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Goodman v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 18, 2018

BETTY JO GOODMAN
v.
NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC, ET AL.

          Session April 11, 2018

          Appeal from the Chancery Court for Maury County No. 13-612 Robert L. Jones, Judge.

         A borrower filed a pro se petition against a mortgage company and law firm seeking to enjoin a foreclosure sale. The trial court issued the injunction but, upon motion of the mortgage company and law firm, set aside the order granting injunctive relief after finding the order void. The trial court also found that the borrower's petition failed to state a claim and dismissed the action. We vacate in part and affirm in part.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Vacated in Part and Affirmed in Part

          Betty Jo Goodman, Columbia, Tennessee, pro se.

          Lauren Paxton Roberts and Jean Anne Tipps, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC.

          Andy D. Bennett, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas R. Frierson, II, and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ANDY D. BENNETT, JUDGE.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On December 18, 2007, Betty Jo Goodman obtained a loan from Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. in the amount of $73, 600. She secured the loan by executing a deed of trust in favor of Statewide Title & Escrow of Tennessee, LLC, as trustee for real property located at 113 Beech Street, Columbia, Tennessee ("the property"). After Ms. Goodman ceased making payments on the loan in June 2010, foreclosure sales were scheduled in 2010 and 2011 but were never completed. Thereafter, she filed two petitions for Chapter 13 bankruptcy: one on April 20, 2012 and one on March 13, 2013. The bankruptcy court dismissed both petitions because Ms. Goodman failed "to appear in the prosecution of the case."

         In 2013, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, ("Nationstar") was the holder of indebtedness on the property. Nationstar appointed Shapiro & Kirsch, LLP ("Shapiro") as successor trustee under the deed of trust and scheduled a foreclosure sale for November 7, 2013. To stop the scheduled foreclosure, Ms. Goodman filed an emergency petition for a restraining order and supporting memorandum in the chancery court for Maury County on November 7, 2013, seeking to enjoin the foreclosure. Her petition alleged, in pertinent part, as follows:

4. Petitioner will suffer imminent and irreparable injury if Respondent(s) are not enjoined from foreclosing on the property owned by Petitioner[]. Ten[n]. R. Civ. P. 65.03.
5. There is no adequate remedy at law because once the foreclosure sale has taken place, Petitioner[] will suffer the complete loss of the property as Respondent(s) will sell the property to a third party who will have a right to possession without regard to the claims Petitioner has against Respondent(s).
6. There is a substantial likelihood that Petitioner will prevail on the merits.
7. Petitioner will be able to show that:
8. The threatened harm to Petitioner[] outweigh[s] the harm that an emergency temporary restraining order would inflict on Respondent(s).
9. Petitioner[] will suffer loss of the use of said property and will lose opportunity to maintain same and Respondent(s) will suffer loss by having to maintain an empty property that cannot be insured.
10. Issuance of an emergency temporary restraining order would not adversely affect the public interest and public policy because there are already a great number of empty houses with the current residential foreclosure mess.
11. Adding more will simply increase the burden on the local [sic] as it will create opportunity for vandalism and further other criminal activity.
12. The court should enter this emergency temporary restraining order without notice to Respondent(s) because Petitioner[] will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage if the order is not granted before Respondent(s) can be heard as Respondent(s)['] ...

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