Moore v. Reis (In re Moore), Case No. 19-43563-BDL

CourtUnited States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Western District of Washington
Writing for the CourtBrian D. Lynch, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
Citation631 B.R. 764
Decision Date08 July 2021
Docket NumberCase No. 19-43563-BDL,Adversary No. 20-04017-BDL
Parties IN RE: Robert Garvin MOORE, Debtor. Robert Garvin Moore and Teresa Jean Moore, Plaintiffs, v. Lisa Armenio Reis; Paul Kim Reis; Keller Williams Premier Partners; Pamela McAnally; Jacqueline Smith; Shelly Schmitz; Does 1-50, Defendants.

631 B.R. 764

IN RE: Robert Garvin MOORE, Debtor.

Robert Garvin Moore and Teresa Jean Moore, Plaintiffs,
Lisa Armenio Reis; Paul Kim Reis; Keller Williams Premier Partners; Pamela McAnally; Jacqueline Smith; Shelly Schmitz; Does 1-50, Defendants.

Case No. 19-43563-BDL
Adversary No. 20-04017-BDL

United States Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Washington.

Signed July 8, 2021

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Robert Garvin Moore, Battle Ground, WA, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

Teresa Jean Moore, Battle Ground, WA, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

Lisa Armenio Reis, Honolulu, HI, Defendant, Pro Se.

Paul Kim Reis, Honolulu, HI, Defendant, Pro Se.


Brian D. Lynch, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge

I. Introduction

During the Great Recession, when the consumer mortgage credit market seized

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up, home real estate values dove, and the overall economy for consumers suffered, a particular phenomenon developed. It involved individuals and entities offering to help homeowners with their mortgage lenders. In most such cases, little or no real help was provided, and the homeowners usually lost their homes to foreclosure.

The plaintiffs in this adversary are Teresa and Robert Moore. In March 2014, Ms. Moore styled herself as a "Loan Strategy Consultant." ECF No. 199-3. Lisa Armenio-Reis and her husband, Paul Reis (together, the "Reises"), had gone through difficult economic times, requiring them to move from their home in Battle Ground, Washington to Hawaii, where they had previously lived. The loan on their home in Battle Ground (the "Battle Ground Property") was underwater. The Reises attempted first to rent out the Battle Ground Property, then to short sell it. Both of those strategies failed, at which point the Reises were introduced to Ms. Moore, who offered to help them in obtaining a loan modification with their lender. Ms. Moore also convinced Ms. Armenio-Reis to allow the Moores’ son Michael move into the Battle Ground Property rent-free.

The "help" provided by Ms. Moore only led to trouble for the Reises. Ms. Moore filed bankruptcy in the Northern District of California (Case No. 16-53510) and then in Hawaii (Case No. 17-01311), listing an interest in the Battle Ground Property along with various other properties in Nevada, California, and Hawaii, designed to frustrate and avoid paying mortgage lenders. Each of those bankruptcy cases—in addition to a prior case filed in Nevada (Case No. 14-13791)—was dismissed, with the trustees, creditors, and courts showing increasing degrees of frustration with Ms. Moore's behavior. In the Hawaii bankruptcy, Ms. Moore brought an adversary proceeding against the Reises and certain Keller Williams realtors, claiming an ownership interest in the Battle Ground Property and alleging stay violations. Haw. Bankr. Adv. Proc. No. 18-90033, ECF No. 4 at 1, 10–11. Ms. Moore also alleged several contractual claims against the Reises in the adversary under state law. Id. at 7–10. The Hawaii bankruptcy was ultimately dismissed with a bar to Ms. Moore refiling in any bankruptcy court for five years. ECF No. 188-1. The Hawaii Court's December 19, 2018 decision dismissing the case provides a catalog of the many prior bankruptcies filed by Ms. Moore, her husband Robert, and her parents. Id. at 2–4. At that time, Ms. Moore had filed nine bankruptcies during a twenty-five year period: "All told, she has spent about twelve of the last twenty-five years, and ten of the last fourteen years, under the protection of the bankruptcy court." Id. at 2. The Hawaii Court also dismissed the related adversary Ms. Moore had filed, but without prejudice. Haw. Bankr. Adv. Proc. No. 18-90033, ECF No. 12.

