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Bajoie v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

July 12, 2017


         On appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket Number 612, 486 Honorable Wilson E. Fields, Judge Presiding

          Angela C. Bajoie, Baton Rouge, LA Plaintiff/Appellant In Proper Person

          Kent A. Lambert, Jr., Katie L, Dysart, Camalla M. Kimbrough Counsel for Defendants/Appellees Deutsche Bank Trust Company


          GUIDRY, J.

         Appellant seeks review of a judgment dismissing her claim for damages relative to executory process proceedings in which her home was seized and sold at a sheriffs sale. For the following reasons, we reverse.


         On June 25, 2001, Angela C. Bajoie, also known as Angela Laws Bajoie, executed a mortgage note for the repayment of a loan from Mortgage Lenders Network USA, Inc., in the amount of $48, 750.00. In connection with the note, she executed a mortgage on her property located at 6562 Djuanna Drive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to secure the note. Mortgage Lenders Network USA later assigned the note and mortgage to Bankers Trust Company by notarial endorsement. Thereafter, on July 6, 2007, Bankers Trust Company, by then known as Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas ("Deutsche Bank"), [1] assigned the note to JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("JPMorgan Chase").

         Shortly thereafter, on July 17, 2007, the law firm of Dean Morris, L.L.P. filed a petition to enforce security interest by executory process in the name of JPMorgan Chase in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court under docket number 557, 287. In response, Ms. Bajoie instituted Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. On November 29, 2011, a motion was filed by the bankruptcy trustee to convert the Chapter 13 proceedings, because Ms. Bajoie failed to make payments according to the terms of the bankruptcy plan. Then, on March 9, 2012, the bankruptcy court dismissed Ms. Bajoie's Chapter 13 case.

         Following the dismissal of Ms. Bajoie's Chapter 13 case, the executory process proceedings under docket number 557, 287 were re-instituted, in response to which, Ms. Bajoie filed a motion for emergency injunction in another division of the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, under docket number 612, 486, to stay a sheriffs sale of her property scheduled for May 30, 2012. Judge Wilson E. Fields stayed the sale. Subsequently, Ms. Bajoie filed a petition claiming damages against JPMorgan Chase under the same docket number, 612, 486, and later added claims against ASC, [2]Wells Fargo Bank N.A., [3] Dean Morris, L.L.P., and Deutshce Bank, for damages allegedly sustained as a result of the executory process proceedings.

         On June 10, 2014, JPMorgan Chase filed a motion for summary judgment under docket number 612, 486, asserting that it never filed nor authorized the filing of the executory process proceedings initiated against Ms. Bajoie, and therefore, should not be held liable for any alleged deficiencies in the proceedings. JPMorgan Chase requested that its motion be granted to dismiss all of Ms. Bajoie's claims against it with prejudice. In support of its motion for summary judgment, JPMorgan Chase attached the affidavit of Lindsay D. House, assistant secretary for JPMorgan Chase, wherein she stated that JPMorgan Chase did not authorize the filing of the petition for executory process nor did it hire Dean Morris, L.L.P. to file such an action. JPMorgan Chase also attached a copy of a "Corporate Assignment of Mortgage" dated June 7, 2012, but signed on July 12, 2012, wherein JPMorgan Chase assigned the June 25, 2001 mortgage executed by Ms. Bajoie to Deutsche Bank.[4]

         The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment based on a finding that genuine issues of material fact existed precluding the grant of summary judgment. On supervisory review, however, this court granted JPMorgan Chase's writ application, reversed the judgment of the trial court, and entered judgment in favor of JPMorgan Chase dismissing Ms. Bajoie's claims against it with prejudice. Bajoie v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 14-1321 (La.App. 1st Cir. 10/21/14)(unpublished writ action). The Louisiana Supreme Court subsequently denied a writ application filed by Ms. Bajoie seeking review of that writ decision. Bajoie v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 14-2611 (La. 3/6/15), 160 So.3d 1287.

         In the meantime, in the executory process proceedings instituted under docket number 557, 287, the trial court granted an ex-parte motion to substitute Deutsche Bank as proper party plaintiff on February 22, 2013. Then, on October 1, 2014, Ms. Bajoie's property was sold at a sheriffs sale. Following the sale, Ms. Bajoie was served with a notice for eviction dated March 24, 2015, ordering her to vacate the property by April 10, 2015. In response to the eviction action, Ms. Bajoie filed a "Petition for a Temporary Restraining Order Suspending the Eviction and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Permanent Injunction and/or for the Return of the Property and to Annul the Sheriff Sale" on June 23, 2015. Judge William A. Morvant summarily denied the relief requested in the petition, stating:

[T]he request for a TRO is made eight months after the sheriffs sale in this executory proceeding was held and the executory proceeding was completed. It is an out of time attack on the sale and mover has shown no basis in law or in fact for the relief requested. The court also questions whether the relief sought regarding suspension of any pending eviction proceedings should have been instituted in a separate suit so as not to violate random allotment. Moreover, mover has not shown any basis for irreparable injury nor has mover complied [with] CCP 3603(A)(2).

         As for the damages action under docket 612, 486, on March 9, 2016, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank filed a dilatory exception urging the objections of vagueness and ambiguity and a peremptory exception urging the objections of res judicata and no cause of action.[5] On May 23, 2016, Dean Morris, L.L.C. filed exceptions raising the same objections as raised by Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank. The trial court scheduled those exceptions to be heard on the same date and in the same hearing as Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank's exceptions. Following a hearing on June 27, 2016, [6] at which Ms. Bajoie was represented by counsel, the trial court rendered judgment sustaining the exception raising the objection of res judicata. In a July 25, 2016 judgment, the trial court decreed that it was granting the peremptory exception raising the objection of res judicata, ...

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