Mo. SC affirms ruling in favor of mortgage giant Fannie Mae

Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 16, 2012, 11:15am

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - The Missouri Supreme Court, in a decision earlier this month, upheld a ruling in favor of mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

Homeowner My Quang Truong appealed to the Court over the grant of summary judgment in favor of Fannie Mae on its unlawful detainer action.

Truong purchased a home in Imperial, Mo., in March 2006 and executed a deed of trust in connection with the purchase that was duly recorded.

In early 2010, he encountered difficulty in paying his mortgage. Truong then entered into a loan modification agreement with his lender in an effort to become current under his mortgage obligation.

It wasn't until he returned to the United States after a monthlong trip to Vietnam in 2010 that Truong received a notice of a trustee's sale and a letter saying the trustee's sale took place.

Fannie Mae was the successful purchaser of the property and obtained a trustee's deed for the man's property.

Despite the sale, Truong continued to maintain possession of his home.

Fannie Mae then filed its petition for unlawful detainer, asserting it had the legal right of possession to the property and that Truong unlawfully and wrongfully possessed the property.

On appeal, Truong challenged the constitutional validity of a section of Missouri law on equal protection, substantive due process and procedural due process grounds. His other points attacked the inconsistencies of the statute, the rules of civil procedure and case law.

However, because of Truong's failure to apply for a trial de novo pursuant to section 512.180.1, the state's high court said in its March 6 ruling that it had no choice but to dismiss the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

Section 512.180.1 governs the relief available to a party aggrieved by a judgment in a civil case tried before an associate circuit judge and provides two forms of relief.

"We acknowledge Truong has been dispossessed of his home and firmly believes he can demonstrate his legal right to possession is superior to that of Fannie Mae. In light of this assertion, this Court laments the harshness of this result. Unlawful detainer proceedings are summary in nature and the ordinary rules and proceedings of other civil actions do not apply," Judge George W. Draper III wrote for the Court.

"However, this Court is required to apply the clear statutory language of section 512.180.1 in determining what Truong's appropriate remedy was when seeking review of the associate circuit judge's judgment.

"Truong's failure to avail himself of the appropriate remedy is fatal to his appeal with this Court."

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