Articles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court

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Linda Shelley executed a note in favor of First Magnus Financial Corporation. On the same day, Linda and John Shelley executed a mortgage on certain property as security for the loan. The note was endorsed in blank and was eventually held by MTGLQ Investors, L.P. John and Linda later deed the property to Shelley Alley. After Linda died, the note went into default. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. filed a foreclosure complaint, naming John Shelley as the defendant and Alley as a party in interest. The trial court entered a judgment of foreclosure in favor of MTGLQ. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the debtor - presumably, the Estate of Linda Shelley - was a necessary party to this foreclosure action. Because the debtor was not named as a party in this matter, and court vacated the judgment of foreclosure and remanded with instructions to dismiss the matter without prejudice. View "MTGLQ Investors, L.P. v. Alley" on Justia Law

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Wells Fargo appealed from the district court’s judgment dismissing its foreclosure complaint against Defendant as a sanction for pretrial misconduct. After a nontestimonial hearing, the court ordered the action dismissed with prejudice. Wells Fargo moved to alter or amend the judgment to provide for a dismissal without prejudice. The district court denied the motion and maintained the dismissal with prejudice. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case to the district court to conduct a proceeding that comports with the process recently articulated in Green Tree Servicing, LLC v. Cope, ___ A.3d ___, issued on April 11, 2017, holding that the process used by the trial court did not entirely follow the procedural steps that a court should take before imposing the sanction of dismissal with prejudice. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Welch-Gallant" on Justia Law

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JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. filed a complaint against Terrance Lowell seeking foreclosure on residential property. The complaint alleged that Lowell had defaulted by failing to make payments due on a promissory note. After a bench trial, the district court entered a judgment of foreclosure in favor of JPMorgan. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding (1) the district court properly admitted certain documents pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule; but (2) the district court erred by finding that the notice of default issued by JPMorgan complied with the requirement established in Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6111(1-A)(C), which is a required element of foreclosure. Remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Lowell. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Lowell" on Justia Law

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Bank brought this foreclosure action against Mortgagor. Mortgagor filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Bank’s notices of right to cure were deficient because they did not satisfy the requirements of Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6111(1-A). The court concluded that the notice of right to cure did not comply with statutory requirements and dismissed the complaint without prejudice so that Bank could send notice in compliance with section 6111. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint but remanded with instructions to correct the order so that it provides for a dismissal with prejudice, holding that the court erred by stating that the dismissal was without prejudice because the dismissal was an adjudication on the merits, and therefore, it was with prejudice. View "U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. v. Mackenzie" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs received a loan from JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. that was secured by a mortgage on their real property in Portland. When Plaintiffs finished paying off the mortgage, Chase executed a written mortgage release and recorded the document. The registry of deeds returned the recorded mortgage release to Chase, which retained the actual document and mailed a copy of the document to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs filed this action claiming that Chase violated Me. Rev. Stat. 551, 33, which governs the discharge of a mortgage, by failing to mail them the original mortgage release document. The business and consumer docket dismissed the action for failure to state a claim, concluding that mailing a copy of the recorded document accomplishes the purposes of the statute. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that the trial court erred when it dismissed the action because Plaintiffs’ allegations were sufficient to state a claim that Chase violated section 551. View "Sabina v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Ocean Communities Federal Credit Union filed a foreclosure complaint against Guy Roberge and Lisa Pombriant concerning certain residential property. The district court granted a summary judgment for foreclosure and sale in favor of the Credit Union in the amount of $144,998.97, concluding that the Credit Union established its entitlement to a summary judgment as to each element of foreclosure. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court, holding that the Credit Union’s summary judgment filings failed to establish at least four of the necessary eight elements for a residential foreclosure. Remanded for a trial. View "Ocean Cmtys. Fed. Credit Union v. Roberge" on Justia Law

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American Express Bank FSB filed a complaint alleging that Diane Deering owed $22,339.94 in credit card debt. After a trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of American Express in that amount. On appeal, Deering argued that the trial court erred in admitting American Express’s business records pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule. Specifically, Deering challenged the trial court’s determination that American Express provided the required foundation for admission of the documents. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion in admitting the records over Deering’s objections. View "American Express Bank FSB v. Deering" on Justia Law

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Defendants defaulted on their mortgage, and U.S. Bank filed a complaint for foreclosure. Following the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Bank of America, N.A. v. Greenleaf, the Bank filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the foreclosure action without prejudice, arguing that it could not proceed with the foreclosure because it did not have a mortgage assignment from the original lender and thus did not have standing to pursue the action. Defendants countered that the motion should be dismissed with prejudice so that they could be awarded attorney fees. The trial court granted the Bank’s motion but dismissed the case with prejudice. The court subsequently issued a correction of the record stating that the dismissal of the Bank’s action was without prejudice. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of dismissal with prejudice and subsequent judgment of dismissal without prejudice, holding that the trial court erred in dismissing the Bank’s action with prejudice and did not have authority under the circumstances to change that outcome to a dismissal without prejudice. Remanded for the entry of judgment of dismissal without prejudice. View "U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Curit" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure complaint against Jeffrey White. In 2014, based on an agreed-to judgment by the parties, the court entered a final judgment of foreclosure. Thereafter, White moved for relief from judgment pursuant to Me. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) and (4), alleging that Wells Fargo lacked standing to foreclose and that Wells Fargo’s failure to establish standing deprived the court of jurisdiction, rendering the judgment void. The district court denied White’s motion, finding that White was not entitled to relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying relief pursuant to either Rule 60(b)(1) or (4), as (1) the parties had not been mistaken about the facts or the law regarding standing when they agreed to the entry of judgment; and (2) Plaintiff had a fair opportunity and a significant incentive to challenge Wells Fargo’s standing but failed to do so. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. White" on Justia Law

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A Bank filed a residential foreclosure complaint against Appellant, alleging that Appellant executed a promissory note and a mortgage securing the note on certain property and that Appellant defaulted on the note. The Bank claimed that, through a series of endorsements and assignments, the Bank had acquired rights in the mortgage and authority to enforce the note. The trial court entered a judgment in Appellant’s favor, concluding that the Bank failed to provide Appellant with a statutorily-complaint notice of the default and of his right to cure. The court then prospectively reserved to the Bank the right to relitigate a second foreclosure action. The Supreme Court vacated the portion of the judgment reserving to the parties the right to relitigate all issues in a future foreclosure action, as the trial court entered a final judgments on the merits in favor of Appellant, and there was no special reason identified for affirmatively reserving the parties’ rights to relitigate. The Court affirmed the judgment in all other respects. View "U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Tannenbaum" on Justia Law