Wells Fargo Delaware Trust Co. v. Parks | OH Appeals Court - Standing is a jurisdictional matter and, therefore, must be established at the time the complaint is filed

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Wells Fargo Delaware Trust Co. v. Parks | OH Appeals Court – Standing is a jurisdictional matter and, therefore, must be established at the time the complaint is filed

Wells Fargo Delaware Trust Co. v. Parks | OH Appeals Court – Standing is a jurisdictional matter and, therefore, must be established at the time the complaint is filed

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT

STATE OF OHIO
COUNTY OF LORAIN

WELLS FARGO DELAWARE TRUST
CO.
Appellee

v.

THOMAS D. PARKS, et al.
Appellants

C.A. No. 12CA010193

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT
ENTERED IN THE
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO
CASE No. 05 CV 144283

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
Dated: February 11, 2013

WHITMORE, Judge.

{¶1} Appellant, Thomas Parks, appeals from the judgment of the Lorain County Court
of Common Pleas, denying his motion for relief from judgment. This Court reverses.

I

{¶2} On August 20, 1998, Thomas and Darlene Parks appear to have executed a
mortgage, and a corresponding promissory note, in favor of Creative Mortgage Solutions.1
Creative Mortgage Solutions assigned the mortgage to ContiMortgage Corporation, and, in June
2005, ContiMortgage assigned the mortgage to “Wells Fargo Delaware Trust Company, as
Trustee for Ellington Acquisition Trust 2005-1.”

{¶3} On November 28, 2005, CitiBank, N.A. as trustee for the registered holders of the
Ellington Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-1, Asset-backed Certificates Series 2005-1-1, filed a
complaint for foreclosure against Parks. Attached to the complaint was a copy of the 1998
promissory note executed by Parks in favor of Creative Mortgage Solutions. No documentation
was attached to the complaint to show CitiBank or Ellington Mortgage Loan Trust had obtained
an interest in the promissory note.

{¶4} Parks did not answer the complaint, and the court entered a judgment against him
in April 2006. The house was sold to CitiBank at a sheriff’s sale in June 2006. Parks
subsequently filed a motion to vacate the judgment, which the court ultimately granted. The
court ordered the sale vacated in January 2007. Parks, through counsel, then filed an answer to
the complaint.

{¶5} In April 2008, CitiBank requested the court substitute Wells Fargo as the plaintiff,
attaching the 2005 assignment of the mortgage from ContiMortgage to Wells Fargo as trustee for
the “Ellington Acquisition Trust 2005-1.” The court granted the substitution. Subsequently,
Parks filed a motion to substitute plaintiff for Regions Mortgage, another entity he believed
owned the mortgage, arguing that neither Wells Fargo nor CitiBank had standing to bring the
foreclosure action. The court denied his motion.

{¶6} In May 2010, Wells Fargo filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court
granted. No appeal was filed. Parks filed a motion for relief from judgment. The court denied
his motion without a hearing on February 10, 2012. Parks now appeals and raises three
assignments of error for our review. To facilitate the analysis, we combine the assignments of
error.

II

Assignment of Error Number One
THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND/OR OTHERWISE
ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT THOMAS PARKS’ MOTION FOR
RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT SINCE PARKS DEMONSTRATED THE
FOLLOWING: (1) EXCUSABLE NEGLECT AND/OR ANY OTHER REASON
JUSTIFYING RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT; (2) VALID DEFENSES TO THE
PLAINTIFF’S CLAIMS; AND (3) [HAD] MOVED FOR RELIEF IN A
REASONABLE TIME AFTER THE JUDGMENT.

Assignment of Error Number Two
THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND/OR OTHERWISE
ERRED IN OVERRULING APPELLANT THOMAS PARKS’ MOTION IN
THE ABSENCE OF A FACTUAL DETERMINATION OF THE ALLEGED
GROUNDS AND BY FAILING TO CONDUCT AN EVIDENTIARY
HEARING UPON PARKS’ REQUEST.

