U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE FOR the HOLDER OF the SAMI II INC. BEAR STEARNS ARM TRUST, MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-12, Plaintiff,
ESTATE OF John G. WOOD, III a/k/a John G. Wood, Jr., Annette F. Wood, Edward W. Wood, and Mary G. Wood, Defendants.
in the Court of Appeals 9 May 2019.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
by Defendant Mary Wood from orders entered 1 May 2018 and 6
June 2018 by Judge R. Kent Harrell in New Hanover County
Superior Court. New Hanover County, No. 17-CVS-573
Fulton & Skinner P.A., Raleigh, by Robert S. Shields, Jr.,
Office of Susan M. Keelin, PLLC, Wilmington, by Susan M.
Keelin, for Defendant-Appellant.
Wood ("Defendant") appeals from (1) an order
granting U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for the
Holder of the SAMI II Inc. Bear Stearns Arm Trust, Mortgage
Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2005-12s
("Plaintiff") and denying Defendants motions for
summary judgment made pursuant to North Carolina Rule of
Civil Procedure 56, and (2) an order granting in part and
denying in part Defendants motion for amended findings of
fact and an amended order made pursuant to North Carolina
Rule of Civil Procedure 52. Defendant contends that the trial
court erred by granting Plaintiff summary judgment, and by
making various findings of fact and conclusions of law that
were unsupported by the evidence and erroneous. We dismiss in
part and reverse and remand in part.
April 2005, John Wood agreed to purchase real property in
Wilmington from Barbara Buchanan for $878,000. In connection
with the contemplated transaction, Alpha Mortgage Corporation
("Alpha") agreed to loan John Wood $650,000.
According to the closing attorney, Alpha conditioned the loan
upon (1) the loan being used to pay off an existing lien on
the property allegedly held by one of Buchanans
creditors and (2) the execution of a deed of
trust on the property that would give Alpha a first-lien
security interest therein. In his opinion on title, the
closing attorney averred that he represented to Alpha that
those conditions would be met, and that Alpha would have a
first-lien security interest in the entire property.
Closing took place on 17 June 2005. On that date: (1)
according to the closing attorney, Alpha made the $650,000
loan to John Wood, and the loan proceeds were applied to pay
off the existing lien on the property; (2) John Wood executed
a promissory note to Alpha for $650,000 (the
"Note"); (3) Buchanan recorded a General Warranty
Deed in the New Hanover County Register of Deeds that
transferred ownership of the property to John Wood, Annette
Wood, Edward Wood, and Defendant; and (4) John Wood and
Annette Wood executed a Deed of Trust giving Alpha a security
interest in the property, but Edward Wood and Defendant did
According to the closing attorney, the Deed of Trust should
have been executed by all four subsequent owners of the
property, but was executed only by John and Annette Wood due
to an error on the attorneys part. As a result, Edward Wood
and Defendant took their one-half combined interest in the
property unencumbered by any security interest. In December
2008, the Note went into default, and Plaintiff instituted
foreclosure proceedings on the property. The foreclosure
proceedings were dismissed as inactive in July 2012.
Wood died in December 2015, and Edward Wood quitclaimed his
interest in the property to Defendant in 2016 following their
divorce, leaving Annette Wood and Defendant each holding a
one-half undivided interest in the property.
February 2017, Plaintiff filed a verified complaint in New
Hanover County Superior Court seeking, inter alia, a
declaratory judgment quieting title to the property pursuant
to N.C. Gen. Stat. § § 1-254 and 41-10. Plaintiff filed an
amended complaint on 24 April 2017.
June 2017, Defendant filed an answer in which she generally
and specifically denied the allegations of the amended
complaint, raised a number of affirmative defenses (including
the affirmative defense of laches), made a number of
counterclaims, and moved to dismiss pursuant to N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 1A-1, Rule 12(b)(6). On 27 July 2017, Plaintiff
replied to Defendants motion to dismiss and moved to dismiss
Defendants counterclaims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). On 19
March 2018, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment pursuant to
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1A-1, Rule 56. Defendant then moved for
summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 on 13 April 2018, and on
16 April 2018 moved for sanctions pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 1A-1, Rule 37.
May 2018, the trial court entered an order (1) granting
Plaintiff summary judgment on its claim to quiet title to the
property under a theory of equitable subrogation, (2)
granting Defendant summary judgment as to Plaintiffs other
claims, and (3) granting Plaintiff summary judgment as to
Defendants counterclaims. On 10 May 2018, the trial court
entered an order which denied Defendants motion for
sanctions but compelled Plaintiff to provide all documents
responsive to Defendants request for production within 30
May 2018, Defendant filed a motion for amended and additional
findings of fact and for an amended order pursuant to N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 1A-1, Rule 52(b), essentially asking the trial
court to reverse itself and grant summary judgment for
Defendant on Plaintiffs claim to quiet title, and asking the
court to amend its findings of fact and conclusions of law in
the 1 May 2018 order.
June 2018, the trial court entered an order on Defendants
Rule 52 motion, noting that "[i]n the interest of
clarity" it would make certain additional findings of
fact and conclusions of law, but otherwise denied Defendants
motion, reiterating its ultimate conclusion that it discerned
no genuine issues of material fact as to the various claims
before it and that ...