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Federal Home Loan Corporation v. Brooks

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

July 7, 2015

CHARLES BROOKS, et al., Defendants.


R. DAVID PROCTOR, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation's ("Freddie Mac") Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. #37). The Motion has been fully briefed. (Docs. #58 and 59).

I. Background

On or about February 26, 2004, the Defendants, Charles and Gwendolyn Brooks (the "Brookses") financed the purchase of certain property in Jefferson County, Alabama, 426 Delcris Drive, Birmingham, Alabama 35226, and executed a mortgage in favor of AmSouth Bank. (Doc. #37-1 at 2-22). The mortgage was subsequently transferred and assigned to a predecessor corporation to JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Doc. #37-1 at 24).

The Brookses subsequently fell behind on their mortgage payments. (Doc. #37-1). The last payment made by the Brookses was on or about December 13, 2010. (Doc. #37-1 at 4). On January 28, 2013, JP Morgan Chase foreclosed on the mortgage. (Doc. #37-1 at 2-22). At the foreclosure sale, Freddie Mac purchased the Property for $291, 160.16. (Doc. #1-1 at 5-7; Doc. #37-1 at 158-61).

Despite the foreclosure sale, the Brookses refused to vacate the property. Therefore, Freddie Mac filed a Complaint for Ejectment. (Doc. #1-1 at 3-4). The Brookses responded with a Counterclaim (which they were allowed to amend twice). On October 23, 2014, the court dismissed the Brookses' counterclaims. (Doc. #33). Therefore, the remaining claim in this case is Freddie Mac's claim for ejectment against the Brookses. (Doc. #33).

II. Standard of Review

Under Rule 56, summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party asking for summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings or filings which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once the moving party has met its burden, the Rule requires the non-moving party to go beyond the pleadings and - by pointing to affidavits, or depositions, answers to interrogatories, and/or admissions on file - designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See id. at 324.

The substantive law will identify which facts are material and which are irrelevant. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). All reasonable doubts about the facts and all justifiable inferences are resolved in favor of the non-movant. See Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993). A dispute is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See id. 249.

When faced with a "properly supported motion for summary judgment, [the non-moving party] must come forward with specific factual evidence, presenting more than mere allegations." Gargiulo v. G.M. Sales, Inc., 131 F.3d 995, 999 (11th Cir. 1997). Summary judgment is mandated "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322. "Summary judgment may be granted if the non-moving party's evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative." Sawyer v. Southwest Airlines Co., 243 F.Supp.2d 1257, 1262 (D.Kan. 2003) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 250-51).

"[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. "Essentially, the inquiry is whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is so onesided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.'" Sawyer, 243 F.Supp.2d at 1262 (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52); see also LaRoche v. Denny's, Inc., 62 F.Supp.2d 1366, 1371 (S.D. Fla. 1999) ("The law is clear... that suspicion, perception, opinion, and belief cannot be used to defeat a motion for summary judgment.").

III. Analysis

The essential elements for an ejectment action are that plaintiff "has both legal title to the property when his complaint is filed and a right to immediate possession." Muller v. Seeds, 919 So.2d 1174, 1177 (Ala. 2005) (citations omitted), overruled on other grounds by Steele v. Fed. Nat. Mortg. Ass'n, 69 So.3d 89 (Ala. 2010). "Further, if the mortgage and foreclosure deed... are produced, as well as proof of both demand for and refusal to deliver possession, then all the necessary elements of ejectment are established." Id. (omission in original) (citation omitted).

Plaintiff has presented the original note and mortgage (Doc. #37-4), evidence of default (Doc. #37-1), a foreclosure deed evidencing legal title to the property (Doc. #37-4), evidence of a demand for possession (Doc. #37-2 at 44-46), and undisputed evidence that the Brookses have refused to deliver possession. Therefore, under Ala.Code ยง 6-6-280, Freddie Mac has presented undisputed Rule 56 evidence ...

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