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Williams v. US Bank Trust, N.A.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 28, 2017

FRANKLIN N. WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
US BANK TRUST, N.A., AS TRUSTEE FOR LSF8 MASTER PARTICIPATION TRUST AS ASSIGNEE OF MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEM, INC., NOMINEE FOR AMERITRUST MORTGAGE COMPANY APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/14/2016

         PEARL RIVER COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. M. RONALD DOLEAC JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BRILEY RICHMOND

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: GENE D. BERRY

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. Franklin Williams defaulted on a promissory note and deed of trust. U.S. Bank Trust foreclosed the deed of trust and received a substitute trustee's deed. The Bank later discovered that the property description in both Williams's deed and the purchase money deed of trust contained errors.

         ¶2. U.S. Bank filed for a declaratory judgment and reformation of its deed of trust to correspond with the corrected description contained in Williams's deed, and thus allow it to proceed with foreclosure. The Pearl River County Chancery Court granted summary judgment to U.S. Bank, and Williams appeals. We find no error and affirm.

         FACTS

         ¶3. In November 2003, Dan Boone Custom Homes Inc. acquired title to a ten-acre tract in Pearl River County. On February 23, 2004, Boone deeded five acres (including a house) to Williams. The warranty deed to Williams incorrectly referenced Section 26 instead of Section 27, but the indexing instruction properly referred to Section 27. The deed also referenced Stone County rather than Pearl River County, though it was filed in the Pearl River County Chancery Clerk's land deed records. Discovering the error, Williams obtained a quitclaim deed from Boone with a corrected description. The corrected quitclaim deed was filed with a survey of the five-acre tract, done by Hattaway Engineering, as an attachment. The survey described two five-acre parcels, identified as Parcels A and B. Parcel B was conveyed to Williams. Boone retained Parcel A, which it later sold.

         ¶4. At the time of purchase, Williams had executed a promissory note to Ameritrust Mortgage Company for $106, 000. The note was secured by a purchase money deed of trust in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., nominee for Ameritrust. The deed of trust contained the same errors in the property description that were in Williams's original deed.

         ¶5. After Parcel B was conveyed to Williams, Boone mistakenly used the legal description for the entire ten acres to convey Parcel A, creating a conflict with Williams's deed. The conflict was corrected by subsequent deeds in the chain of title of both Parcels A and B. These two deeds, along with the original corrective deed, confirm the final legal description of the Parcel B five-acre tract which had been purchased by Williams.

         ¶6. Ten years later, Williams defaulted on the promissory note. The erroneous deed of trust was noticed for a foreclosure sale on October 9, 2014. At that sale, U.S. Bank made a credit bid, and a substitute trustee's deed - with the erroneous description - was executed to U.S. Bank. When Williams failed to relinquish possession, U.S. Bank filed suit in the Pearl River County County Court. Williams defended alleging that the foreclosure was invalid because the deed of trust contained errors. With the consent of the parties, the county court dismissed the Bank's suit without prejudice.

         ¶7. U.S. Bank then filed this action in the Pearl River County Chancery Court for reformation of the deed of trust to correct the property description to match that of Williams's corrected deed. As part of its motion for summary judgment, U.S. Bank attached an affidavit from David Lopez as ...


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