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Rose v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 29, 2013

Hattie E. Rose, Personal Representative of the Estate of James Rose, Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
v.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Trustee for Option One Mortgage Loan Trust 1999-B Asset Backed Certificates, Series 1999-B, et al., Appellees/Cross-Appellant.

Argued February 19, 2013

Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CAR-9058-10), Hon. Anita M. Josey-Herring, Motions Judge, Hon. Anthony C. Epstein, Motions Judge.

Daniel S. Roth, with whom Kurt Berlin was on the brief, for appellant/cross-appellee, Hattie E. Rose.

S. Mohsin Reza, with whom John C. Lynch, was on the brief, for appellee/cross-appellant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Jonathan C. Ross, filed a statement for appellees/cross-appellants, Howard Bierman, Jacob Geesing, and Carrie Ward, Substitute Trustees.

Before Fisher and Easterly, Associate Judges, and Steadman, Senior Judge.

STEADMAN, SENIOR JUDGE

Wells Fargo foreclosed on a dwelling owned by the deceased husband of appellant Hattie E. Rose, the personal representative of his estate. The major issue in this appeal is whether the notice of foreclosure was defective in setting forth Wells Fargo's "address." Although Rose's argument in this regard is hardly frivolous, we conclude that the foreclosure was valid and affirm the trial court's judgment.

I.

In 1999, Rose's husband, James, received a loan from Option One Mortgage Corporation. As security for the loan, he executed a deed of trust on property located at 414 18th Street, N.E., naming the lender as beneficiary. As the trial court noted, "a series of transactions that are not relevant to any issue in this case" followed, and "Wells Fargo became the holder of the note and the owner of various rights and interests relating to the loan."

At some point, the loan fell into default. On May 5, 2010, appellant Rose received a Notice of Foreclosure on the standard form provided by the District government. The notice stated that it was from Bierman, Geesing, Ward & Wood, LLC (the law firm that was handling the foreclosure proceedings). The notice informed Rose that a foreclosure sale would occur on June 10, 2010. On the line for "Holder of the Note, " the notice read: "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Trustee for Option One Mortgage Loan Trust 1999-B Asset Backed Certificates, Series 1999-B; (877) 304-3100 c/o Bierman, Geesing, Ward & Wood, LLC, Suite 200, 4520 East West Highway Bethesda, MD 20814 301-961-6555." The notice also called for a "Person to contact to stop foreclosure sale" and listed "Howard N. Bierman, Esq." at the same address and phone number. (Although the form was not required to, and did not, identify the trustees under the deed of trust, they were in fact at that time appellees Howard Bierman, Jacob Geesing, and Carrie Ward, as substitute trustees.)[1]

Rose took no action to prevent the foreclosure sale, which took place as scheduled on June 10. Appellee 101 Geneva LLC purchased Rose's property at the foreclosure sale. A "Substitute Trustee's Deed, " dated August 10, 2010, conveyed the property from the substitute trustees to 101 Geneva, and was recorded on August 27, 2010.

Appellant Rose, as personal representative of her late husband's estate, filed this action in November 2010 seeking to void the foreclosure sale. Rose's various claims were rejected by the Superior Court in an order partially granting motion for judgment on the pleadings ...


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