Assignment of Error Number Three
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN: (1) ALLOWING SUBSTITUTE PLAINTIFF
WELLS FARGO TO FILE A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WITHOUT GRANTING LEAVE PURSUANT TO THE BRIEFING
SCHEDULE ON JULY 20, 2007, OVER TWO YEARS AFTER THE
DISPOSITIVE MOTION DEADLINE; (2) BY FAILING TO SET AN
UPDATED BRIEFING SCHEDULE; AND (3) IN RULING ON PLAINTIFF
WELLS FARGO’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PRIOR TO THE
EXPIRATION OF TIME REQUIRED FOR APPELLANT THOMAS PARKS’
(SIC) TO FILE A BRIEF IN OPPOSITION UNDER BOTH CIV.R. 56 AND
LOCAL RULE 9(I) OF THE LORAIN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON
PLEAS.

{¶7} In his brief, Parks argues, among other things, that CitiBank did not have standing
to file the foreclosure action against him because CitiBank was not the holder of the note. The
Ohio Supreme Court recently held, in Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 134 Ohio
St.3d 13, 2012-Ohio-5017, that a plaintiff must have a valid assignment of the mortgage at the
time of the filing of the complaint. “The Ohio Constitution provides in Article IV, Section 4(B):
‘The courts of common pleas and divisions thereof shall have such original jurisdiction over all
justiciable matters and such powers of review of proceedings of administrative officers and
agencies as may be provided by law.’” (Emphasis sic.) Schwartzwald at ¶ 20.

Whether a party has a sufficient stake in an otherwise justiciable controversy to
obtain judicial resolution of that controversy is what has traditionally been
referred to as the question of standing to sue. Where the party does not rely on
any specific statute authorizing invocation of the judicial process, the question of
standing depends on whether the party has alleged * * * a personal stake in the
outcome of the controversy.

(Internal quotations omitted.) Id. at ¶ 21, quoting Cleveland v. Shaker Hts., 30 Ohio St.3d 49, 51
(1987). Standing is a jurisdictional matter and, therefore, must be established at the time the
complaint is filed. Schwartzwald at ¶ 24.

{¶8} If, at the commencement of the action, a plaintiff does not have standing to invoke
the court’s jurisdiction, the “common pleas court cannot substitute a real party in interest for
another party if no party with standing has invoked its jurisdiction in the first instance.” Id. at ¶
38. “The lack of standing at the commencement of a foreclosure action requires dismissal of the
complaint; however, that dismissal is not an adjudication on the merits and is therefore without
prejudice.” Id. at ¶ 40.

{¶9} In light of the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision, we reverse and remand the
case so that the trial court may apply Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 134 Ohio
St.3d 13, 2012-Ohio-5017. Accordingly, Parks’ assignments of error are not ripe for review, and
we decline to address them.

III

{¶10} The judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas is reversed, and the
cause is remanded for further proceedings consistent with the foregoing opinion.

Judgment reversed,
and cause remanded.

There were reasonable grounds for this appeal.

We order that a special mandate issue out of this Court, directing the Court of Common
Pleas, County of Lorain, State of Ohio, to carry this judgment into execution. A certified copy of
this journal entry shall constitute the mandate, pursuant to App.R. 27.

Immediately upon the filing hereof, this document shall constitute the journal entry of
judgment, and it shall be file stamped by the Clerk of the Court of Appeals at which time the
period for review shall begin to run. App.R. 22(C). The Clerk of the Court of Appeals is
instructed to mail a notice of entry of this judgment to the parties and to make a notation of the
mailing in the docket, pursuant to App.R. 30.
Costs taxed to Appellee.

BETH WHITMORE
FOR THE COURT
BELFANCE, P. J.
CARR, J.
CONCUR.

APPEARANCES:

JOHN J. GILL, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BRADLEY TOMAN, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

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One Response to “Wells Fargo Delaware Trust Co. v. Parks | OH Appeals Court – Standing is a jurisdictional matter and, therefore, must be established at the time the complaint is filed”

  1. no names, please says:

    Well, shoot, folks, if that–having an assignment in place when a foreclosure action is instituted–is the standard, then darn near who knows how many FLORIDA foreclosures would be INVALID.

    Whether or not the ASSIGNMENT was legit at the time of the foreclosure is another whole issue entirely.

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