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Coy v. United States of America Department of Veterans Affairs

United States District Court, D. Idaho

May 16, 2019





         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Defendant United States of America, Department of Veterans' Affairs. (Dkt. 6.) No. response has been filed and the time for doing so has passed. The matter is ripe for the Court's consideration. Having fully reviewed the record herein, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. In the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Motion is decided on the record. For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants the Motion.


         On November 21, 2018, Plaintiff Robert Coy filed the Complaint in this matter raising claims for declaratory relief, wrongful foreclosure, quiet title, accounting, and refund fees & costs. (Dkt. 1.) The claims relate to the Department of Veterans Affairs' (“VA”) non-judicial foreclosure and state eviction proceedings regarding certain real property located at 9941 West Granger Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83704 (“Granger Property”). The other Defendants named in this case are the mortgage companies who loaned funds or refinanced the loan relating to the Granger Property. The VA prevailed in the state court case to remove Mr. Coy from the property. (Dkt. 9, Ex. A.)

         In this case, Mr. Coy alleges he has superior priority title to the Granger Property based on a January 23, 1889 Land Patent issued by President William McKinley to Lizzie J. Fitzpatrick. (Dkt. 1, Ex. 1.) Mr. Coy claims his title interest as a successor to Ms. Fitzpatrick is superior to any other claim and that the VA and remaining lender Defendants infringed upon his property rights, breached the contractual and fiduciary duties they owed to Plaintiff, and wrongfully foreclosed on the property. (Dkt. 1.) Mr. Coy further claims the VA's state court ejectment action “ignored” the Land Patent and that the VA has taken no action to extinguish his “top priority and pre-emptive title interest in the Property created by said Land Patent” nor could the VA do so because it lacks standing and privity. (Dkt. 1.) The VA's eviction proceedings, Mr. Coy argues, violated his constitutional rights and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Further, Mr. Coy alleges the other named Defendants are lending institutions who defrauded him and breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by failing to disclose/obscured facts relating to his superior title resulting in the wrongful foreclosure.

         On February 15, 2019, the VA filed this Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5) and (6). (Dkt. 6.) Plaintiff did not file a response to the Motion and the time for doing so has passed. (Dkt. 7, 8.) The Court finds as follows.


         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5), a defendant may move for dismissal due to insufficient service of process. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5). Once a defendant challenges service of process, the plaintiff has the initial burden of establishing the validity of service of process under Rule 4. See, e.g., Brockmeyer v. May, 383 F.3d 798, 801 (9th Cir. 2004). If plaintiff makes such a showing, defendant must present evidence to establish the absence of valid service. See Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (America) Inc. v. Suid, No. C17-1481-MAT, 2018 WL 72166, at *10 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 6, 2018). The plaintiff must then present countering evidence to show proper service or create an issue of fact necessitating an evidentiary hearing. Id. “When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for untimely service, courts must determine whether good cause for the delay has been shown on a case by case basis.” In re Sheehan, 253 F.3d 507, 512 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).

         A motion to dismiss made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), tests the sufficiency of a party's claim for relief. When considering such a motion, the Court's inquiry is whether the allegations in a pleading are sufficient under applicable pleading standards. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) sets forth minimum pleading rules, requiring only a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         A motion to dismiss will only be granted if the complaint fails to allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations omitted). Although “we must take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, we are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Id. at 1949-50; see also Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). Therefore, “conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.” Caviness v. Horizon Comm. Learning Cent., Inc., 590 F.3d 806, 811-12 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).


         1. Motion to Dismiss the Claims Against the Department of Veterans Affairs

         The VA seeks dismissal of Mr. Coy's claims against it based on insufficient service of process and because the claims have been fully litigated and finally resolved by the state court and, therefore, are barred by res judicata. The VA asserts the claims are also precluded by sovereign immunity and as a matter of law. (Dkt. 6.) ...

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