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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Jun 30, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Byron V. Bush, Brentwood, Tennessee, Pro se.

Attorneys 2:

M. Todd Sandahl, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant Kelly D. Bush.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

This is a post-foreclosure action in which the lender seeks to recover a deficiency judgment, interest, and the costs of collection. In their answer, the borrowers asserted that the loan was a nonrecourse debt; thus, they were not liable for the deficiency. Alternatively, they asserted that the property sold at foreclosure for an amount materially less than its fair market value. Following a bench trial, the trial court concluded that the loan was a full recourse debt as to both borrowers. This determination was based on the finding, inter alia, that all parties intended the borrowers to be personally liable. The trial court also concluded that the lender was entitled to a deficiency judgment, finding that the borrowers failed to overcome the rebuttable presumption that the foreclosure sale price was equal to the fair market value of the property at the time of the foreclosure sale. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-5-118. The trial court awarded the lender a judgment of $640,783.41, plus interest and attorney’s fees, against the borrowers jointly and severally. As the foregoing indicates, our review is benefited by the trial court’s Tenn. R. Civ. P. 52.01 findings of facts and conclusions of law, which disclose the reasoned steps by which the trial court reached its ultimate conclusion and enhance the authority of the trial court’s decision. Having reviewed the trial court’s findings of fact in accordance with Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d), we have concluded that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s findings and that the trial court identified and properly applied the applicable legal principles. For these reasons, we affirm.