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Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB v. Easley

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

June 5, 2019

WILMINGTON SAVINGS FUND SOCIETY FSB, et al. Appellee
v.
RONALD EASLEY, JR., et al. Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV-2015-02-0651

          RONALD EASLEY, pro se, Appellant.

          DAVID J. DEMERS and MICHELLE POLLY-MURPHY, Attorneys at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO, JUDGE

         {¶1} Ronald L. Easley, Jr. appeals the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment in favor of Wilmington Savings Fund, FSB, dba Christiana Trust. We reverse and remand.

         I.

         {¶2} The factual background of this case was previously set forth in Green Tree Servicing, L.L.C. v. Easley, 9th Dist. Summit No. 28056, 2016-Ohio-7880 (" Easley I "):

In 2005, Mr. Easley executed a promissory note in favor of America's Wholesale Lender for the property located at 490 Saunders Avenue, Akron, Ohio 44319. Mr. Easley also signed a mortgage with America's Wholesale Lender, granting it a security interest in the property. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") is listed as nominee for America's Wholesale Lender and its successors and assigns. The Note was endorsed in blank by "Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., a New York Corporation Doing Business as America's Wholesale Lender." As of December 23, 2010, MERS assigned the Mortgage, together with the Note, to BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., fka, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, L.P. Additionally, as of November 5, 2014, Bank of America, N.A. successor bank to BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP., assigned the Mortgage, together with the Note, to appellee, Green Tree Servicing, LLC ("Green Tree").
On February 2, 2015, Green Tree filed a complaint in foreclosure alleging that: (1) it was the holder of the Note and Mortgage and (2) Mr. Easley was in default under the terms and conditions of the Note and Mortgage. Mr. Easley filed a pro se answer and the matter proceeded to mediation. After unsuccessful attempts at mediation, Green Tree moved for summary judgment. Mr. Easley retained counsel, moved to file an amended answer, and also filed a memorandum in opposition to Green Tree's motion for summary judgment. In response, Green Tree filed a memorandum in opposition to Mr. Easley's motion to file an amended answer, and replied to his memorandum in opposition to its motion for summary judgment. The trial court did not allow Mr. Easley's amended answer and, instead, granted Green Tree's motion for summary judgment.

Id. at ¶ 2-3.

         {¶3} In Easley I, we reversed and remanded the matter after concluding that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment because there was a dispute of fact as to whether Green Tree had possession of the note at the time it filed its complaint. Id. at ¶ 6-15. After remand, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, dba Christian Trust ("Wilmington Savings") was substituted for Green Tree as the plaintiff. Wilmington Savings subsequently filed its motion for summary judgment, and Mr. Easley filed a combined motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss for lack of standing. On March 5, 2018, the trial court denied Mr. Easley's combined motion and granted summary judgment in favor of Wilmington Savings. Mr. Easley now appeals, raising two assignments of error.

         {¶4} As a preliminary matter, Wilmington Savings has raised the argument that we do not have jurisdiction to hear this appeal for lack of a final, appealable order. In a foreclosure action, a judgment entry is final only "if it resolves all remaining issues involved in the foreclosure. This includes the questions of outstanding liens, including what other liens must be marshaled before distribution is ordered, the priority of any such liens, and the amounts that are due the various claimants." Mtge. Electronic Registrations Sys., Inc. v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC, 9th Dist. Summit No. 23723, 2007-Ohio-6295, ¶ 9. Although the order granting summary judgment in favor of Wilmington Savings does not meet these requirements, the trial court proceeded to enter a judgment decree in foreclosure that did meet the requirements of a final judgment. It was only after the entry of that final judgment that Mr. Easley filed his appeal.

         {¶5} "When a final judgment is issued, all interlocutory orders are merged into the final judgment." Handel v. White, 9th Dist. Summit No. 21716, 2004-Ohio-1588, ¶ 8. "Any error resulting from a trial court's interlocutory order may be raised after a final judgment is entered." Ohio Edison Co. v. Havens, 9th Dist. Summit No. 13851, 1989 WL 25698, *1 (Mar. 22, ...


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