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Wells Fargo Bank, National Association v. Rehm

Supreme Court of Montana

April 26, 2017

JAMES G. REHM and LORI A. REHM, Defendants and Appellants.

          Submitted on Briefs: March 22, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DV-12-17B Honorable Mike Salvagni, Presiding Judge

          For Appellants: James G. Rehm (Self-Represented), Lori A. Rehm (Self-Represented), Loveland, Colorado

          For Appellee: Michelle M. Sullivan, Adrian A. Miller, Holland & Hart LLP, Billings, Montana


          Mike McGrath Chief Justice

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 James G. Rehm and Lori A. Rehm (Rehm) appeal from a June 28, 2016 District Court order granting Appellees' summary judgment motion. We affirm.

         ¶3 Rehm purchased a home on January 10, 2006, obtaining a mortgage from Fremont Investment and Loan (Fremont). Rehm executed a note and Deed of Trust. Lenders Service Title Agency, Inc. was substituted as successor trustee under the Deed of Trust in June 2009. In July 2010, the Deed of Trust was assigned to plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, as Trustee for the Pooling and Servicing Agreement Dates as of July 1, 2006 Securitized Asset Backed Receivables LLC Trust 2006-FR3 Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-FR3 (Wells Fargo) as trustee.

         ¶4 Rehm defaulted on the loan in March 2009. Rehm sent a notice of intent to rescind the Note and Deed of Trust on October 2, 2009, to Fremont alleging Truth in Lending Act (TILA) violations. 15 U.S.C. § 1635; Reg. Z, 12 C.F.R. § 226. Fremont did not respond to the notice.

         ¶5 Rehm filed a lawsuit in December 2010 alleging improper foreclosure, fraud, unjust enrichment, and other violations.[1] In September 2011, Rehm filed a notice of Lis Pendens and recorded documents asserting ownership of the property at the Gallatin County Clerk's office.

         ¶6 Due to Rehm's default on the loan, a non-judicial trustee's sale was filed and recorded on August 9, 2011, with the Gallatin County Clerk's office. The property sale was set for November 7, 2011. At the sale, the property was sold to appellee Wells Fargo.[2]

         ¶7 In February 2012, Wells Fargo filed an eviction action against the Rehms. Rehm failed to appear at the hearing and a default judgment was entered.[3] In January 2012, Wells Fargo filed the current quiet title action and a quiet title action seeking to expunge the two notices of Lis Pendens filed by Rehm. Wells Fargo moved for summary judgment on December 29, 2015. Rehm filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on February 29, 2016, claiming rescission under TILA. On June 15, 2016, the District Court denied Rehm's motion and granted summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo.

         ¶8 The Montana Supreme Court reviews the granting of a motion for summary judgment de novo, using the same standards applied by the district court under M. R. Civ. P. 56. Pilgeram v. GreenPoint Mortg. Funding, Inc., 2013 MT 354, ¶ 9, 373 Mont. 1, 313 P.3d 839; In re Estate of Harmon, 2011 MT 84A, ¶ 14, 360 Mont. 150. Summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. M. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3); Roe v. City of Missoula, 2009 MT 417, ¶ 14, 354 Mont. 1, 221 P.3d 1200. Whether a court has jurisdiction is a legal conclusion, which this Court reviews de novo. Pinnow v. Montana State Fund, 2007 MT 332, ¶ 13, 340 Mont. 217, 172 P.3d 1273.

         ¶9 Rehm argues the District Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction. Montana's district courts have original jurisdiction in all civil matters and cases at law and equity. Mont. Const. Art. VII, § 4; § 3-5-302, MCA; Comm'r of Political Practices for Mont. v. Bannan, 2015 MT 220, ¶ 9, 380 Mont. 194, 354 P.3d 601. Montana courts have jurisdiction over quiet title actions regarding real estate located in Montana. Section 70-28-101, MCA; Getter v. Beckman, 236 Mont. 377, 380, 769 P.2d 714, 716 (1989). State courts have concurrent jurisdiction with federal courts to hear TILA claims. 15 U.S.C. § 1640(e); R ...

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