Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

April 3, 2014

Ohio Court of Appeals Finds that BAC had Failed to Demonstrate that it had Standing to Accelerate the Note and Foreclose the Mortgage

By Ebube Okoli

The court in deciding BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. v. Blythe, 2013-Ohio-5775 (Ohio Ct. App., Columbiana County, 2013) reversed the lower court’s judgment.

Appellant Walter J. Blythe appealed the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of Appellee, BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., in this foreclosure action.

Blythe challenged the lower court’s finding that BAC Home Loans Servicing had standing to foreclose in the absence of evidence that BAC was the holder of the note creating the obligation. Blythe relied on the material submitted by BAC in support of this claim. Because the copy of the note filed by BAC was specifically indorsed to Countrywide Bank, FSB, not BAC, and there was nothing to indicate otherwise, BAC had failed to demonstrate that it had standing to accelerate the note and foreclose the mortgage. Thus this court reversed the judgment of the lower court and dismissed the suit for lack of standing.

This court held that a note that had been specially indorsed to a bank under R.C. 1303.25(A) could not be enforced by a loan servicing company (LSC) that was not the transferee or successor in interest of the bank. This court also held that the LSC was not the holder of the note under R.C. 1303.32(A)(1) by virtue of the merger of the bank and a national association (NA). Further, the LSC was not a non-holder in possession entitled to enforce under R.C. 1303.31 as it had not acquired the bank’s right to the note under R.C. 1303.21.

This court noted that even if the NA had filed the foreclosure suit, there was no evidence of the transaction, merger, or mergers that gave rise to an its interest in the note. Lastly, the court held that the note was not bearer paper and could only be enforced by the bank since the note was payable to the bank, as such the bank was the real party in interest in the foreclosure action. Thus the LSC lacked standing to foreclose.

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