PORTLAND, Maine (Legal Newsline) – A mortgage company is faced with paying $59,115 of the attorney fees belonging to a defendant after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a trial court's judgment.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided on June 22 that a trial court's decision's against Homeward Residential Inc. was not unreasonable. The court also mentioned that the plaintiff failed to state a proper argument to the trial court as to why the company should not have to pay the defendant's attorney fees.
Homeward Residential Inc. pursued a foreclosure action against Marianne A. Gregor in October 2011. The trial court found that Homeward did not possess the necessary ownership interest in the mortgage in order to have grounds to foreclose on Gregor. The court's judgment was made in Gregor's favor.
On October 2015, Gregor motioned to the trial court that Homeward pay the attorney fees she accumulated during the case under section 6101.
Homeward argued against the motion on the grounds that Gregor had not presented affidavits and documents that would show how much in fees the company should be liable to pay.
Gregor proposed that the documents calculating the fees would be presented once the court decided on whether Homeward would have to cover the fees. Under section 6101, the trial court ordered that Homeward pay Gregor's "reasonable court costs and attorney fees."
After the amount of $59,115 was determined by the trial court, Homeward argued that the company should not have to pay all of the attorney fees, such as fees related to when Gregor appealed paying an amount she owed on a promissory note.
Homeward argued that it was victorious in the appeal portion of the proceeding. The trial court disagreed and rejected Homeward's argument. Homeward appealed and Gregor cross-appealed.
In Homeward's appeal, the company argued that because it was determined that they lacked standing to pursue a foreclosure, they were not "the mortgagee," and therefore were not obligated to pay the attorney fees based on section 6101. Gregor argued that Homeward did not present this argument to the trail court.
The Supreme Judicial Court agreed and therefore disregarded Homeward's argument.
The Supreme Court reviewed the trial court's finding that Gregor's initial appeal was "an integral part of the overall resolution of the case" and then found that the trial court's judgment against Gregor should not have been made.
Since the appeal was an integral part of the case as a whole in which Homestead was unsuccessful, and since section 6101 was valid due to Homeward failing to present an argument against it to the trail court, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial court's judgment for Homestead to pay the fees that were ordered.