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COA reverses in foreclosure dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a couple’s motion for relief from judgment and request for attorney fees in a foreclosure dispute, finding the couple established the party seeking to foreclose on their property acted in bad faith.

Through a business transaction, John Nowak gave Brett Gibson a promissory note in the amount of $350,000 for stock. To secure payment of the note, Nowak granted Gibson a second mortgage against his home in Indianapolis and against his vacation property in Michigan. Irwin Mortgage Corp. held a prior mortgage on the Indiana real estate. Nowak sold the Indiana property six months later to Thomas and Elizabeth Neu. A title search did not reveal Gibson’s mortgage on the property.

Nowak defaulted on the promissory note to Gibson, so Gibson sought to foreclose on the Indiana and Michigan properties. Gibson obtained a judgment foreclosure in the Michigan case and purchased the property at a public auction. When Gibson filed a motion in 2007 requesting the Indiana trial court grant him a foreclosure judgment against the Neus’ property, he mentioned the Michigan property but did not say that a sheriff’s sale had taken place and he was the winning bidder.

The Indiana trial court eventually entered a judgment of foreclosure against the Indiana property in favor of Gibson for more than $380,000 plus interest, attorney fees and costs. The trial court also denied the Neus’ request for a sheriff’s sale. The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed. The Neus then filed a motion for relief from judgment and for attorney fees, asking the court to deem Gibson’s foreclosure decree fully satisfied because Gibson had reduced his promissory note to judgment in Michigan and bid the full amount of that judgment to acquire his Michigan collateral at a sheriff’s sale.

After deducting the amount of Gibson’s bid to purchase the Michigan real estate, the trial court ordered the balance due on his judgment was $74,716.

In Thomas A. Neu and Elizabeth A. Neu, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Brett Gibson, No. 49A02-1109-MF-842, the appellate court found that the proceedings dealing with the Indiana property became fully satisfied when Gibson got the foreclosure judgment on the Michigan property and submitted a full credit bid based on the same promissory note that was the basis of the Indiana foreclosure proceedings. The judges also found the Neus established bad faith when Gibson failed to disclose the Michigan foreclosure judgment and sheriff’s sale. They ordered the trial court determine reasonable attorney fees in favor of the Neus starting from Aug. 8, 2007, the date of the Michigan sheriff’s sale.


 

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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