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U.S. Bank National Association v. Gilbert

Superior Court of Delaware

November 3, 2014

U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust, Inc., Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006- WF2 assignee of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Plaintiff,
v.
Reginald A. Gilbert, Defendant.

Submitted: October 16, 2014

Upon Consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment

Daniel T. Conway, Esquire, Atlantic Law Group, LLC, Georgetown, Delaware for Plaintiff.

Dean A. Campbell, Esquire, The Law Office of Dean A. Campbell, LLC, Georgetown, Delaware for Defendant.

ORDER

Robert B. Young J.

SUMMARY

U.S. Bank N.A. ("Plaintiff") has filed a second summary judgment motion in this case seeking to foreclose upon Reginald A. Gilbert's ("Defendant") real property. Not a full year ago, this Court denied Plaintiff's first summary judgment motion. In their present briefing, both parties have essentially presented the same arguments for and against this motion as previously put before and considered by this Court. Following Delaware's cautionary approach to summary judgment motions – specifically the dictate that where further discovery may shed light upon outstanding material issues of fact, such motions should be denied – this Court withheld from granting Plaintiff's motion, suggesting additional discovery should be conducted. It appears from the record that, although the parties have engaged in some exchange of materials following the Court's previous ruling, it has been of minimal to no help with regard to the outstanding questions in this matter. However, the Court considers this to be more a reflection of the fact that such documents may simply not exist, rather than a failing of either side to conduct discovery adequately.

Upon reconsideration and review of the evidentiary record in its current state, the Court reevaluates its prior ruling, finding that Plaintiff has indeed met its burden on summary judgment. The facts of the case are rather straightforward. Defendant entered into a mortgage agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"). During the life of this agreement, Wells Fargo transferred its interest to Plaintiff. Upon Defendant's default, having failed to make the required payments, the loan was accelerated. The alleged material issue of fact in dispute, pertains to the irregularity that Wells Fargo continued to service the loan after the assignment to Plaintiff. It is Defendant's contention that this puts into question whether Plaintiff is the true holder of his debt. The Court is satisfied that, not only was Wells Fargo permitted to remain as the servicer under the mortgage agreement, but further that the governing documents indicated both its role as the servicer and that of Plaintiff as the holder of Defendant's debt. Thus, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

FACTS AND PROCEDURES

Defendant executed a mortgage loan (the "Mortgage") with Wells Fargo on January 13, 2006, pertaining to real property located at 278 Evelyndale Drive, Dover, Delaware (the "Property"). By Corporate Assignment of Mortgage (the "Assignment"), dated September 2, 2011, Wells Fargo assigned its interest in the Mortgage to Plaintiff.[1] Following Defendant's failure to pay the monthly installments under the Mortgage, Wells Fargo demanded payment on September 4, 2011 ("Demand Letter"). By communication dated November 21, 2011, Atlantic Law Group, LLC, on behalf of Wells Fargo, termed the "servicer, " informed Defendant that the Mortgage would be accelerated ("Acceleration Letter"). The Acceleration Letter also listed Plaintiff as the payee under the Mortgage.

On December 21, 2011, Plaintiff initiated the present action by filing its Complaint against Defendant, seeking to foreclose on the Property. On November 14, 2013, Plaintiff filed a summary judgment motion, which this Court denied on January 15, 2014. In so doing, this Court suggested that there were open factual questions that the parties needed to further explore through discovery. These open questions concerned, among other things, Plaintiff's proper role as the holder of the Mortgage. According to Plaintiff, discovery was initiated by Defendant on January 27, 2014, upon Plaintiff's receipt of Defendant's discovery requests. Plaintiff allegedly served its responses on Defendant on March 31, 2014. As per Plaintiff, Defendant has not made any further discovery requests or followed up on his initial requests.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is granted upon showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, where the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[2] The Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.[3] The moving party bears the burden of showing that no material issues of fact are present, but once a motion is supported by such a showing, the burden shifts ...


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