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.
by Defendant Mary Wood from orders entered 1 May 2018 and 6
June 2018 by Judge R. Kent Harrell in New Hanover County No.
17-CVS-573 Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 9
Manning Fulton & Skinner P.A., by Robert S. Shields, Jr.,
Office of Susan M. Keelin, PLLC, by Susan M. Keelin, for
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 2005-12's
("Plaintiff") and denying Defendant's 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 Defendant's 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 Buchanan's
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.
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
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 attorney's 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 Defendant's motion to dismiss and moved to
dismiss Defendant's 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 Plaintiff's
other claims, and (3) granting Plaintiff summary judgment as
to Defendant's counterclaims. On 10 May 2018, the trial
court entered an order which denied Defendant's motion
for sanctions but compelled Plaintiff to provide all
documents responsive to Defendant's request for
production within 30 days.
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 Plaintiff's 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
Defendant's 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
Defendant's motion, reiterating its ultimate conclusion
that it discerned no genuine issues of material fact as to
the various claims before it and that the litigants were
accordingly entitled to summary judgment as set forth in the
1 May 2018 order.
timely appealed both the 1 May 2018 and 6 June 2018 orders.