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Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Bowler

United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division

May 14, 2019

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS OF THE ASSET BACKED SECURITIES CORPORATION HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST, ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES WMC 2005-HE5, Plaintiff,
v.
RICK J. BOWLER, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Dana L. Christensen, United States District Court Chief Judge.

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 20). Plaintiff, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Trustee for the Certificateholders of the Asset Backed Securities Corporation Home Equity Loan Trust, Asset Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series WMC 2005-HE5 ("Wells Fargo"), seeks judgment on a Promissory Note signed by Defendant Rick J. Bowler and a decree of foreclosure on the Deed of Trust intended to secure the promissory note. For the following reasons, Wells Fargo's Motion will be granted.

         Background

         The following facts are undisputed. On March 10, 2005, Bowler executed both a Promissory Note ("the Note") in the original principal amount of $260, 000.00 and a Deed of Trust securing Bowler's obligations under the Note. (Docs. 9-1 at 5; 9-2 at 1-2, 17; 22 at 2.) The Deed of Trust describes the following as security for the Note:

Parcel I: Lot 4 of Clark Fork Meadows, a platted subdivision in Missoula County, Montana according to the official record plat thereof.
Parcel II: TOGETHER WITH an access easement for the purposes of ingress and egress to said Lot 4 over and across a private easement along the Northerly boundaries of Lot 1 and Lot 3 of said Clark Fork Meadows from the County Road.

(Docs. 9-2 at 3, 18; 22 at 3.)

         Wells Fargo is both the trustee for the trust holding the Note and the assignee of the Deed of Trust. (Docs. 21 at 2; 22 at 2.)

         Under the terms of the Note, Wells Fargo, as trustee, is entitled to demand the entire balance owing under the Note upon Bowler's default. (Docs. 9-1 at 2.) Additionally, Bowler's default on the Note constitutes a default under the terms of the Deed of Trust. (Docs. 9-2 at 1-5; 22 at 5.) The Note provides that Bowler is liable for Wells Fargo's reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses incurred in enforcing its rights under the Note. (Doc. 9-1 at 3.)

         Bowler has failed to make payments in accordance with the conditions of the Note and received notice of default in December of 2017. (Docs. 9-5 at 1-2; 22 at 4.) Based on these undisputed facts, Wells Fargo is seeking $251, 694.54 in principal, in excess of $196, 260.10 in interest, $60, 929.88 in escrow fees, and $1, 985.77 in advance fees. (Doc. 22 at 4.)

         Legal Standard

         Wells Fargo is entitled to summary judgment if it can demonstrate "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and [it] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Material facts are those which may affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of fact exists. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).

         Discussion

         Because this Court is exercising diversity jurisdiction, the substantive law of Montana applies. Stanford Ranch, Inc. v. Maryland Cas. Co.,89 F.3d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1996). However, neither party has provided the Court with the substantive law governing this case. Instead, Wells Fargo conclusively asserts that it is entitled to judgment on the Note and a decree of foreclosure on the Deed of Trust "as a matter of law" without providing any law. (Doc. 21 at 7-8.) And, for his part, Bowler simply concedes that Wells Fargo has "dutifully recited the undisputed facts that are relevant to obtaining an order of judicial foreclosure" but asserts that there are reasons the Court should refrain from entering summary judgment at this time. (Doc. 26 at ...


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