In a unanimous opinion issued on June 11, 2018, Division One of the Washington State Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment issued against McNaul Ebel clients National Homebuyers Fund (“NHF”), Golden State Finance Authority (“GSFA”), and Rural County Representatives of California (“RCRC”). In a sweeping victory for McNaul Ebel’s clients, the Court ordered that the case be returned to the trial court and that all of the plaintiff’s claims be dismissed. The Court based its decision of the plaintiff’s lack of standing. A copy of the Court’s opinion may be found here.
NHF is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation that provides down payment assistance to low and moderate income homeowners in connection with federally insured mortgages in various states, including Washington. NHF was sued by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, which also provides down payment assistance to such homeowners. The Commission claimed that NHF was not legally authorized to operate in Washington. The trial court agreed, granting summary judgment to the Commission and preventing NHF from providing down payment assistance in Washington.
The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Commission lacked standing to sue to enjoin NHF’s activities in Washington because the Commission has neither enforcement power nor any monopoly right to avoid competition from NHF. The Court also held that the Commission’s assertions that NHF’s activities caused the Commission to lose business were “merely speculative and do not satisfy the standing requirement of injury in fact.”
McNaul Ebel, working with San Francisco co-counsel at Kerr & Wagstaffe, represented NHF, GSFA, and RCRC in the trial court and on appeal. McNaul Ebel’s team was led by partner Avi Lipman, and included associate attorneys Theresa DeMonte and Curtis Isacke. Avi, Theresa, and Curtis are part of McNaul Ebel’s Litigation and Trial Practice Group.