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Secretary of Veterans Affairs v. Shaffer

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

March 6, 2017

SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
TRISH SHAFFER, AKA PATRICIA SHAFFER, NKA TRISH L. GOGGIN, ET AL Defendant-Appellant

         Civil appeal from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2012CV1029

         Affirmed

          For Plaintiff-Appellee MATTHEW RICHARDSON

          For Defendant-Appellant TRISH SHAFFER PRO SE

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          Gwin, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant appeals the March 24, 2016 judgment entry and decree of foreclosure of the Richland County Court of Common Pleas.

         Facts & Procedural History

         {¶2} In 1979, Ronald and Sharon Pence (the "Pences") gave a mortgage to Hartzler Mortgage in the amount of $35, 000 on the property at issue. The mortgage expressly states that its covenants "shall bind * * * the respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns the parties hereto." One of the covenants of the mortgage is that the "Grantor of the mortgage "will promptly pay the principal and interest on the indebtedness evidenced by the said note, at the times and in the manner therein provided." Further, under the mortgage, the term "Grantee, " "shall include any payee of the indebtedness hereby secured or any transferee thereof whether by operation of law or otherwise."

         {¶3} In 1982, the Pences sold the property to Mark Campbell ("Campbell"). The deed from the Pences to Campbell indicated that Campbell had assumed the indebtedness on the property as his own.

         {¶4} In 1986, Campbell sold the property to appellant Trish Shaffer ("Shaffer) and her then-husband Richard Shaffer. As with the deed from the Pences to Campbell, the deed from Campbell to the Shaffers indicated the Shaffers had assumed the indebtedness on the property as their own, and that the Secretary would be indemnified upon a default on the mortgage loan indebtedness. Subsequently, when they divorced, Richard Shaffer quitclaimed his interest in the property to appellant.

         {¶5} In 1979, Hartzler assigned its mortgage to the States Teachers Retirement Board of Ohio. In 1998, the State Teachers Retirement Board assigned the mortgage to Lasalle Bank. In 1999, Lasalle Bank assigned the mortgage to Chase Mortgage Company ("Chase"). In 2001, Chase assigned the mortgage to appellee, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs ("Secretary"), who continues to hold the mortgage.

         {¶6} On August 29, 2012, the Secretary filed a foreclosure complaint against Shaffer, seeking judgment against her in the amount of $32, 110.00 at the rate of 9.5% from December 1, 2000. Attached to the complaint were copies of the mortgage and all assignments of the mortgage. The Secretary did not attach a copy of the note, but stated, "a copy of the note cannot be located at this time."

         {¶7} On October 3, 2012, Shaffer filed an answer to the complaint and counterclaim. Shaffer denied all allegations in the complaint and alleged, in support of her counterclaim, that the Secretary failed to respond to a qualified written request Shaffer allegedly sent to the Secretary under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"). In support of her RESPA claim, Shaffer alleged the Secretary had been the servicer of the mortgage loan since the inception of the mortgage. However, Shaffer did not attach copies of her alleged qualified written request to her pleading. Shaffer also alleged the Secretary had falsely reported that Shaffer was in default on her mortgage loan and asserted a ...


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