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Strategic Realty Fund, LLC v. Sarmiento

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 31, 2018

STRATEGIC REALTY FUND, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
AGAPITO H. SARMIENTO, JR; LINDA Y. SARMIENTO, PETER K. SARMIENTO; JOHN DOES 1-10, JANE DOES 1-10, DOE CORPORATIONS 1-10, DOE PARTNERSHIPS 1-10, DOE “NONPROFIT” CORPORATIONS 1-10, DOE ASSOCIATIONS 1-10, and DOE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES 1-10, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          LESLIE E. KOBAYASHI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Strategic Realty Fund, LLC's (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Summary Judgment (“Motion”), filed on February 7, 2018. [Dkt. no. 12.] On February 9, 2018, this Court issued an entering order directing Plaintiff to file a supplemental memorandum addressing whether all parties have been served. [Dkt. no. 15.] On February 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed its Supplemental Memorandum to the Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 12] Per Court's Order Directing Plaintiff to File a Supplemental Memorandum [Dkt. 15] (“Supplemental Memorandum”). [Dkt. no. 16.] Pro se Defendants Agapito H. Sarmiento, Jr., Linda Y. Sarmiento, and Peter K. Sarmiento (“Defendants”) have not filed a response to the Motion. On April 6, 2018, this Court issued an entering order: vacating the hearing on the Motion because Defendants had not filed their memorandum in opposition by the April 2, 2018 deadline; and informing the parties that the Motion will be considered as an unopposed, non-hearing matter. [Dkt. no. 17.] Plaintiff's Motion is hereby granted for the reasons set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 13, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint for Ejectment (“Complaint”) in state court. [Notice of Removal Under 28 USC, 1331 - 1446 (“Notice of Removal”), filed 11/2/17 (dkt. no. 1), Exh. 1.] Plaintiff asserts claims for ejectment (“Count I”) and trespass (“Count II”). In the instant Motion, Plaintiff seeks summary judgment as to Count I and summary judgment as to liability on Count II.

         Plaintiff acquired title to certain real property located at 247 Ainahou Place, Wailuku, Hawai`i 96793, described as Tax Map Key Number (2) 3-4-21:80 (“Property”) from Bank of America, N.A. (“BoA”) in a limited warranty deed (“Deed”) dated August 24, 2017 and recorded in the State of Hawai`i Bureau of Conveyances (“BOC”). [Pltf.'s Separate & Concise Statement of Facts in Supp. of Motion (“Pltf.'s CSOF”), filed 2/7/18 (dkt. no. 13), at ¶ 1.] Plaintiff “attempted to take possession of the Property soon after August 24, 2017 but could not because Defendants occupy and possess the Property.” [Id. at ¶ 2.]

         On March 4, 2013, BoA commenced a judicial foreclosure action in state court against Defendants regarding the Property (“Foreclosure Action”). [Id. at ¶ 3.] On June 25, 2014, the state court granted BoA's motion for summary judgment, insofar as it declared the mortgage foreclosed and ordered the Property to be sold at public auction. [Id. at ¶ 4.]

         BoA purchased the Property at the public auction for $326, 958.97. [Id. at ¶ 9.] On June 16, 2016, the state court issued an order: 1) confirming and ratifying the foreclosure sale of the Property to BoA; 2) declaring that Defendants have no right or interest in the Property; and 3) issuing a writ of possession (“6/16/16 State Court Order”).[1] [Id. at ¶ 5.] The state court entered a final judgment in the Foreclosure Action. [Id. at ¶ 6.] The state court ruled the foreclosure “sale was ‘legally made and fairly conducted.'” [Id. at ¶ 9 (quoting 6/16/16 State Court Order).] “BoA took title to the Property via a Commissioner's Deed dated June 15, 2017, ” which was recorded in the BOC on August 11, 2017. [Id. at ¶ 8.]

         “As of June 25, 2014, Defendants were in default under a mortgage and note held by BoA.” [Id. at ¶ 7.] The state court converted “all sums due and owing to BoA [into] liens on the Property to be paid at the date of closing of the foreclosure sale.” [Id.]

         Defendants have no landlord-tenant relationship with Plaintiff. [Id. at ¶ 13.]

         STANDARD

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a party is entitled to summary judgment “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In determining whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, a court must view the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving parties. Crowley v. Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 976 (9th Cir. 2013). This district court has stated:

Summary judgment must be granted against a party that fails to demonstrate facts to establish what will be an essential element at trial. See Celotex [Corp. v. Catrett], 477 U.S. [317, ] 323 [(1986)]. A moving party has both the initial burden of production and the ultimate burden of persuasion on a motion for summary judgment. Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000). The burden initially falls on the moving party to identify for the court “those portions of the materials on file that it believes demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of material fact.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323). “A fact is material if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing substantive law.” Miller [v. Glenn Miller Prods., Inc.], 454 F.3d [975, ] 987 [(9th Cir. 2006)].

Rodriguez v. Gen. Dynamics Armament & Technical Prods., Inc., 696 F.Supp.2d 1163, 1176 (D. Hawai`i 2010) (some ...


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