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HSBC, USA, National Association v. Tuggle

Court of Appeals of Oklahoma, Division II

June 3, 2019

HSBC, USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, as Trustee for the Registered Holder of Ace Securities Corp. Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2006-NC3, Assets Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
JACK TUGGLE and BRENDA TUGGLE, Defendants/Appellants, and JOHN DOE, as Occupant of the Premises and JANE DOE, as Occupant of the Premises, Defendants.

          Mandate Issued: 07/03/2019

          APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF TULSA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA HONORABLE DANA LYNN KUEHN, TRIAL JUDGE

          John F. Heil, III, Dustin L. Perry, Carson K. Glass, HALL, ESTILL, HARDWICK, GABLE, GOLDEN & NELSON, P.C., Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Plaintiff/Appellee

          Michael W. McCoy, MCCOY LAW OFFICE, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, for Defendants/Appellants

          P. THOMAS THORNBRUGH, JUDGE

         ¶1 Jack and Brenda Tuggle (the Tuggles) appeal the district court's denial of their motions to vacate and dismiss following summary judgment against them in a mortgage foreclosure case. On review, we affirm the decisions of the district court.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 On January 14, 2016, Appellee HSBC, as trustee of the "Ace Securities Corp. Home Equity Loan Trust" (Trust), filed a petition for foreclosure alleging the Tuggles had defaulted on a mortgage. The petition included the required copy of a facially correct note demonstrating initial standing. The Tuggles responded, pro se, with what amounted to a general denial. Parts of the answer denied HSBC's standing because of a failure to follow "mandatory requirements of the applicable controlling federal regulations." The answer also denied the authenticity of the note; the proper endorsement of the note; and the claim of default. The answer was not verified. On September 3, 2016, HSBC moved for summary judgment. The summary judgment motion contained the required affidavits swearing to the authenticity of the note and the fact of default. The Tuggles did not reply to the summary judgment motion. On January 10, 2017, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of HSBC.

         ¶3 On February 9, 2017, the Tuggles, now represented, filed a "motion to vacate and to dismiss case," alleging that the six-year statute of limitations on collection after acceleration had run "on the face of the pleadings" because the note had first been declared in default and accelerated in 2010. HSBC responded, noting that a previous foreclosure based on the 2010 acceleration had been dismissed less than a year before the current foreclosure was filed, and hence it had a year to re-file pursuant to 12 O.S. § 100 before any statute of limitations became effective.

         ¶4 The Tuggles responded with an argument that HSBC was not entitled to use the savings clause because the previous foreclosure had been dismissed on the grounds that the Tuggles had reached an agreement with HSBC to become current on their mortgage payments and pay the cost of suit. Hence, the Tuggles argued, the suit had not "failed other than on the merits" and § 100 was not applicable. The district court was not convinced by this argument, and, on April 6, 2017, denied the motion to vacate and dismiss.

         ¶5 Undeterred, on August 29, 2017, the Tuggles filed a motion to "dismiss case for lack of standing," and a second motion to vacate. This motion argued (1) that the denial of HSBC's standing and the denial of the authenticity of the note pled in the Tuggles' answer created a jurisdictional question or question of fact that prevented summary judgment; and (2) a complex allegation that the judgment was obtained by fraud, because the foundational documents of the Trust prevent a mortgage and note "not transferred at the same time" being assigned to the Trust, and also imposed time limitations on the Trust accepting assets. The Tuggles argued that the Trust could not hold the note according to its rules of operation, and hence HSBC committed fraud on the court by stating that the Trust was the holder of the note. The trial court remained unconvinced, and denied this motion on December 4, 2017. The Tuggles now appeal.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶6 This matter originates in a summary judgment. Summary judgment is reviewed de novo. In this case, however, the journal entry of summary judgment was filed on January 10, 2017, and the Tuggles filed their first motion to vacate on February 9, 2017. Title 12 O.S. § 990.2 provides:

[W]hen a post-trial motion... to vacate... is filed within ten (10) days after the judgment, decree or final order is filed with the court clerk, an appeal shall not be commenced until an order ...

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