The Buckeye State continues to be tough on mortgage servicers, with courts frequently ruling for borrowers in foreclosure litigation. However, lenders are having some luck at the appellate level.
A review last year by Mortgage Daily found that the worst state for mortgage investors was Ohio. The findings were based on a combination of legislative and other government actions taken in attempts to hinder recovery through the foreclosure process. One big factor was foreclosure cases lost by lenders.
The report cited former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray — now the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency — for actions he took against GMAC Mortgage LLC and HomEq Servicing.
Kimberly L. Kermeen’s name was inadvertently left off of a granting clause in a mortgage made to her and Christopher G. Kermeen, and she also didn’t sign the note. A subsequent loan modification also excluded Kimberly. When CitiMortgage Inc. filed a foreclosure action, the court determined that Citi could only obtain a judgment against Christopher — despite that both Kermeens failed to appear at the trial.
So Citi appealed, and the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, reversed and remanded for the trial court to enter judgment in foreclosure against Kimberly as well to the extent of her full interest.
A dismissal of a foreclosure action against Kylene and Christopher Liphart by U.S. Bank, N.A., was reversed by the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District. The trial court had ruled in favor of the borrowers because U.S. Bank failed to use the word “owner” in reference to the note and that ownership of the note was an essential element of the claim.
Despite that Michael Bramson offered nothing to support his claims in his motion to dismiss PNC Bank, N.A.’s, foreclosure on his property, the trial court denied PNC’s motion for summary judgment and determined that PNC failed to demonstrate its entitlement to enforce the loan. But the decision was reversed by the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga County, and the case remanded.
RBS Citizens, N.A., obtained a judgment against Dale Vernyi in its action alleging he filed to make his home-equity line of credit. But the borrower disputed that he missed any payments, and appealed. The Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, determined that RBS was not entitled to a summary judgment because a genuine issue of material fact existed about whether he was actually in default. The appeals court determined that RBS didn’t provide evidence about how interest was calculated.
CitiMortgage Inc. initiated foreclosure against Magda Firestone in February 2008. Firestone, whose husband passed away in 2004, fired back with a motion to dismiss, claiming that it wasn’t her signature on the loans documents. But Firestone didn’t respond in time to a motion for summary judgment against her counterclaims by Citi in February 2009, and the judgment was granted.
A pre-trial conference was scheduled for April 30, 2009, but she informed the trial court that she would be out of town and unable to attend. In her absences, the trial court entered an adverse judgment against her and ordered the Citi to file a decree of foreclosure and a final judicial report with it within 30 days — though Citi failed to comply. When Citi moved for a summary judgment on the foreclosure in February 2011, Firestone did not respond and the trial court, determining that there was no genuine issue of material fact, granted the motion.
However, Firestone appealed, and the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, determining that genuine issues of material fact remained unresolved, reversed the foreclosure and remanded the case.
Ohio Worst State for Mortgage Investors
The federal government has gone to great lengths to protect the less than 5 percent of borrowers who haven’t been making mortgage payments at the expense of mortgage investors and the other 95 percent of current and future borrowers who will end up subsidizing the delinquents. As if that weren’t enough to hurt investor demand, some individual states have gone to great lengths to delay or block lenders from enforcing their liens — and Ohio is the biggest culprit.