Facing The Boot, Homeowners’ Claim That F’closure Sale Price Was So Low As To “Shock The Conscience” Was Enough To Thwart Subsequent Eviction Attempt
“The general rule is that, where the price realized at the [foreclosure] sale is so inadequate as to shock the conscience, it may itself raise a presumption of fraud, trickery, unfairness, or culpable mismanagement, and therefore be sufficient ground for setting the sale aside.”
In a recent ruling by the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama, two Alabama homeowners were successful in reversing an adverse lower court ruling and, consequently, able to temporarily stall getting kicked out of their home that had been sold at a foreclosure sale.
The homeowners, Stephanie Berry and her grandmother, Eva Berry, asserted, among other things, that Deutsche Bank was not entitled to a summary judgment in the ejectment action that followed the foreclosure sale of their home because of their claim that the foreclosure upon which Deutsche Bank based its ejectment claim was invalid due to its sale for significantly less than its fair market value. The property was purchased by Deutsche Bank at the foreclosure sale for $33,915 when the market value of the property, according to the local tax assessor, was $84,800.
The lower court granted summary judgment for Deutsche Bank, but on
(1) Upon the motion of Stephanie and Eva, the trial court stayed its judgment pending resolution of the appeal.
(2) Among other points, the appellate court made this general statement of applicable Alabama law:
In Hawkins v. LaSalle Bank, N.A., 24 So. 3d 1143, 1151 (Ala. Civ. App. 2009), this court held that, when a plaintiff in an ejectment action claims title to the property by virtue of its having purchased the property at a foreclosure sale, the existence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding the validity of the foreclosure sale will preclude the entry of a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
Stephanie and Eva argue that they established the existence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding the validity of the foreclosure sale on which Deutsche Bank bases its claim to title because, they say, they showed that the price realized at the foreclosure sale, i.e., $33,915 was so low in relation to the market value of the property as to shock the conscience. “`”The general rule is that, `where the price realized at the [foreclosure] sale is so inadequate as to shock the conscience, it may itself raise a presumption of fraud, trickery, unfairness, or culpable mismanagement, and therefore be sufficient ground for setting the sale aside.'”‘” Mt. Carmel Estates, Inc. v. Regions Bank, 853 So. 2d 160, 168 (Ala. 2002) (quoting Breen v. Baldwin County Fed. Sav. Bank, 567 So. 2d 1329, 1333 (Ala. 1990), in turn quoting Hayden v. Smith, 216 Ala. 428, 430-31, 113 So. 293, 295 (1927)).
For more see here…