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Anthium, LLC v. Shelton

Superior Court of Delaware

December 4, 2019

ANTHIUM, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUISE SHELTON, as personal representative of the ESTATE OF JOSEPH WOOD, TANYA R. GLASCO, heir, REGINALD L. HARRIS, heir, IRA D. JONES, heir, TIFFANY L. MATTHEWS, heir, STACEY MCBALL, heir, LOUISE SHELTON, heir, ANNETREA L. WILKINS, heir, JOSEPH A. WOOD, heir, MYRACLE WOOD, heir, TIANNA S. WOOD, heir, Defendants.

          Submitted: November 5, 2019

         Upon Defendant Reginald L. Harris's Motion for Summary Judgment DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

         Upon Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

          Catherine Di Lorenzo, Esquire, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Plaintiff.

          Reginald L. Harris, Self-Represented Litigant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          The Honorable Andrea L. Rocanelli Judge.

         This is a scire facias sur mortgage action. Defendant Reginald L. Harris ("Harris") and Plaintiff Anthium, LLC ("Plaintiff") have submitted cross-motions for summary judgment. Harris initially filed a motion to dismiss, but because Harris submitted various supplemental materials with his motion, the Court converted Harris's motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. The parties were afforded the opportunity to present all materials pertinent to such a motion under Superior Court Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Plaintiff opposes Harris's motion. Plaintiff has filed a motion for summary judgment which Harris opposes. The other defendants in this action (collectively with Harris, "Defendants") have taken no position on the pending motions.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Harris is an heir of Joseph Wood. In 2007, Joseph Wood and Bridgette D. Hall ("Bridgette Hall") executed a home loan ("Loan") with Citifinancial, Inc. ("Citifinancial"). To secure the Loan, Joseph Wood executed a mortgage ("Mortgage"), which Joseph Wood delivered to Citifinancial. The Mortgage, which was recorded in New Castle County, granted a first priority lien on the property located at 65 Kennard Drive, Newark, Delaware 19711 ("Property") to Citifinancial. Joseph Wood is the sole mortgagor listed on the Mortgage.

         The Mortgage contains various agreements between Joseph Wood and Citifinancial. First, the parties agreed that Joseph Wood would make timely payments on the Loan and that Joseph Wood's failure to make timely payments would constitute a breach of the Mortgage and entitle Citifinancial to declare the Loan due and foreclose on the Mortgage after providing Joseph Wood with notice of the breach and an opportunity to cure. With respect to the notice and opportunity to cure, the parties agreed that the notice would specify (1) the breach; (2) the action required to cure the breach; (3) a date, not less than 10 days from the notice date, by which the breach must be cured; and (4) that a failure to cure the breach by the specified date may result in acceleration of the Loan sums, judicial foreclosure, and sale of the Property. The parties also agreed that any forbearance by Citifinancial in exercising its rights under the Mortgage would not constitute waiver of those rights or preclude Citifinancial from exercising those rights. Finally, the parties to the Mortgage agreed that the covenants and rights contained in the Mortgage would bind and inure to the parties' successors and assigns.

         Joseph Wood died without a will on December 14, 2012. At the time of his death, Joseph Wood was married to Bridgette Wood.[1] Pursuant to Delaware's intestate succession laws Bridgette Wood received a life estate in the Property and Joseph Wood's heirs received future interests in the Property.[2] In September 2015, Citifinancial assigned the Mortgage to Citifinancial Servicing, LLC, which then assigned the Mortgage to Bayview Loan Servicing, Inc. ("Bayview"). Meanwhile, Joseph Wood's estate and/or Bridgette Wood defaulted on the Mortgage by failing to make payments on the Loan. Bridgette Wood died in February 2018, at which time Joseph Wood's heirs acquired possessory interests in the Property.[3] During the pendency of this action, Bayview assigned the Mortgage to Atlantica, LLC, which then assigned the Mortgage to Plaintiff.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The Court may grant summary judgment only where the moving party can "show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."[4] The moving party bears the initial burden of proof and, once that is met, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to show that a material issue of fact exists.[5] "A fact is material if it 'might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.'"[6] "A dispute about a material fact is genuine when 'the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'"[7] Thus, the issue is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law."[8] At the motion for summary judgment phase, the Court must view the facts "in the light most favorable to the non-moving party."[9]

         DISCUSSION

         I. Harris's Motion ...


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