Mortgage Foreclosure - Strict Compliance with Notice Requirements - Ex Parte Trenton Turner


Ex parte Trenton Turner, [Ms. 1160212, Sept. 1, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). In this decision by Justice Parker, (Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, Main, Wise, and Bryan, JJ., concur, Murdock, J., concurs in the result and Sellers, J., dissents) the Court on certiorari review reverses the decision of the Court of Civil Appeals affirming the circuit court’s judgment in favor of Wells Fargo Bank in an ejectment action.

The circuit court had granted judgment to Wells Fargo for the premises reasoning that the foreclosure notice sent to the mortgagors substantially complied with the notice requirements set out in the mortgage. In reversing, the Supreme Court noted that “[t]here is no question that the mortgage required Wells Fargo to notify the Turners of their right to bring a legal action ... to assert the non-existence of a default or any other defense of Borrower to acceleration and sale.” Ms. *7. The Court held the Court of Civil Appeals’s affirmance of the judgment in favor of Wells Fargo conflicted with the decision in Jackson v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 90 So. 3d 168, 173 (Ala. 2012) where the Court held that failure to give notice required by the mortgage resulted “in failure of the acceleration, and, consequently, failure of the foreclosure sale.” Ms. *11, quoting Jackson, 90 So. 3d at 173.

The Court rejected Wells Fargo’s argument that Jackson should be limited to situations where the mortgagor is given no notice at all. The Court held that “[a]lthough the Turners were given notice of certain of their rights under the terms of the mortgage, they were given no notice of their right to bring a court action and directly attack the foreclosure.” Ms. *13. The Court reversed the judgment for Wells Fargo holding that its failure to “strictly comply with the terms of the mortgage in giving notice to the defaulting mortgagor[s]” rendered the foreclosure invalid. Ms. *16.
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