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United Guaranty Residential Insurance Co. of North Carolina v. Hall

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

September 6, 2019

UNITED GUARANTY RESIDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH CAROLINA Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
STEPHANIE HALL Defendant-Appellant

          Civil Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Trial Court Case No. 2018-CV-3378

          RACHEL J. MASON, Atty. Reg. No. 0076645, J. BLAKE THOMAS, Atty. Reg. No. 0082821, and JOSEPH M. RUWE, Atty. Reg. No. 0070141, Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellee

          STEPHANIE HALL, Defendant-Appellant, Pro Se

          OPINION

          HALL, J.

         {¶ 1} Stephanie Hall appeals pro se from the trial court's entry of summary judgment against her on appellee United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company of North Carolina's complaint to collect on a mortgage-related debt.

         {¶ 2} In her sole assignment of error, Hall contends the trial court erred in entering summary judgment against her on the debt. She argues that United Guaranty was named as a party in a 2011 foreclosure action related to her mortgage debt, that United Guaranty chose not to respond in the foreclosure action (which was filed by another lender), and that United Guaranty was in default. Hall asserts that R.C. 2329.08 precludes United Guaranty from obtaining a judgment against her now because more than two years have passed since the foreclosure action.

         {¶ 3} The record reflects that United Guaranty filed its complaint against Hall in July 2018, seeking a judgment of $21, 944.31 plus interest, which represented the amount allegedly due under a lending agreement. (Doc. # 1). Accompanying the complaint were a 2006 promissory note signed by Hall and a 2010 assignment of that note to United Guaranty. The note stated that it was secured by a second mortgage on real estate located at 5950 Algoma Street in Dayton, Ohio. Hall filed a pro se answer in which she asserted that the note held by United Guaranty had been paid off during a refinancing. (Doc. # 20). In answers to interrogatories, Hall later asserted that United Guaranty had received $1, 000 to "settle" her debt on the promissory note during a sheriff's sale of her home. (Doc. # 27).

         {¶ 4} United Guaranty moved for summary judgment in February 2019. (Doc. # 30). Accompanying the motion were an affidavit and supporting documentation detailing the history of Hall's loans, United Guaranty's promissory note and second mortgage, and the sale of her home through a sheriffs sale. United Guaranty's evidence showed that Wells Fargo, the first mortgage holder, filed a February 2010 foreclosure action against Hall and others seeking to foreclose on the Algoma Street property. The Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. ("MERS") was joined in the foreclosure action, acting solely as the nominee of the holder of the second mortgage that secured United Guaranty's note, but MERS did not appear and was found in default. United Guaranty's evidence showed that the real estate was purchased by Wells Fargo at a January 2011 sheriff's sale, and the second mortgage securing United Guaranty's note was discharged. United Guaranty presented evidence that neither it nor its predecessors in interest received any money due to the sheriff's sale or Wells Fargo's foreclosure action. United Guaranty also presented evidence that it never had refinanced the debt represented by Hall's promissory note and that it had no knowledge of any prior holders of the note ever refinancing it.

         {¶ 5} In response to the summary judgment motion, Hall appeared to acknowledge that the promissory note held by United Guaranty had not been refinanced out of existence. (Doc. #32 at 2). But she still claimed to have been "told" by someone that United Guaranty's predecessor in interest would receive $1, 000 to settle the debt. Hall suggested that United Guaranty should contact Wells Fargo to receive any additional money owed.

         {¶ 6} On April 5, 2019, the trial court filed an entry awarding United Guaranty summary judgment on its complaint. (Doc. # 39). This appeal followed.

         {¶ 7} Hall's single assignment of error states: "The trial court abused its discretion by granting the Appellee a Summary Judgment even though in 2011 Appellee was included in the foreclosure, and chose not to respond and as a result was in default EXHIBIT C. It has been more than two years O.R.C. 2329.08."

         {¶ 8} Hall's entire substantive argument is as follows:

The trial court erred by granting Appellee summary judgment. Appellee was included doing [sic] the foreclosure process in 2011, but chose not to respond. Therefore, being barred from any claim. Seven years later Appellee filed for summery [sic] judgment and was granted the judgment. The statute of limitations for recovery of a deficienct [sic] balance relating to a mortgage foreclosure is two ...

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