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Banking & Finance Law Report

Tag Archives: Ohio Supreme Court

Ohio Foreclosure Procedure . . . Twice the Appeal

Posted in Collection and Foreclosure, Ohio Law, Real Estate

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Ohio resolved a split of authority between the Fifth District and Seventh District regarding whether a foreclosure decree is a final appealable order when it includes unspecified amounts advanced by the mortgagee for inspections, appraisals, property protection and the like. Prior to the May 15 decision in CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Roznowski1, it was unclear whether a judgment decree of foreclosure – which typically includes unspecified amounts that may be advanced by the mortgagee prior to confirmation of the foreclosure sale for inspections, appraisals, property protection and maintenance – is a final appealable order, or whether a foreclosure defendant must wait until after the property has been sold at sheriff’s sale and the order of confirmation of sale issued before he or she may appeal.

The Supreme Court of Ohio’s decision in the CitiMortgage case establishes that there are two separate opportunities for appeal. The first opportunity arises after the trial court issues a judgment decree of foreclosure. The Court found that as long as the foreclosure decree addresses the rights of all lienholders and the responsibilities of the mortgagor – regardless whether all exact amounts for which the mortgagor is liable are set forth in the judgment order, such as interest and protective advances made or to be made by the mortgagee – the foreclosure decree constitutes a final appealable order. A party appealing a foreclosure decree may challenge “the court’s decision to grant the decree of foreclosure” and once that …


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Ohio Supreme Court to Address Issues Arising in Schwartzwald’s Wake

Posted in Collection and Foreclosure

As all professionals whose business involves the prosecution of foreclosures in Ohio almost certainly know by now, the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Schwartzwald1 provided that the foreclosing plaintiff must have standing to bring the action at the time the plaintiff files the complaint. Typically this requires the claimant to be the holder of the note and mortgage at the time it files its foreclosure complaint. The substance of the court’s holding in Schwartzwald does not leave much room for interpretation, but the actual application of the decision in practice has led to a number of procedural questions and disputes. The Supreme Court of Ohio has again stepped up and agreed to hear two specific cases where the district courts of appeal have rendered differing standards.

The first question involves the extent to which proof of standing needs to be offered at the time of filing the complaint, arising out of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Horn.2 The issue in dispute in Horn relates to whether the foreclosing plaintiff need affirmatively prove its standing at the time of filing the complaint – in other words, whether sufficient documentation needs to be attached to the complaint in order to establish standing at the time of filing, rather than having to meet that burden at a later time during the proceedings. The Eighth and Tenth District Courts of Appeal have ruled that although standing does need to exist at the time the complaint …


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PWMA Briefing on Appellate Practice

Posted in Litigation, Ohio Law, Other Articles, PWMA Practice

From time to time we like to pass along educational opportunities that may be of interest to our subscribers. I am including details on an upcoming event that members of our Appellate and Supreme Court Practice are offering on the benefits of amicus advocacy before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Too often, the Ohio Supreme Court decides issues that affect an industry statewide without first having heard from the industry itself. Trade associations and companies can fill this gap by filing “friend of the court” briefs in Supreme Court cases that affect them. To learn more about how your organization can be part of this process, please join Kathleen Trafford, Brad Hughes, and Dennis Hirsch of our Appellate Practice Group on April 8, 2014 for a breakfast briefing. Using a roundtable format, they plan to cover the benefits of amicus advocacy, strategies for effective amicus advocacy, and the rules governing “friend of the court” briefs.

REGISTER NOW

Schedule:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
7:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Registration and breakfast
8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Roundtable discussion

Location:

Porter Wright
41 S. High St., 29th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

 …


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A Certified Question About “Wrongful Attempted Foreclosure” Likely To Be Left Unanswered For Now

Posted in Ohio Law

On May 2, we reported here on a trifecta of noteworthy lending cases that were accepted for review by the Ohio Supreme Court.  One of the three cases discussed in that post, Corbett v. Beneficial Ohio, Inc., is a certified-question case from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in which District Judge Rice asked the Ohio Supreme Court whether the State of Ohio recognized a cause of action for “wrongful attempted foreclosure” and, if so, what the elements of such a tort are.  Last week, however, the parties to the underlying federal case filed a joint motion in the Ohio Supreme Court, asking that the certified question be withdrawn due to settlement and Rule 41(a) dismissal of the federal suit.  Given this development, and the fact that the Supreme Court answers certified questions that “may be determinative of the [federal] proceeding,” S.Ct.Prac.R. 18.1, the status of this tort in Ohio is likely to remain an open question for the time being.  Stay tuned to the Banking & Finance Law Report for any further developments.…


