There have been a number of cases involving attempted foreclosures of Maine mortgages that analyzed the foreclosing mortgagee’s failure to meet the foreclosure requirements that the Law Court has spelled out several times. Perhaps the most notable case, Bank of America, N.A. v. Greenleaf, 2014 ME 89, highlighted the critical importance of the foreclosing party proving that it owned (or had sufficient rights in) both the note and the mortgage.

A recent Superior Court decision shows how difficult that might be in some cases.

In U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for LSF8 Master Participation Trust v. Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC, (Superior Court, Oxford County, Docket Number CV-15-65)(July 26, 2016), Judge Clifford refused the mortgage holder’s attempt to establish ownership of the mortgage through a quiet title action, a declaratory default judgment and a judgment on the pleadings. The plaintiff was denied on all three counts.

The plaintiff in this case was the holder of a mortgage note that was originally issued to Decision One. The plaintiff claimed that Decision One was no longer a functioning entity and, as a result, plaintiff was not able to get a written confirmation of assignment of the related mortgage, or other documentation from Decision One, that would satisfy the Greenleaf requirement. As a result, the plaintiff sought a court order, in the form of a quiet title action, to establish that it did own the mortgage and so could foreclose. The plaintiff also asked for a declaratory default judgment and a judgment on the pleadings. The Court held that a quiet title action was not available to determine the ownership of a mortgage and so denied the plaintiff’s request. The Court also denied the other two motions on the basis that the plaintiff had not submitted the required affidavit for a default judgment and that a judgment on the pleadings was available only if an answer had been filed by the other party, which was not the case.