EVERBANK ET AL. v. TOMMY J. HENSON ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 9, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

T. William A. Caldwell and David B. Herbert, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, EverBank and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.

Attorneys 2:

JoAnn T. Sandifer, pro hac vice, St. Louis, Missouri, for the appellant, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.

Tommy J. Henson and Linda S. Henson, Water Valley, Mississippi, pro se.

Glen G. Reid, Jr., Kathryn K. Van Namen, and Jordan Elliot Reifler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee Bank of Bartlett.

Michael G. Derrick and Phillip C. Bass, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wendy Geurin Smith.

Sam Blaiss, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, James K. Winter and Patsy H. Winter.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

EverBank, the assignee and current owner of a promissory note secured by a previously recorded second-priority deed of trust, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), which was identified in the second-priority deed of trust as the beneficiary of record and “nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns,” filed this action to set aside a foreclosure sale and to recover damages from the trustee acting pursuant to the first-priority deed of trust for failure to identify MERS as an interested party in the notice of the foreclosure sale as required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-104. The trial court summarily dismissed the claims against the trustee holding that the plaintiffs failed to record their interests in the property in order to put creditors or any purchasers on notice. The trial court also refused to set aside the foreclosure sale upon the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that the new owners were bona fide purchasers for value; thus, the trial court found that they acquired the property free and clear of any unrecorded interests. We have determined that MERS’ interest was of record and that the trustee had an affirmative duty to identify MERS as an interested party in the notice of the foreclosure sale pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-101 et seq., yet the trustee failed to do so. Accordingly, MERS is entitled to seek restitution from the trustee pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-107, which provides that any person referenced in Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-106 who fails to comply with this chapter is “liable to the party injured by the noncompliance, for all damages resulting from the failure.” As for setting aside the foreclosure sale, although MERS has standing to bring the claim, it failed to state a claim upon which to set aside the sale, for the mere failure of a trustee to comply with the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-101 et seq. is insufficient to set aside a foreclosure sale. We, therefore, affirm the dismissal of the claim to set aside the foreclosure sale, reverse the dismissal of MERS’ claim against the trustee to recover its damages, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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