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An Ohio Supreme Court “Trifecta” of Noteworthy Lending Cases on the Docket

Posted in Ohio Law

At the end of April, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear three notable cases that readers of this blog may wish to monitor – or perhaps even participate in as amici curiae. First, the Court has agreed to resolve a conflict among Ohio’s appellate districts regarding whether the Statute of Frauds precludes a foreclosure defendant from asserting an oral forbearance agreement as a defense. Next, the Court has agreed to answer a question certified from federal court as to whether Ohio recognizes the tort of “wrongful attempted foreclosure.” Third, the Court has agreed to hear a payday-lending case that has attracted media attention, concerning the interplay between Ohio’s Mortgage Lending Act and the more recent Short-Term Lender Law. For additional information about these three cases, read more here.…


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Ohio Supreme Court Frowns On Constructive Notice Via Website Of Sheriff’s Sale

Posted in Real Estate

On May 17, 2012, this blog reported on the oral arguments in PHH Mortgage v. Prater, a case from Clermont County, Ohio regarding the extent to which an internet website may (or may not) be constitutionally adequate notice of a sheriff’s sale.

Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in favor of the mortgage company, reversing the court of appeals and holding that “constructive notice by publication to a party with a property interest in a foreclosure proceeding via a sheriff’s office website is insufficient to constitute due process when that party’s address is known or easily ascertainable.”

The Court’s opinion, authored by Justice Evelyn Lundberg-Stratton (who will retire at the end of this year), discusses precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court (Mullane and Mennonite Bd. of Missions) and the Ohio Supreme Court (Central Trust Co.), as well as more recent authority from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (McCluskey v. Belford High School, E.D. Mich. No. 2:09-14345, 2010 WL 2696599 [June 24, 2009]) to conclude that the sheriff’s internet notice procedure impermissibly “shifts the burden of notification from the sheriff’s office to the persons to whom the notice is directed. *** While we understand the interest in using technology to conserve resources, we find that notice by Internet posting is more akin to publication in a newspaper, and due process demands more in this instance.” PHH Mortgage, 2012-Ohio-3931, ¶ 16.…


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Ohio Supreme Court Rules On The Enforcement Of Non-Compete Agreements By The Surviving Company In A Merger

Posted in Labor Law

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on May 24, 2012, that following a merger the surviving company may not be able to enforce employees’ non-compete agreements where the agreements fail to contain an assignment clause and the time period of the employees’ non-competes began to run as of the date of the merger.

In Acordia of Ohio, L.L.C. v. Fishel et al., the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a merger causes the original corporate party to non-compete agreements to cease to exist, while the surviving company takes ownership of the agreements. But where the non-compete agreement fails to contain an assignment clause, the surviving company may not enforce the non-compete agreement as if it “stepped into the shoes” of the company that had originally contracted with the employees. Although the employees’ non-compete agreements transferred automatically by operation of law to the surviving company, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the non-compete agreements at issue provided only that the employees would avoid competition following their termination from the specific company identified in the non-compete agreements. Because the non-compete agreements did not state they could be assigned or would carry over to a successor, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the named parties intended the agreements to operate only between themselves — the employees and the specific employer. According to the Acordia decision, the termination of the employees’ employment with the original company was triggered by the merger, which commenced the running of the non-compete periods. These periods expired on their


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Ohio Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments Regarding Adequacy of “Website Notice” of Sheriff Sales

Posted in Real Estate

On May 23, the Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an appeal by PHH Mortgage Corporation that concerns whether a sheriff’s website can provide constitutionally sufficient notice of the date, time, and location of a sheriff’s sale of foreclosed property. Real estate lenders of all sorts will be interested in the outcome which has important implications for foreclosure proceedings.

Nearly two decades ago, in Central Trust Co. v. Jensen, 67 Ohio St.3d 140 (1993), the Supreme Court held that notice by mail or other “equally reliable” means is a constitutional prerequisite to a proceeding that adversely affects a party’s property interests, when the interest holder’s address is known or easily ascertainable. The PHH Mortgage Corp. case tests that principle in the Internet age.

In PHH Mortgage, the mortgage company (“PHH”) filed a foreclosure action in April 2008, and the trial court’s final judgment in favor of the company was entered the following September. The property was then to be sold through the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office. On three occasions in 2009, the order of sale was withdrawn. On each of these occasions, PHH was notified by mail of the date and time for the sale. The trial court scheduled a fourth sale for April 2010. But PHH did not receive notice by mail of this sale, because at some point before then the sheriff’s office (due to budget constraints) had stopped sending notice by mail of upcoming sales, and began publishing the sale dates on its website. So, even though PHH intended to bid on …


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