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JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Skoda

Supreme Court of North Dakota

April 3, 2014

JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Frederick P. Skoda; Cynthia D. Skoda; Alerus Financial, N.A.; State of North Dakota; Workforce Safety and Insurance; North Star Insurance Co.; Job Service, North Dakota; First National Bank of Omaha; Discover Bank; and any person in possession, Defendants, Frederick P. Skoda, Appellant

Page 871

Appeal from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial District, the Honorable Steven L. Marquart, Judge.

Donald T. Campbell, Minneapolis, MN, for plaintiff and appellee.

Frederick P. Skoda, self-represented, Detroit Lakes, MN, defendant and appellant.

Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Page 872

McEvers, Justice.

[¶1] Frederick Skoda appeals from a summary judgment of the district court foreclosing the mortgage held by JPMorgan Chase Bank. We affirm, concluding the district court did not err in determining that no genuine issues of material fact exist and JPMorgan Chase Bank is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.

I

[¶2] JPMorgan Chase Bank is the holder of a promissory note and mortgage against Frederick Skoda. In 2001, Frederick and Cynthia Skoda executed a mortgage to secure Frederick Skoda's payment of the promissory note. The mortgage and promissory note were originally held by Alerus Financial, N.A. In 2001, the mortgage was assigned to Homeside Lending, Inc. Subsequently, the mortgage was assigned to Chase Home Finance LLC, which merged with JPMorgan Chase Bank in 2011. In 2012, the mortgage was assigned to JPMorgan Chase Bank. The mortgage included provisions for the payment of principal and interest as well as the payment in escrow for property taxes. Skoda made payments of $542.89 for the principal and interest on the mortgage but did not include the escrow payment for property taxes, an additional $168.11 per month. Skoda did not make escrow payments because he paid his property taxes on his own. In 2011, JPMorgan Chase Bank refused to accept Skoda's payments for $542.89.

[¶3] In 2012, JPMorgan Chase Bank issued notices of intent to foreclose on the mortgage alleging that Frederick and Cynthia Skoda had defaulted on the promissory note by failing to pay in full the monthly installments due under the promissory note and mortgage. JPMorgan Chase Bank filed the summons and complaint seeking foreclosure and served Frederick Skoda and all the other defendants including Cynthia Skoda; Alerus Financial, N.A.; State of North Dakota; Workforce Safety and Insurance; North Star Insurance Co.; Job Service, North Dakota; First National Bank of Omaha; and Discover Bank. Frederick Skoda answered and arguably counterclaimed; he was the only defendant to serve an answer. JPMorgan Chase Bank moved to amend the complaint, which was granted. JPMorgan Chase Bank replied to the counterclaim and requested admissions from Skoda. In 2013, Skoda requested an extension of time to respond to the request for admissions, which the district court granted. Despite the extension granted, Skoda never responded to JPMorgan Chase Bank's request for admissions. JPMorgan Chase Bank moved for summary judgment. Skoda opposed the motion for summary judgment and JPMorgan Chase Bank replied. The district court

Page 873

granted JPMorgan Chase Bank's motion for summary judgment. The district court concluded there were no genuine issues of material fact because Skoda failed to deny the allegations in his brief opposing summary judgment, and also because Skoda failed to raise any issue of genuine fact preventing summary judgment from being entered in JPMorgan Chase Bank's favor. The district court found there was no longer any genuine issue of material fact and JPMorgan Chase Bank was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Skoda appealed.

[¶4] Skoda argues genuine issues of material fact exist making summary judgment improper. Skoda contends JPMorgan Chase Bank had no right to collect escrow for property taxes because the previous mortgage holder, Homeside Lending, Inc., waived the right to collect escrow for property taxes. Skoda also argues JPMorgan Chase Bank violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. According to Skoda, he sent full principal and interest payments, but JPMorgan Chase Bank reported him as having a delinquent payment ...


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