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Galima v. Association of Apartment Owners of Palm Court

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 8, 2019

RUDY AKONI GALIMA, ROXANA BEATRIZ GALIMA, Plaintiffs,
v.
ASSOCIATION OF APARTMENT OWNERS OF PALM COURT, BY AND THROUGH ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS; DOE DEFENDANTS 1-10, BRYSON CHOW, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT BRYSON CHOW'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL RECONSIDERATION

          LESLIE E. KOBAYASHI UNITED STATES JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Rudy Akoni Galima and Roxana Beatriz Galima (“Plaintiffs”) filed their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Counts I and II (Wrongful Foreclosure and Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) (“Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment”), [1] on January 19, 2018, and Defendant Bryson Chow (“Chow”) filed his Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Claim in Count II of the Third Amended Complaint [Dkt. 88] (“Chow's Motion for Summary Judgment”), on January 24, 2018. [Dkt. nos. 115, 118.] On December 31, 2018, this Court issued an order that, inter alia, denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count II and denied Chow's Motion for Summary Judgment (“12/31/18 Order”). [Dkt. no. 173.[2] Before the Court is Chow's motion for partial reconsideration of the 12/31/18 Order (“Motion for Reconsideration”), filed on January 9, 2019. [Dkt. no. 177.] Plaintiffs filed their memorandum in opposition on January 24, 2019, and Chow filed his reply on February 6, 2019. [Dkt. nos. 181, 186.]

         The Court has considered the Motion for Reconsideration as a non-hearing matter pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (“Local Rules”). For the reasons set forth below, Chow's Motion for Reconsideration is hereby denied because the discovery rule applies to Plaintiffs' remaining claim against Chow.

         BACKGROUND

         The relevant factual and procedural background of this case is set forth in the 12/31/18 Order. Only the facts that are relevant to the Motion for Reconsideration will be repeated here.

         The AOAO is the condominium association for the Palm Court, Increment 1C, a project in which Plaintiffs previously owned a unit (“Unit”). After Plaintiffs became delinquent in their condominium association fees, the AOAO, through its attorneys (one of whom was Chow), engaged in various collection efforts to recover those fees. The AOAO ultimately placed a lien on the Unit and sold the Unit through a nonjudicial foreclosure process, which was conducted pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. Chapter 667, Part I. Chow represented the AOAO in the foreclosure process. He conducted a public auction on October 19, 2010, and the AOAO - the only bidder - sold the Unit to itself for one dollar. See 12/31/18 Order, 2018 WL 6841818, at *1-5. A quitclaim deed conveying the Unit from the AOAO to itself was recorded on November 9, 2010. See Id. at *5 n.6. However, Plaintiffs did not file this action until January 12, 2016. See Notice of Removal, filed 1/22/16 (dkt. no. 1), Decl. of David R. Major, Exh. A (First Amended Complaint, filed on January 15, 2016 in state court).

         Plaintiffs' only remaining claim against Chow is their claim alleging that he violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. (“Count II”). [Third Amended Complaint, filed 5/22/17 (dkt. no. 88), at ¶¶ 36-40.] FDCPA claims are subject to a one-year limitations period, but the discovery rule applies to the determination of when the statute of limitations begins to run. 12/31/18 Order, 2018 WL 6841818, at *14 (some citations omitted) (citing 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d); Lyons v. Michael & Assocs., 824 F.3d 1169, 1171-72 (9th Cir. 2016)). Plaintiffs assert their FDCPA claim is timely because they did not know, and could not reasonably have known, about their claim against Chow until December 2015. See Separate & Concise Statement of Material Facts in Supp. of Pltfs.' Motion (“Pltfs.' CSOF”), filed 1/19/18 (dkt. no. 116), Decl. of Rudy Akoni Galima (“Galima Decl.”) at ¶ 22.

         Both Plaintiffs' request and Chow's request for summary judgment as to Count II were denied. The 12/31/18 Order addressed numerous issues related to Count II, but only one is relevant to the Motion for Reconsideration. This Court found that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment as to the issue of whether Plaintiffs' FDCPA claim is timely, in light of the discovery rule. 12/31/18 Order, 2018 WL 6841818, at *15.

         In the Motion for Reconsideration, Chow argues reconsideration is necessary because this Court failed to address his argument that Plaintiffs' lack of knowledge about the law cannot be used to invoke the discovery rule to delay the running of the statute of limitations. Chow urges this Court to: reconsider the 12/31/18 Order; conclude that Plaintiffs' FDCPA claim is time-barred; and grant summary judgment in his favor as to Count II.

         STANDARD

         Chow brings his Motion for Reconsideration pursuant to Local Rule 60.1(c), [Mem. in Supp. of Motion for Reconsideration at 3, ] which states: “Motions for reconsideration of interlocutory orders may be brought only upon the following grounds . . . (c) Manifest error of law or fact.” This Court has previously stated a motion for reconsideration

“must accomplish two goals. First, a motion for reconsideration must demonstrate reasons why the court should reconsider its prior decision. Second, a motion for reconsideration must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the court to reverse its prior decision.” See Davis v. Abercrombie, Civil No. 11-00144 LEK-BMK, 2014 WL 2468348, at *2 (D. Hawaii June 2, 2014) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). . . . “Mere disagreement with a previous order is an insufficient basis for reconsideration.” Davis, 2014 WL 2468348, at *3 n.4 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

Heu v. Waldorf=Astoria Mgmt. LLC, CIVIL 17-00365 LEK-RLP, 2018 WL 2011905, at *1 (D. Hawai`i Apr. 30, 2018) (alteration in Heu) ...


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