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Chase Home Finance, LLC v. Street

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 11, 2017


          April 25, 2017 Session

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-004089-10 Gina C. Higgins, Judge.

         Appellant appeals from the trial court's decision granting a judgment of possession to the Appellee bank. Because of profound deficiencies in Appellant's brief, we hold that her arguments are waived. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed.

          Jo Ann Street, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro se.

          Jerry Morgan, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chase Home Finance, LLC.

          J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Richard H. Dinkins, and Kenny Armstrong, JJ., joined.




         This is the second appeal of this case and a full recitation of the facts may be found in Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp. v. Street, No. W2007-02553-COA-R3-CV, 2010 WL 1462544 (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 14, 2010) ("Chase I"). The issue in both cases concerns property purchased by Ida B. Street ("Ms. Street") and secured by a deed of trust. The deed of trust was eventually acquired by Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation ("Chase Manhattan"). Id. at *1. Ms. Street participated in two bankruptcy actions after her purchase of the property, one finalized in 1998 and another finalized in 2003. At the conclusion of the 2003 bankruptcy, Ms. Street's debts were discharged. Id. Despite these discharges, Ms. Street's debt owed under the deed of trust had not been paid. Id. at *2. On December 24, 2003, a prior owner of the deed of trust erroneously "recorded releases of the deed of trust with the Office of the Register of Shelby County, Tennessee." Id. at *1.

         On August 4, 2004, Chase Manhattan filed suit against Ms. Street to set aside the releases, for the releases to be rescinded, and for the deed of trust to be reinstated. In support, Chase Manhattan alleged that the bank that recorded the releases was not the current owner of the deed of trust and, in fact, had not actually owned the deed of trust in over twelve years. Id. at *1-2. The trial court thereafter granted summary judgment to Chase Manhattan, set aside the releases, and reinstated the deed of trust. While Ms. Street's appeal was pending, she passed away and Defendant/Appellant Jo Ann Street ("Appellant") was substituted.[2] Id. at *1. This Court ultimately affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment allowing the releases to be rescinded. Id. at *2-4. Among other issues, the Court of Appeals specifically ruled that Chase Manhattan was the proper owner of the deed of trust and that Ms. Street's debt under the note had not been paid. Id. at *2. Finally, the Court noted that Ms. Street's bankruptcy did not prevent Chase Manhattan from foreclosing on the subject property. Id.

         In the meantime, on March 28, 2008, a foreclosure sale of the property took place and the property was sold to Defendant/Appellee Chase Home Finance, LLC ("Chase"). Immediately following the issuance of Chase I, Chase filed a detainer warrant action against Appellant on April 30, 2010. Judgment of possession was eventually awarded to Chase on August 10, 2010. Appellant thereafter appealed to the Shelby County Circuit Court ("the trial court").

         The proceedings in the trial court spanned numerous filings and several years. At some point, Appellant filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied by the trial court on January 7, 2013, after the trial court ruled that issues of material fact remained in dispute. A trial on this cause occurred in April 2014.[3] During the hearing, the trial court granted the parties a continuance to allow Appellant to present proof that the loan had been fully paid. After multiple continuances to give Appellant an opportunity to file an affidavit in support of her allegations, the trial court set the matter for a final hearing on November 20, 2015. On November 19, 2015, Appellant, by and through her counsel, filed a document entitled "Affidavit of Accounting." The document, however, was not an affidavit, but merely a pleading that contained no proof. At the November 20, 2015 hearing, the trial court gave Appellant and her counsel until November 30, 2015 to provide the proffered proof. Another hearing was therefore set for December 2, 2015. On December 1, 2015, and again at the December 2, 2015 hearing, Appellant's counsel notified the trial court that there were no documents to support Appellant's contention regarding the additional payments made on the property after the 2003 bankruptcy.

         The trial court therefore eventually ruled in favor of Chase by final order of January 8, 2016. The trial court held that Chase had standing to foreclose the loan, that Ms. Street's bankruptcy did not discharge her debt, and that despite multiple opportunities and continuances, there was no evidence of payments made on the loan after the 2003 bankruptcy. As a result, the trial court ruled that Appellant was in unlawful possession of the property and therefore granted possession of the property to Chase. Appellant filed several unsuccessful post-trial motions and now appeals to this Court.[4]

         Issues Presented

         Appellant raises a number of issues in her brief, which we restate largely verbatim here:

1. Whether the trial court did err in GRANTING a judgment in favor of Chase Home Finance and giving them possession of [Appellant's] primary residence that she shared with the heirs of the late Ida B. Street, who died intestate, Probate Case No.: D-6489, as a matter of law?
Can Chase claim to have foreclosed, but present no record of foreclosure after none was found in the county record; and present to the trial court an affidavit of debt from Beth Cottrell, an admitted robo-signer, and an unrecorded trustee's deed stating that [Ms.] Street was the grantor and that the Secretary of Housing of Urban Development ("HUD") was the grantee. HUD submitted a statement that the unpaid balance was $0.00 and the maturity date of the loan was March 2011. The preponderance of the evidence does not support the assertion by Chase they are the owner of the residence.
2. Did the court err when it failed to rule on the Motion for Summary Judgment, pursuant to rule 56 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 52.01 in stating the reason for her decision? In addition the plaintiff refused and failed to respond to discovery requests as stated in defendant's Response by Defendant, [Appellant], to Motion to Withdraw filed by Kenneth Besser, ...

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