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Mutua v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 30, 2013

Magreth Mutua, et al., Appellants,
v.
Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Respondent, Shapiro & Zielke, LLP, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-11-24139.

William B. Butler, Butler Liberty Law, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellants)

Charles F. Webber, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Jared D. Kemper, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Ernest F. Peake, Patrick J. Lindmark, Leonard, O'Brien, Spencer, Gale & Sayre, Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Fredrick S. Levin (pro hac vice), Los Angeles, California (for respondent Deutsche Bank)

Kalli L. Ostlie, Shapiro & Zielke, LLP, Burnsville, Minnesota (for respondent Shapiro & Zielke)

Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Rodenberg, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.

HOOTEN, Judge

Appellants challenge the dismissal of their actions against respondent bank to quiet title and for a declaratory judgment to determine whether respondent bank had the right to foreclose on appellants' properties. Appellants also challenge the dismissal of their slander-of-title action against respondent bank and respondent law firm that handled the foreclosures. Because appellants have failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted, we affirm.

FACTS

Appellants Magreth and Peter Mutua, John and Diane Perusse, and Robert and Laura Pigozzi each executed a promissory note and a mortgage-security instrument on their separate properties in the mid-2000s. Each mortgage-security instrument was the subject of subsequent recorded assignments involving different financial entities. These mortgage-security instruments were eventually assigned to respondent Deutsche Bank National Trust Company which foreclosed by advertisement the mortgage-security instruments of the Perusses in 2010 and the Mutuas and Pigozzis in 2011. Respondent Shapiro & Zielke, LLP was the law firm that handled the Pigozzis' foreclosure.

Appellants, in an amended complaint, alleged four counts against respondents: (1) a quiet-title action against Deutsche Bank; (2) a declaratory judgment to resolve whether Deutsche Bank violated certain pooling and service agreements, and whether Deutsche Bank had the right to foreclose on appellants' properties; (3) a slander-of-title action against Deutsche Bank and Shapiro; and (4) a declaratory judgment to resolve whether Deutsche Bank's power to sell was operative.

Deutsche Bank moved to dismiss the claims brought by the Mutuas and the Perusses. The district court granted the motion in July 2012, finding that appellants failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e). In January 2013, the district court granted Deutsche Bank's and Shapiro's motion to dismiss the Pigozzis' claims, also under rule 12.02(e). This appeal follows.[1]

DECISION

We review de novo the district court's dismissal of a case under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e) for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Hebert v. City of Fifty Lakes, 744 N.W.2d 226, 229 (Minn. 2008). We consider "the facts alleged in the complaint, accepting those facts as true and must construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Id. (quotation omitted). "[W]hen the complaint refers to [a] contract and the contract is central to the claims alleged, " the contract may be considered in its entirety. In re Hennepin Cnty. 1986 Recycling Bond Litig., 540 N.W.2d 494, 497 (Minn. 1995). Documents that are a matter of public ...


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