CITIBANK, N.A., as Trustee for WAMU Asset-Backed Certificates, WAMU Series 2007-HE2 Trust, Plaintiff and Appellee,
PHILIP J. SLAGTER; UBON SLAGTER, Defendants and Appellants.
Submitted on Briefs: March 29, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Twenty-First Judicial District,
In and For the County of Ravalli, Cause No. DV-15-333
Honorable James A. Haynes, Presiding Judge
Appellants: Philip J. Slagter (Self-Represented), and Ubon
Slagter (Self-Represented), Corvallis, Montana
Appellee: Cassie R. Dellwo, Mackoff Kellogg Law Firm,
Dickinson, North Dakota
McGrath Chief Justice
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
Philip J. Slagter and Ubon Slagter (the Slagters) appeal from
an August 16, 2016 District Court order granting
Citibank's motion for summary judgment. We affirm.
On December 12, 2006, the Slagters executed a Deed of Trust
conveying an interest in real property to the Trustee,
Washington Mutual Bank, to secure a mortgage. Citibank, N.A.
as Trustee for WAMU Asset-Backed Certificates, WAMU Series
2007-HE2 Trust (Citibank) succeeded Washington Mutual Bank as
beneficiary of the Deed of Trust.
The Slagters defaulted on the loan on January 1, 2008.
Citibank initiated non-judicial foreclosure proceedings. On
October 23, 2013, Citibank purchased the property at public
In 2013, the Slagters filed a complaint against Citibank
seeking to void the foreclosure based on lack of standing,
misrepresentation, no default, and invalidity of the deed of
trust. Citibank filed a motion to dismiss under Montana Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Slagters failed to file a
response and the District Court dismissed the complaint with
prejudice on December 16, 2013. The Slagters filed a notice
of appeal to this Court, which affirmed the District
Court's dismissal of Slagters' complaint on October
On August 25, 2015, Citibank filed a motion for possession of
the real property. The Slagters responded with a motion to
dismiss and a motion to strike. The court ordered the
Slagters to respond to Citibank's motion. The Slagters
filed an answer and counterclaim asserting Citibank is an
unregistered foreign trust and the deed of trust was void.
Citibank then filed a motion for summary judgment. The
Slagters responded but failed to cite any evidence in the
record or file any affidavit in opposition to Citibank's
motion. The District Court gave the Slagters time to respond
appropriately, which they did on July 8, 2016, with the
affidavit of Phillip Slagter. The affidavit did not set forth
any evidence that Citibank failed to provide sufficient
notice to vacate the property or specific reasons they could
not present facts essential to their opposition. The District
Court granted Citibank's motion for summary judgment on
August 16, 2016.
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, 253 P.3d
821. 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. Mont. State Fund,
2007 MT 332, ¶ 13, 340 Mont. 217, 172 P.3d 1273.
The Slagters argue 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(1), MCA; Comm'r of Political Practices
for Mont. v. Bannan, 2015 MT 220, ¶ 9, 380
Mont. 194, 354 P.3d 601. An action for possession of real
property located in Montana is a civil matter. Section
70-27-101, MCA. The District Court had jurisdiction.
The Slagters argue Citibank did not have standing to bring
this action. To determine if Citibank had standing, this
Court must determine whether it was a proper party to request
an adjudication of the unlawful detainer action. Geil v.
Missoula Irrigation Dist., 2002 MT 269, ¶ 27, 312
Mont. 320, 59 P.3d 398 (citing Gryczan v. State, 283
Mont. 433, 442, 942 P.2d 112, 118 (1997)). Citibank purchased
the property at a valid trustee's sale. As owner of the
property, Citibank ...