Flagstar Bank FSB ("Flagstar"), the mortgagee on the Battle Ground Property, which had not been paid in years nor agreed to a loan modification through Ms. Moore, proceeded with a nonjudicial foreclosure sale on July 5, 2019. ECF No. 175-1. The Moores had previously filed a lawsuit against Flagstar and its attorney, the then foreclosure trustee for the Battle Ground Property deed of trust, and the Reises in Clark County Superior Court on July 3, 2019, again claiming an interest in the Battle Ground Property. ECF No. 22-1 at 21–34. Before that case was resolved, Mr. Moore (Ms. Moore having been barred from refiling for five years by the Hawaii bankruptcy court) filed a chapter 13 case in this Court on November 5, 2019, again listing an interest in the

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Battle Ground Property and several other properties. Case No. 19-43563, ECF Nos. 1, 16.

When this Court learned of the Moores’ history of bankruptcy filings and manipulations in those proceedings, it set an order to show cause hearing regarding whether the Court should dismiss the case and bar Mr. Moore from filing bankruptcy for several years. Case No. 19-43563, ECF No. 40. That hearing was set for March 31, 2020. Id. Shortly before an order was entered dismissing the case and barring Mr. Moore from filing bankruptcy for seven years, the Moores filed three adversaries in the Western Washington case, pro se: Adv. No. 20-04018, where they sued various parties involved in a pending foreclosure of a property in Studio City, California; Adv. No. 20-04020, where they sued various parties involved in foreclosure of the Hawaii properties the Moores claimed an interest in; and this adversary, where they sued the Reises, Flagstar, its attorneys, Keller Williams Premier Partners ("Keller Williams"), and realtors at Keller Williams—Pamela McAnally, Jacqueline Smith, and Shelly Schmitz (together with Keller Williams, the "Keller Williams Defendants")1 —who were involved in listing and marketing the Battle Ground Property for sale in 2018 for the Reises.2 The Court dismissed Adv. No. 20-04018 on the merits, and dismissed Adv. No. 20-04020 on the grounds that this Court was not a proper forum for adjudicating claims against the Hawaii defendants.

As to this adversary, the Court has dismissed all claims against Flagstar and its attorneys, ECF No. 183, and the stay violation claims against the Reises that allegedly arose from Mr. Moore's bankruptcy filing in the Western District of Washington, including for defending against the Moores in their Clark County Superior Court lawsuit, ECF No. 50. The Keller Williams Defendants and the Reises (together, the "Moving Defendants") have separately filed motions for summary judgment on the remaining claims in this adversary. ECF Nos. 187, 190.

II. Factual Background of the Moores’ Claims

A. The Reises Purchase the Property and Meet the Moores

The Reises purchased the Battle Ground Property in 2004. ECF No. 190 at 1. On June 23, 2009, they refinanced a loan by executing a promissory note and a deed of trust in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"), with Flagstar as trustee. ECF No. 188-8. Ms. Armenio-Reis lost her job in Washington and found a new one in Honolulu, where she was from, and the Reises moved back to Hawaii from the Battle Ground Property in 2011. ECF No. 203 at 1; ECF No. 199-8 at 6. The Reises began having trouble paying on the promissory note after unsuccessfully attempting to rent out the Battle Ground Property, and they decided to either obtain a loan modification or sell the Property. Id. After the Reises first defaulted on the note on January 16, 2013, MERS assigned its interest under the deed of trust to Flagstar. ECF No. 22-1 at 14. The Reises had listed the Property for

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sale in 2013, but no sale materialized. ECF No. 204 at 1–2.

In early 2014, Ms. Armenio-Reis was introduced to Ms. Moore, who said she could help the Reises obtain a loan modification to save the Battle Ground Property from foreclosure. ECF No. 199-2. The general idea was that the Moores would help the Reises use the Battle Ground Property to generate income via a "raw cannabis juicing" program. Id. ; ECF No. 199-7 at 2–3. Ms. Armenio-Reis signed two separate authorizations permitting Ms. Moore to discuss the Battle Ground Property loan and to act as her agent in negotiations with Flagstar. ECF No. 199-3 at 3; ECF No. 199-8 at 2–4.

Before Ms. Moore started work on the loan modification, Mr. Moore and the Moores’ son, Michael, traveled to the Battle Ground Property in May 2014, purportedly to fix a variety of damage and issues that resulted from the Reises’ absence. ECF Nos. 199-5, 199-6. No later than June 1, 2014, the Reises gave permission for Michael to live at the Battle Ground Property, under the impression that he would assist with restoring the Property and the juicing venture. ECF No. 199-6 at 8; ECF No. 199-4 ("My son will stay up there and get the property running for our programs."). At various times since then, the Moores also claim to have spent time at the Battle Ground Property, although they have provided no written communication showing that the Reises gave them permission to reside there, as the Reises did for Michael. On June 12, 2014, a broker who had heard from neighbors that there were people on the Battle Ground Property emailed Ms. Armenio-Reis. ECF No. 62 at 15. Ms. Armenio-Reis responded that there were renters and...

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