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Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB v. United States Department of Justice

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 10, 2019

WILMINGTON SAVINGS FUND SOCIETY, FSB
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ET AL.

          Session August 22, 2019

          Appeal from the Chancery Court for Anderson County No. 16CH8303 M. Nichole Cantrell, Chancellor

         Plaintiff Wilmington Savings Fund Society brought this action for foreclosure on property owned by defendants Reginald Hall and Rhonda Hall, requesting that the trial court declare its debt from a loan secured by deed of trust to have priority over debts allegedly owed by the Halls to other named defendants. The trial court granted plaintiff summary judgment and Reginald Hall appealed. Plaintiff argues on appeal that the trial court's judgment was not final and therefore this Court does not have jurisdiction. We hold that the trial court did not adjudicate all of the claims raised by the parties. Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed for lack of a final judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction; Case Remanded

          Reginald Hall, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

          H. Keith Morrison, Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the appellee, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, dba Christiana Trust, not in its individual capacity, but solely as trustee for BCAT 2015-14ATT.

          Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John W. McClarty and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE

         I.

         The complaint names the Halls as debtors on a note secured by the deed of trust at issue and alleges they were in default by failing to make payments. Plaintiff also named as defendants several other alleged creditors of the Halls: Arrow Financial Services, Discover Bank, Briarcliff Health Care Center, Georges H. Brandan, the United States Department of Justice, and the Internal Revenue Service, each of whom was alleged to have outstanding judgments against the Halls. The complaint further alleges that the property upon which plaintiff sought to foreclose was also collateral securing a second deed of trust held by defendant Bank of America. Plaintiff asked the trial court for judgment in rem against the property in the amount of the outstanding debt, $169, 877.85 plus fees and expenses, and for foreclosure of the judgment. Regarding the other alleged debts, plaintiff requested a declaration that its "deed of trust is superior and paramount to the interests of the defendants in the subject property."

         Answers were filed by the United States Departments of Justice and Revenue, Briarcliff, Mr. Brandan, and Bank of America. Later, the trial court entered agreed orders reflecting the agreement of the relevant parties that plaintiff's "valid first priority lien has priority over the claim of the United States with regard to the property" and that "any right, title, or interest in and to the subject property held by Georges H. Brandan, is junior, subordinate, and inferior to" plaintiff's interest. The trial court's order granting summary judgment recounts the following further procedural history:

Reginald Hall filed a response entitled "Defendant's Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment" in March of 2018. No motion for summary judgment was pending at that time.
Plaintiff served request for admissions on Reginald Hall on April 6, 2018. No responses were filed or served.
A restraining order was entered on May 17, 2018.
Plaintiff filed a motion to deem requests admitted on May 21, 2018. No response was filed or served.
Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on May ...

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