Steed v. Bank United
ORDER that Defendant's 3 Motion to Dismiss is granted. Plaintiff's 1 Complaint is dismissed with prejudice. The Rule 16 Case Management conference set for February 28, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. is vacated. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 2/28/2013.(LFIG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
On December 11, 2012, Plaintiff Frank Steed filed an action to quiet title to real
property located at 1823 West Maddock Road, Phoenix, Arizona, 85086.
Defendant BankUnited filed a motion to dismiss on January 7, 2013. Doc. 3. Plaintiff
has failed to respond to the motion to dismiss despite the Court’s warning that such a
failure could lead to dismissal with prejudice under Rule 41(b).
considered the substance of the motion to dismiss and determined that Plaintiff’s suit is
barred by res judicata and should be dismissed with prejudice.
The Court has
On August 18, 2009, Plaintiff and his wife filed a state court action against
BankUnited and another defendant in Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No.
CV2009-053727) claiming breach of contract, tortious interference with the use and
enjoyment of property, and wrongful foreclosure. Doc. 3-1 at 49-59. Though no claim
was made to quiet title, the suit challenged the legitimacy of the deed of trust and
Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the trustee’s sale. Doc. 3-1 at 49-59. In December 2010, the
parties entered into a settlement agreement to resolve the suit and BankUnited filed a
notice of settlement. Doc. 3-1 at 85. As part of the agreement, Plaintiff was required to
dismiss the suit. When he failed to do so, BankUnited filed a motion to enforce the
settlement agreement and dismiss the state court action with prejudice. Doc. 3-1 at 97-
101. A hearing was held at which both parties presented oral argument on the motion to
enforce the settlement agreement. Doc. 3-1 at 126. The superior court issued an order on
August 6, 2012, granting BankUnited’s motion to enforce the settlement agreement and
dismissing Plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. Doc. 3-1 at 132. BankUnited argues that
the state court judgment precludes Plaintiff from bringing this action.
Federal courts must give the same preclusive effect to a state court judgment that
the state would give to its own judgments. Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. Of Educ.,
465 U.S. 75, 81 (1984). In Arizona, res judicata or claim preclusion requires that
between both suits there be (1) identity of claims, (2) a final judgment on the merits in the
previous litigation, and (3) identity or privity between parties. In re Gen. Adjudication of
All Rights to Use Water in Gila River Sys. & Source, 127 P.3d 882, 887-88 (2006).
Plaintiff’s suits in state and federal court satisfy all three elements. Though the
two claims are not styled with identical captions (the state court suit was not an action to
“quiet title”), both suits contest the enforceability of the deed of trust and employ many
of the same legal theories. See Doc 1 at ¶¶ 16-20; Doc. 3-1 at 53-55. Different labels on
claims that argue the same subject matter are not sufficiently different to avoid res
judicata. MacRae v. Betts, 14 P.2d 253, 255 (1932). The state court’s dismissal was not
based on jurisdiction, improper venue, or failure to join, and therefore it was on the
merits in satisfaction of the second element. Ariz R. Civ. P. 41(b). Finally, Plaintiff and
BankUnited are parties in both actions.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s motion to dismiss (Doc. 3) is granted.
Plaintiff’s complaint (Doc. 1) is dismissed with prejudice.
Management conference set for February 28, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. is vacated.
Dated this 28th day of February, 2013.
The Rule 16 Case
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