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Myers v. Pennymac Corp.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

January 14, 2020

WAYNE MYERS, Appellant
v.
PENNYMAC CORPORATION, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 333rd District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2018-23761

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Landau and Hightower.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD HIGHTOWER, JUSTICE

         Appellant Wayne Myers challenges the trial court's summary judgment dismissing his claims for wrongful foreclosure against appellee PennyMac Corporation. Because we conclude that Myers's claims are barred by res judicata, we affirm.

         Background

         In October 2004, Myers obtained a home equity loan. He subsequently defaulted on the note in December 2007 and made no further payments on the loan. On multiple occasions between 2008 and 2013, his lender accelerated the loan and notified him of its intention to foreclose, but then later rescinded the acceleration. The loan was also assigned to different entities over the years, with PennyMac being the final assignee.

         On April 14, 2015, PennyMac filed an application for a court order to allow foreclosure of the lien securing the home equity loan pursuant to Rule of Civil Procedure 736, and it obtained a default order on October 9, 2015. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 736.1-736.13 (providing procedures for obtaining expedited order permitting foreclosure). The trial court ordered that the sale could proceed after January 1, 2016. Myers then filed for bankruptcy in May 2016. After the bankruptcy court dismissed Myers's bankruptcy petition, PennyMac moved forward with foreclosure and purchased the property at the foreclosure sale on January 3, 2017.

         On the same day as the foreclosure sale, Myers filed a petition naming PennyMac as the defendant and asserting a claim to quiet title based on allegations that the foreclosure was wrongful and asserting that PennyMac's enforcement of its lien was barred by limitations (the 2017 suit). The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of PennyMac on these claims, dismissing Myers's suit with prejudice. Myers did not appeal this judgment. Further legal proceedings ensued, including a forcible detainer action in the county court at law, another bankruptcy filing, and two additional suits challenging the validity of the foreclosure, one in the county court at law and one in district court.

         On April 9, 2018, Myers sued PennyMac again by filing the petition underlying this appeal. He asserted that the foreclosure was wrongful and sought a declaratory judgment and quiet title. In setting out the facts supporting his claims, Myers referred to the 2017 suit, alleging that he had filed it in "response to a judgment on [PennyMac's] Application For Expedited Order Under Rule 736 on a Home Equity Loan allowing [PennyMac] to foreclose on [Myers's] real property." Myers asserted that, following the filing of his 2017 suit, PennyMac was "legally stayed from foreclosing on [Myers's] property," but it nevertheless continued with the foreclosure. He recognized that, "[t]hrough a series of motions, including a motion for summary judgment against [Myers], the court ruled adversely against [Myers]" in the 2017 suit.

         In the underlying petition, Myers sought to quiet title, asserting that he was the rightful owner of the property and that PennyMac's interest in the property is invalid because the foreclosure was improper. Myers also asserted a cause of action for wrongful foreclosure and sought a declaration that the foreclosure was wrongful. He asserted that the automatic stay provided for by Rule 736.11[1] barred the foreclosure sale from going forward.

         PennyMac moved for summary judgment on May 9, 2018, arguing, "This is at least the fourth frivolous lawsuit in addition to two meritless appeals Mr. Myers filed to avoid the consequences of his failure to repay a loan" and, therefore, res judicata barred his claims. Myers responded to PennyMac's motion for summary judgment by arguing that PennyMac was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law because it had not addressed any of his issues regarding Rule 736.11(a)'s automatic stay.

         The trial court granted PennyMac's motion for summary judgment and dismissed Myers's claims with prejudice. This appeal followed.

         Analysis

         In his sole issue on appeal, Myers asserts that the trial court erred in dismissing his suit because the foreclosure was improper under Rule 736. PennyMac, however, moved for summary judgment arguing, in part, that Myers's claims were barred by res judicata, and the trial court granted ...


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