

         D. 2008 ...


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