ALFONZIA BILES, ET AL.
Session June 28, 2017
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No.
CT-001050-15 Gina C. Higgins, Judge
case involves residential property that was purchased after a
foreclosure. The purchaser filed this detainer action against
the original homeowners, who refused to vacate the property.
The general sessions court ruled in favor of the purchaser,
and after a de novo trial in circuit court, the circuit court
ruled in favor of the purchaser as well. We do the same. The
decision of the circuit court is hereby affirmed and remanded
for further proceedings.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and Remanded
Drayton Durell Berkley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellants, Alfonzia Biles, and Tonya Biles.
Brandon Franklin McNary, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Tiffany Roby.
Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Kenny Armstrong,
BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE
Facts & Procedural History
and Tonya Biles constructed a home in 2005. They executed a
deed of trust and promissory note for $223, 840. The original
lender was MILA, Inc., a Washington corporation, but the deed
of trust was subsequently assigned to U.S. Bank, N.A. Mr. and
Mrs. Biles admittedly fell behind on their mortgage payments,
and U.S. Bank foreclosed on the property. The foreclosure
sale occurred in October 2014, and U.S. Bank purchased the
property. U.S. Bank recorded its substitute trustee's
deed in November 2014. In December 2014, U.S. Bank filed a
detainer action against Mr. and Mrs. Biles in Shelby County
Circuit Court, as they refused to vacate the property.
February 2015, Tiffany Roby purchased the property from U.S.
Bank for $189, 000. U.S. Bank conveyed the property to Ms.
Roby by special warranty deed, which was promptly recorded.
As Mr. and Mrs. Biles remained in possession of the property,
Ms. Roby filed a detainer action against them in Shelby
County General Sessions Court. Ms. Roby's detainer action
was heard on March 11, 2015, and the general sessions court
found that she was entitled to possession of the property.
next day, Mr. and Mrs. Biles filed a petition for writs of
certiorari and supersedeas seeking de novo review in Shelby
County Circuit Court. They asserted that Ms. Roby's
detainer action should be dismissed on the basis of prior
suit pending due to the detainer action previously filed by
U.S. Bank, which still remained pending at that time. Mr. and
Mrs. Biles also asserted the defense of wrongful foreclosure
and alleged numerous violations of provisions of the deed of
trust and federal regulations. For these various reasons, Mr.
and Mrs. Biles argued that "all of these transfers,
assignments, or endorsements are void and of no effect,
" and therefore, Ms. Roby never acquired valid title.
U.S. Bank subsequently nonsuited its detainer action against
Mr. and Mrs. Biles.
circuit court ordered the clerk to issue both writs, staying
execution of the general sessions court's judgment in
favor of Ms. Roby pending further orders of the circuit
court. The case was tried in circuit court on September 2,
2015. Three witnesses testified: Mrs. Biles, Ms. Roby, and
the vice president of a bank, who was tendered by Ms. Roby as
an expert witness in the area of mortgage banking. At the
conclusion of the testimony, the trial court took the matter
under advisement. The trial judge announced her ruling in
favor of Ms. Roby on February 15, 2016, and entered a written
order on March 31, 2016. For reasons that will be discussed in
detail below, the trial court rejected each of the arguments
set forth by Mr. and Mrs. Biles to challenge the validity of
the foreclosure, assignments, and instruments. The trial
court concluded that U.S. Bank validly acquired title to the
property and that title to the property ultimately vested in
the subsequent purchaser, Ms. Roby. The court ruled that Ms.
Roby was entitled to possession of the property as the valid
owner of the fee simple interest in the property.
Mrs. Biles timely filed a motion to alter or amend, which was
denied. They subsequently filed a notice of appeal to this
Mrs. Biles present the following issues, as we perceive them,
for review on appeal:
1. Was the foreclosure sale void due to the lack of evidence
that U.S. Bank transmitted a valid acceleration letter to Mr.
and Mrs. Biles;
2. Was the foreclosure sale void due to the loan modification
package submitted by Mr. and Mrs. Biles;
3. Did Ms. Roby fail to establish her chain of title;
4. Did U.S. Bank have the right to enforce the promissory
5. Is the note a negotiable instrument;
6. Did Ms. Roby fail to establish that she was a bona fide