Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff-Appellee,
TERRENCE ROBINSON, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants.
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
McGlinchey Stafford, and James W. Sandy, for appellee.
Wood, for appellants.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, J.
1} Defendants-appellants, Terrence and Kelene Robinson
(collectively "the Robinsons") appeal the trial
court's decision granting a decree of foreclosure in
favor of U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for the
Holders of the Specialty Underwriting and Residential Finance
Trust Mortgage Loan Asset-Backed Certificates, Series
2007-BCI ("U.S. Bank"). For the reasons that
follow, we affirm the trial court's decision.
2} In 2006, Terrence Robinson ("Terrence") executed
a note in the amount of $368, 000 in favor of FMF Capital,
L.L.C. ("FMF Capital") to secure funds used to
purchase property located on Tinkers Valley Drive in
Glenwillow, Ohio. The Note contains an allonge with an
endorsement in blank from FMF Capital.
3} In order to secure payment on the note, the Robinsons
jointly executed a mortgage in favor of Mortgage Electronic
Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS") as mortgagee
and nominee for FMF Capital, and its successors and assigns.
The mortgage was recorded on October 4, 2006. On July 24,
2007, MERS, as nominee for FMF Capital, its successors and
assigns, assigned the mortgage to U.S. Bank, National
Association as Trustee for the MLMI SURF Trust Series,
2007-BC1 ("original assignment"). On May 23, 2014,
a corrective assignment was executed by MERS as nominee for
FMF Capital, its successors and assigns, to U.S. Bank
("corrective assignment"). The corrective
assignment provides that it was "being recorded to
clarify the full name of the assignee" on the original
4} In 2015, U.S. Bank initiated a foreclosure action against
the Robinsons alleging that Terrence had defaulted under the
terms of the note and failed to make monthly mortgage
payments. Due to the default, U.S. Bank alleged that it was
entitled to foreclose on its mortgage interest. Because
Terrence's obligation on the note was discharged through
a 2008 bankruptcy, U.S. Bank did not seek a personal monetary
judgment against Terrence. Nevertheless, the trial court
granted summary judgment in favor of the Robinsons finding
that any action on the note, including foreclosure on the
mortgage, was time-barred.
5} U.S. Bank appealed this decision contending that enforcing
the debt obligation under the note and foreclosing on the
property are separate and distinct causes of action. US.
Bank v. Robinson, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 105067,
2019-Ohio-5585 ("Robinson I "). This court
agreed, concluding that U.S. Bank can maintain an action in
equity to enforce its mortgage lien on the Robinsons'
real property for the unsatisfied debt. Id. at
¶ 13. "U.S. Bank is entitled to maintain an action
in foreclosure to secure its interest as the mortgagee - upon
default, legal title to the mortgaged property passes to the
mortgagee as between the mortgagor and mortgagee.'"
Id. at ¶ 8, quoting Deutsche Bank Natl.
Trust Co. v. Holden, 147 Ohio St.3d 85, 2016-Ohio-4603,
60 N.E.3d 1243, ¶ 23. Additionally, this court stated
that whether the Note was discharged in bankruptcy or barred
by the relevant statute-of-limitations period to pursue a
judgment on the note had no effect on whether U.S. Bank could
foreclose on the mortgage. Robinson I at ¶ 8,
11. Accordingly, this court reversed the trial court's
decision and remanded the matter for further proceedings.
6} On remand, a magistrate conducted a bench trial on U.S.
Bank's foreclosure action and subsequently issued a
decision in favor of U.S. Bank's claim. The Robinsons
filed timely objections. The trial court denied the
objections, adopted the magistrate's decision, and
entered judgment in favor of U.S. Bank on its mortgage
interest and ordering a decree of foreclosure. The
proceedings were stayed pending appeal.
7} The Robinsons now appeal contending in their sole
assignment of error that "the trial court erred in
finding that [the Robinsons were] liable for a default on the
Standard of Review
8} In reviewing a civil appeal from a bench trial, this court
applies a "manifest weight standard of review."
Benton Village Condominium Owners Assn. v. Bridge,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 106892, 2018-Ohio-4896, ¶ 13. A
reviewing court "will not reverse the judgment as being
against the manifest weight of the evidence if some
competent, credible evidence supports all the essential
elements of the case." Huntington Natl. Bank v.
Miller, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 14AP-586,
2016-Ohio-5860, ¶ 13, citing C.E. Morris v. Foley
Constr. Co., 54 Ohio St.2d 279, 280, 376 N.E.2d 578
(1978). Further, "[i]n determining whether a civil
judgment is against the manifest weight of the evidence, an
appellate court is guided by a presumption that the findings
of the trial court are correct." Id., citing
Seasons Coal Co., Inc. v. Cleveland, 10 Ohio St.3d
77, 80, 461 N.E.2d 1273 (1984).
Law of the Case
9} In Robinson I, this court held that although
Terrence's personal obligation under the note was
discharged through a bankruptcy proceeding, U.S. Bank could
maintain an action to enforce its mortgage lien on the
property for the unsatisfied debt. Robinson I, 8th
Dist. Cuyahoga No. 105067, 2017-Ohio-5585, ¶ 13. This
court also specifically concluded that any statute of
limitations prohibiting enforcement of the note had no
application on enforcing the mortgage lien on the property.
Id. at ¶ 11. Accordingly, the law of the case
is that U.S. Bank may pursue its foreclosure action against
the Robinsons. Any argument raised in this appeal by the
Robinsons on this issue is barred by res judicata. The only