Biltcliffe v. Citimortgage, Inc.

Citation:
First Circuit Case No. 14-1043
Tag(s):
Ruling:
District court's decision denying reconsideration of summary judgment in favor of Citimortgage affirmed.
Procedural context:
This was an appeal from an order denying reconsideration of an order treating a motion for judgment on the pleadings as a motion for summary judgment and granting it as to all counts.
Facts:
Biltcliffe purchased a home in 2004 with a mortgage that eventually was assigned to Citimortgage. In 2008, they defaulted on the mortgage payments. After some preliminary skirmishing, they filed a chapter 13 case in 2011. A few months later, Citimortgage sent Biltcliffe an invitation to apply for a HAMP modification. They submitted an application, but eventually it was denied. In 2012, the chapter 13 case was dismissed, and Citimortgage resumed foreclosure proceedings. Biltcliffe commenced an action in state court for breach of contract and other claims, which Citimortgage removed to federal court. Citimortgage then moved for judgment on the pleadings, which the court treated as a motion for summary judgment, and granted it as to all counts; Biltcliffe had requested an extension of time to reply to the motion, but because the request was one day late, it was denied. A motion for reconsideration was also denied. Except as discussed below, a timely notice of appeal was filed. The Circuit Court held, first, that the Notice of Appeal was insufficient to afford jurisdiction to the Circuit Court as to the decision and order granting summary judgment. This was because the Notice of Appeal only referred to the order denying reconsideration. There were hints in other papers that they wanted to appeal both orders, but the Circuit Court strictly construed the Notice of Appeal and held that it did not have jurisdiction over the first order. As to the reconsideration, the Circuit Court reviewed the matter under the rather lenient "abuse of discretion" standard rather than the "de novo" standard that would have applied to the summary judgment decision. Finding no abuse of discretion in denying reconsideration, the Circuit Court affirmed.
Judge(s):
Howard, Selya and Stahl (author).

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