St. Louis County District Court File No. 69DU-CV-12-3226
Kevin T. Dobie, Usset, Weingarden & Liebo, PLLP, St. Louis Park, Minnesota (for respondent)
Shawn B. Reed, Maki & Overom, Limited, Duluth, Minnesota (for appellants)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Ross, Judge.
When a land possessor's lawsuit contesting the foreclosure purchaser's ownership interest involves no issues that are essential to the purchaser's separate eviction proceeding, the district court does not abuse its discretion by denying the possessor's motion to stay the eviction proceeding pending the outcome of the ownership litigation.
Mortgagee Deutsche Bank foreclosed the mortgage on Philip and Janet Hanson's home and bought the house at a sheriff's sale. The Hansons filed a federal lawsuit claiming Deutsche Bank's mortgage was invalid, and Deutsche Bank brought an eviction action in district court in St. Louis County. The Hansons moved to stay the eviction proceeding, arguing that their federal claims regarding the validity of their mortgage were a necessary component of their defense to Deutsche Bank's eviction action. The district court denied their motion and entered summary judgment for Deutsche Bank. Because a dispute about the validity of the mortgage is not an essential element of a defense to an eviction action, we affirm.
Philip and Janet Hanson mortgaged their long-time Duluth home to Ameriquest Mortgage Company to secure a loan of $587, 350 in April 2004 to help their son buy a house. Ameriquest recorded the mortgage and later assigned it to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company. The Hansons were unable to repay the loan, and in August 2006 Deutsche Bank foreclosed. The St. Louis County Sheriff advertised the foreclosure sale, which occurred on November 15, 2006. Deutsche Bank purchased the property.
The Hansons tried to keep ownership by filing a lawsuit in federal district court in May 2007. They alleged that Ameriquest had violated the federal Truth in Lending and Fair Credit Reporting Acts and the Minnesota Uniform Deceptive Trade Act, and they asserted breach-of-contract and unjust-enrichment claims. The Hansons sought to rescind the mortgage, and their case focused on Ameriquest's alleged failure to make various mandatory disclosures and provide required documents associated with the loan. The case presented questions of fact common to other federal cases pending against Ameriquest, so it was transferred to the Northern District of Illinois in July 2007. The Hansons' attorney withdrew from the case after the transfer, in October 2007, and the record suggests that the Hansons have taken no action in the matter since then.
Seeking to remove the Hansons from the property, Deutsche Bank filed an eviction action on November 8, 2012, more than five years after the Hansons' last apparent action in their federal suit against Ameriquest and almost six years after Deutsche Bank bought the foreclosed property. The Hansons did not redeem the mortgage during the six-month redemption period after the foreclosure sale. The sheriff therefore served notice on the Hansons, who still resided at the property, and a hearing was scheduled for January 10, 2013. Before the hearing, Deutsche Bank moved for summary judgment and a writ of recovery for the property while the Hansons moved to dismiss or stay the proceeding.
The district court found that Deutsche Bank had complied with the statutory requirements for eviction and that nothing required it to grant a stay. It therefore entered judgment in favor of Deutsche ...