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Vines v. Manufacturers & Traders Trust Co.

November 15, 2007

DONNA VINES, APPELLANT,
v.
MANUFACTURERS & TRADERS TRUST COMPANY, ET AL., APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CAB1060-05) (Hon. Neal E. Kravitz, Trial Judge).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reid, Associate Judge

Argued October 4, 2007

Before REID and KRAMER, Associate Judges, and NEBEKER, Senior Judge.

Appellee, D.C. Properties ("DC Properties"), purchased a condominium unit after appellee, Allfirst Bank (replaced here by Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company ("M&T")), foreclosed on the unit, then owned by appellant, Donna Vines. Ms. Vines seeks to overturn judgment orders of the trial court (1) striking her plea of title and granting possession of the condominium unit to DC Properties; and (2) granting summary judgment to M&T on her third-party complaint alleging wrongful foreclosure. We hold that (1) under our appellate rules, we lack jurisdiction over the trial court's first judgment order because Ms. Vines failed to designate it as an order being appealed; and (2) with respect to the second judgment order, summary judgment in favor of M&T was proper because, as a matter of law, Ms. Vines cannot prevail on her wrongful foreclosure complaint.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

The record shows that Ms. Vines obtained a mortgage from Allfirst Bank ("Allfirst") and purchased a condominium unit, located in the Northeast quadrant of the District of Columbia, on June 14, 2000. Under the Note which she signed, Ms. Vines promised to pay Allfirst the monthly sum of $1,087.01, beginning on August 1, 2000. However, an affidavit (dated January 19, 2006) from Steven Patrick, a representative of the company which managed Ms. Vines' loan, revealed only three payments during the period between August 1, 2000, and March 28, 2002: (1) $1,267.26 on September 29, 2000; (2) $632.00 on October 30, 2000; and (3) 446.50 on October 10, 2001.

The Note signed by Ms. Vines contained a Notice of Default Clause in Paragraph 6 (C) which specified:

If I am in default, the Note Holder may send me a written notice telling me that if I do not pay the overdue amount by a certain date, the Note Holder may require me to pay immediately the full amount of principal which has not been paid and all the interest that I owe on that amount. That date must be at least 30 days after the date on which the notice is delivered or mailed to me.

And, Paragraph 6 (D) consisted of a No Waiver By Note Holder provision:

Even if, at a time when I am in default, the Note Holder does not require me to pay immediately in full as described above, the Note Holder will still have the right to do so if I am in default at a later time.

Paragraph 21 of the Deed of Trust, which secured Ms. Vines' Note, set forth acceleration remedies and reads, in part:

Lender shall give notice to Borrower prior to acceleration following Borrower's breach of any covenant or agreement in this Security Instrument (but not prior to acceleration under Paragraph 17 unless applicable law provides otherwise). The notice shall specify: (a) the default; (b) the action required to cure the default; (c) a date, not less than 30 days from the date the notice is given to the Borrower, by which the default must be cured; and (d) that failure to cure the default on or before the date specified in the notice may result in acceleration of the sum secured by this Security Instrument and sale of the Property. The notice shall further inform Borrower of the right to reinstate after acceleration and the right to bring a court action to assert the non-existence of a default or any other defenses of Borrower to acceleration and sale. If the default is not cured on or before the date specified in the notice, Lender, at its option, may require immediate payment in full of all sums secured by this Security Instrument without further demand and may invoke the power of sale and any other remedies permitted by applicable law . . . .

In accordance with Ms. Vines' Note and the Deed of Trust, Allfirst sent her a notice of default on December 12, 2000, indicating that her loan was in default, stating her delinquency in dollars, as well as the "[t]he total due to cure default and bring [her] loan current as of January 11, 2001." The notice also warned that her loan was subject to acceleration if she did not pay the delinquent amount, and further informed her of the sums due by December 31, 2000, and January 11, 2001, to avoid acceleration. In addition, the notice advised Ms. Vines of her rights.

Subsequently, on March 16, 2001, Ms. Vines filed a Chapter 13 petition for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia. An automatic stay of all proceedings against her ...


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