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United States v. Estate of Meredith

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

February 4, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
THE ESTATE OF WARREN MEREDITH, KNOWN AND UNKNOWN HEIRS AND DEVISEES OF WARREN MEREDITH, THE ESTATE OF JANE MEREDITH, KNOWN AND UNKNOWN HEIRS AND DEVISEES OF JANE MEREDITH, and YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Montana,, Defendants.

          JUDGMENT, DECREE OF FORECLOSURE AND ORDER OF SALE

          SUSAN P. WAITERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         This matter having been before this Court by Plaintiff, United States of America, by and through its attorney, Victoria L. Francis, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Montana, and upon considering the pleadings filed herein, it appears there is no issue of material fact, and the Court now makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. This court has jurisdiction of this action for the reason that the United States of America is the party Plaintiff under 28 U.S.C. § 1345. The real property that is the subject of this foreclosure action is located in the County of Yellowstone, State of Montana, and is described as follows:

Lot 3, Block 3, of Wells Subdivision, in the City of Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana, according to the official plat on file in the office of the Clerk and Recorder of said County, under Document No. 545839

         2. Warren and June Meredith received a Home Equity Conversion loan and mortgage/deed of trust, commonly referred to as a reverse mortgage from Intermountain Mortgage Co. Inc., on February 2, 1996. The Home Equity Conversion program was established by Congress under 12 U.S.C. § 1715 et seq. The loan and deed of trust was subsequently assigned to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). No payments on such loans are due, until all parties who signed the loan and mortgage are deceased, or have vacated the premises for one year. The loan is evidenced by a promissory note dated February 2, 1996. A true and correct copy of the promissory note is attached to the Complaint as Exhibit A.

         3. As security for the above-described loan Warren and June Meredith executed a Deed of Trust with Intermountain Mortgage Co., Inc as beneficiary on February 2, 1996. This Deed of Trust was filed for record with the Clerk and Recorder of Yellowstone County on February 8, 1996 as Document No. 1815951. The Home Equity Conversion deed of trust was insured by HUD under the National Housing Act as amended, 12 U.S.C. § 1701 et Seq. A true and correct copy of the Deed of Trust is attached to the Complaint as Exhibit B.

         4. The Adjustable Rate Home Equity Conversion Deed of Trust originally held by Intermountain Mortgage as described in paragraph 3 above was subsequently assigned by Intermountain Mortgage to Wendover Funding on February 2, 1996. The Assignment of Deed of Trust was filed with Yellowstone County Clerk and Recorder on February 8, 1996 under Document Number 1815952. Wendover Financial Services Corporation assigned the Adjustable Rate Home Equity Conversion Deed of Trust to Lehman Capital on July 16, 2001. The assignment was recorded with the Yellowstone County Clerk and Recorder's Office on August 9, 2001, as Document Number 3140876. Lehman Capital assigned the Adjustable Rate Home Equity Conversion Deed of Trust to Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corporation on August 5, 2004. The assignment was recorded with the Yellowstone County Clerk and Recorder's Office on August 30, 2004, as Document Number 3302709. Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corporation assigned the Adjustable Rate Home Equity Conversion Deed of Trust to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on August 3, 2005. The assignment was recorded with the Yellowstone County Clerk and Recorder on August 12, 2005, under Document Number 3344040. True and correct copies of all of the Assignments of the Deed of Trust are attached to the Complaint as Exhibit C.

         5. The Deeds of Trust provide as security the real property located in Yellowstone County, Montana and described as follows:

Lot 3, Block 3, of Wells Subdivision, in the City of Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana, according to the official plat on file in the office of the Clerk and Recorder of said County, under Document No. 545839

         6. Defendants, Warren and Jane Meredith, are in default under the terms of the promissory note and deed of trust described above. The Deed of Trust provides for immediate payment in full if the borrower dies or the property is not the principal residence of at least one surviving borrower. Warren Meredith passed away on November 25, 2005 and Jane Meredith passed away on May 28, 2011. Attached to the Complaint as Exhibit D are copies of the obituaries for Warren and Jane Meredith from the Billings Gazette. There is no surviving borrower. The Yellowstone County Clerk of Court was contacted and no probate action has been filed for Warren Meredith or Jane Meredith. The account was accelerated on April 20, 2018.

         7. Defendants, Warren and Jane Meredith, are indebted to the Plaintiff for the loans outlined above in the principal amount of $80, 302.52, plus accrued interest in the amount of $55, 400.08 as of April 19, 2018, plus administrative charges for payment of property tax, insurance and program fees in the amount of $16, 901.96 for a combined total of $152, 604.56 as of April 19, 2018. Interest continues to accrue from April 19, 2018, at the rate of $14.93 per day until the date of entry of judgment. Attached to the Complaint as Exhibit E is a Certificate of Indebtedness which verifies the amount due. Plaintiff seeks post-judgment interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961.

         8. Defendants, the Estate of Warren Meredith, Known and Unknown Heirs and Devisees of Warren Meredith, the Estate of Jane Meredith, Known and Unknown Heirs and Devisees of Jane Meredith, were served by Summons in the Billings Gazette pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1655, on November 23, 2018. See Dkt. No. 18. Defendants did not make an appearance. Their default was entered on December 28, 2018. (Dkt. No. 21).

         9. Kevin Gillen, Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney, executed a Waiver of Service of Summons; it was filed with the Court on August 22, 2018. (Dkt No. 5). On August 22, 2018, Defendant Yellowstone County filed a stipulation with the United States consenting to entry of judgment, decree of foreclosure, and order of sale. It was further stipulated that any judgment shall recognize the priority of the principal amount of any real property ...


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