from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No.
McGlinchey Stafford, Bryan T Kostura, and Melany K.
Fontanazza; Havens Unlimited and Adam M. Schwartz; Manley
Deask Kochalski and Kyle E. Timken, for rappelled.
Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Scott E. Torguson, and Tabitha
M. Woodruff, for appellant Melissa L. Seymour.
M. Schwartz and Brooke T Bautista.
1} Defendant-appellant, Melissa L. Seymour, appeals
a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
ordering the reformation of a mortgage and granting the
foreclosure sought by plaintiff-appellee, Bank of America,
NA. Additionally, Bank of America cross-appeals from the same
judgment. For the following reasons, we reverse that judgment
and remand this matter to the trial court.
2} Melissa has resided at 4648 Faith Avenue in
Whitehall, Ohio, for her entire life. Originally,
Melissa's parents owned the Faith Avenue property. When
Melissa's father died in 1996, the house became the
property of Melissa's mother, Joan Seymour.
3} On February 18, 2004, Joan executed a deed that
conveyed the Faith Avenue property to herself and her
daughter as "joint tenants with rights of
survivorship." (Pl.'s Ex. H.) This deed was recorded
with the Franklin County Recorder on March 5, 2004.
4} In December 2006, Joan Seymour executed a note
promising to pay $107, 850, plus interest, to her lender,
Bank of America. Melissa did not sign the note.
5} At the same time Joan entered into the note, both
Joan and Melissa executed a mortgage intended to secure the
note. In relevant part, the mortgage provides that:
This Security Instrument secures to Lender: (i) the repayment
of the Loan, and all renewals, extensions and modifications
of the Note; and (ii) the performance of Borrower's
covenants and agreements under this Security Instrument and
the Note. For this purpose, Borrower does hereby mortgage,
grant and convey to Lender the following described property
located [at] * * * 4648 Faith Avenue [in Whitehall, Ohio].
(Pl.'s Ex. B at 3.) The mortgage defines
"Borrower" to mean "Joan Seymour and Melissa
L. Seymour, her daughter, signing solely to release dower
interest." Id. at 1. Under Melissa's
signature appears the words "Melissa L. Seymour, signing
to release dower interest." Id. at 15.
6} Indisputably, Melissa did not possess a dower
interest in the Faith Avenue property. The right of dower
entitles a spouse to a life estate in one-third of the real
property acquired by the other spouse during the marriage.
R.C. 2103.02; Wells Fargo Bank, NA. v. Kessler, 10th
Dist. No. 15AP-216, 2015-Ohio-5085, ¶ 16. As Joan's
daughter, Melissa could not obtain a dower interest.
7} Melissa, however, did possess a legally
recognized interest in the Faith Avenue property. The 2004
deed created a survivorship tenancy because it conveyed to
Joan and Melissa an interest in real property for their joint
lives and then to the survivor of them. See R.C.
5302.20(A). Under the survivorship tenancy, Joan and Melissa