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Tillman v. Ditech Financial, LLC

Supreme Court of Mississippi

September 13, 2018

SADIE TILLMAN BY HER NEXT FRIEND, JOE TILLMAN, JR.
v.
DITECH FINANCIAL, LLC f/k/a GREEN TREE SERVICING LLC AND JOSH ROBIN

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/06/2017

          LINCOLN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. MICHAEL M. TAYLOR TRIAL JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: CHARLES E. MILLER JEFFREY DALE RAWLINGS WILLIAM D. BOERNER BRAD RUSSELL BOERNER JOE ROBERT NORTON, IV

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CHARLES E. MILLER

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: JEFFREY DALE RAWLINGS JON JERDONE MIMS WILLIAM D. BOERNER BRAD RUSSELL BOERNER JOE ROBERT NORTON, IV

          BEFORE WALLER, C.J., MAXWELL AND ISHEE, JJ.

          ISHEE, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. These consolidated appeals involve two separate circuit-court actions (one an appeal from justice court) that were consolidated after one of the circuit-court actions was transferred to the chancery court. Sadie Tillman contested the transfer by filing a motion to reconsider in the circuit court. But the circuit court took several months to rule on the motion. When it finally did, the circuit court denied Tillman's motion to reconsider, and Tillman filed an interlocutory appeal contesting the order denying reconsideration. This Court granted interlocutory appeal. Tillman also filed an appeal of the denial of reconsideration under Rule 4 of the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure. This Court consolidated the appeals. Upon further review, however, we hold that, by operation of Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 60(c), Tillman's appeals of the motion to reconsider were untimely. As a result, we dismiss the appeals.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. With this case comes a confusing, tangled web of facts—particularly the procedural facts underlying the progression of the case through the lower courts. These facts involve two separate circuit-court actions (one of which was an appeal of a justice-court judgment) that were consolidated after one of the circuit-court actions was transferred to the chancery court. The most confusing aspect among these facts is the procedural progression of the cases. Most cases proceed in a somewhat logical order; this case did not. Due to the lack of logical coherence, the facts of this case are not well-suited for a chronological narrative.

         ¶3. Each of these actions finds its genesis in the same underlying event—the foreclosure on Sadie Tillman's house. On February 17, 2016, Josh Robin filed an action in the Lincoln County Justice Court to evict Tillman from property Robin had purchased from Ditech Financial, LLC (Ditech), in a foreclosure sale. Ditech had foreclosed on the property after Tillman was unable to continue payments. Just a couple of days after Robin filed his suit, on February 19, 2016, Tillman sued Robin and Ditech in the Lincoln County Circuit Court for wrongful foreclosure and various other causes of action.

         ¶4. On March 24, 2016, the justice court ruled in favor of Robin in his eviction action; Tillman was required to vacate the property. Tillman appealed that ruling to the circuit court. Meanwhile, also in circuit court, Ditech moved to dismiss or transfer Tillman's wrongful-foreclosure action. And on August 15, 2016, the circuit court—ruling on Ditech's motion—transferred the wrongful-foreclosure action to the Lincoln County Chancery Court. Tillman took issue with the transfer and filed a motion for reconsideration on August 25, 2016. She later filed an amended motion on September 16, 2016. Four months later, on February 6, 2017, the circuit court finally ruled on this motion and denied reconsideration.

         ¶5. But during those four months of inaction, other developments arose in both the eviction case and in the wrongful-foreclosure action. Specifically, on November 10, 2016, the circuit court, reviewing the justice court's judgment of eviction, consolidated the appeal of the eviction with the wrongful-foreclosure case. At that time, the wrongful-foreclosure case was in the chancery court. Also, before the circuit court's ruling on the motion for reconsideration, Ditech moved for summary judgment in the chancery court regarding the wrongful-foreclosure action, and the chancery court entered summary judgment in favor of Ditech on the issue of the foreclosure sale; the chancery court transferred the remaining causes of action back to the circuit court.[1]

         ¶6. All of those events occurred between the time that Tillman filed her motion for reconsideration and the time the circuit court finally ruled on the motion for reconsideration. And Tillman responded to the circuit court's denial of the motion for reconsideration and the chancery court's entry of summary judgment in favor of Ditech with numerous appeals to this Court. Nonetheless, relevant here are the two appeals Tillman filed in response to the circuit court's eventual denial of reconsideration: first, an interlocutory appeal under Mississippi Rule of ...


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