United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge
KCS Lending LLC (“KCS”) seeks to quiet title and
reform a deed conveying real property on grounds of mutual
mistake. See ECF Nos. 2, 43. Pursuant to Local Rule
105.6, a hearing is not necessary. For the following reasons,
Plaintiff's motions for default judgment and summary
judgment (ECF No. 43) are GRANTED.
auction for the sale of real property known as 6413 Kilmer
Street, Cheverly, Maryland 20785 (the
“Property”), Solar Plus Energy, Inc.
(“Solar Plus”) was the highest bidder. ECF No. 2
¶ 15. As a result, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC
(“Nationstar”), the owner of the Property,
executed a Purchase Agreement with Wendell Garrison, who was
acting “on behalf of Solar Plus.” Id.
¶ 16. Once the parties proceeded to settlement on
November 15, 2016, Nationstar conveyed the Property pursuant
to a Special Warranty Deed (the “Property
Deed”)that, according to Plaintiff, mistakenly
identified Garrison as the grantee rather than Solar Plus.
Id. ¶ 17.
same day as settlement, Solar Plus obtained a $250, 000 loan
from KCS (“KCS Loan”), the proceeds of which were
used in part to purchase the Property. Id.
¶¶ 19, 20. As security, “Solar Plus, through
its agent Defendant Garrison, conveyed a lien against the
Property to KCS” (the “Deed of Trust”).
Id. ¶ 19. Both the Property Deed and Deed of
Trust were recorded in the land records on January 11, 2017.
Id. ¶¶ 17, 19.
avers that all parties intended the Property Deed to convey
the Property to Solar Plus, not Garrison, and further, that
Plaintiff would not have extended the KSC Loan if Solar Plus
was not the intended owner of the Property. Id.
¶ 18; ECF No. 43 at 4. Based on this error, Plaintiff
filed suit in the Circuit Court for Prince George's
County against various defendants, including Garrison, Solar
Plus, and Nationstar, seeking (1) a declaration that Solar
Plus is the owner of the Property; and (2) reformation of the
Property Deed to reflect Solar Plus as the grantee. ECF No. 2
¶¶ 23-32. Plaintiff also named as defendants a
number of individuals and entities who have tax and judgment
liens against Garrison personally that may have sought to
attach to the Property, including the Internal Revenue
Service (“IRS”), Prince George's County,
Capital One Bank USA (“Capital One”), Community
First Bank, Ronald Edlavitch, and Evergreen Title and Escrow
Corporation (“Evergreen Title”). Id.
United States, on behalf of the IRS, subsequently removed
this action to federal court. ECF No. 1; see also 28
U.S.C. § 1444. Thereafter, Plaintiff also served by
publication “all persons unknown claiming any legal or
equitable right, title, estate, lien or interest” in
the Property. ECF No. 26.
Defendants Nationstar, IRS, and Prince George's
County responded to Plaintiff's Complaint.
See ECF Nos. 22, 25, 38. On March 14, 2018,
Plaintiff moved for the Clerk's entry of default against
the remaining Defendants (ECF No. 37 at 1) which was granted
on April 16, 2018. See ECF No. 39. Plaintiff now
moves for default judgment against Garrison, Solar Plus,
Evergreen Title, Ronald Edlavitch, Community First Bank,
Capital One and “all persons unknown, claiming any
legal or equitable right, title, estate, lien or
interest” in the Property. ECF No. 43 at 1. Plaintiff
also moves for summary judgment against Nationstar and the
IRS. Id. The IRS, the sole defendant to respond to
Plaintiff's motion, has “take[n] no position”
on Plaintiff's request to reform the Property Deed. ECF
No. 51 at 1.
Standard of Review
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court construes
the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party to determine whether any disputed issue of material
fact precludes entering judgment in the movant's favor as
a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986);
Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th Cir.
2008). “A party opposing a properly supported motion
for summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of [his] pleadings,' but rather
must ‘set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.'” Bouchat v. Baltimore
Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir.
2003) (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
judgment is appropriate when the Court finds the evidence
“is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a
matter of law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). A court must grant
summary judgment where “no genuine dispute as to any
material fact” exists as to the pending complaint
allegations. Woollard v. Gallagher, 712 F.3d 865,
873 (4th Cir. 2013). Importantly, a party opposing summary
judgment “cannot create a genuine issue of material
fact through mere speculation or the building of one
inference upon another.” Othentec Ltd. v.
Phelan, 526 F.3d 135, 140 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985));
see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252 (“The mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
asks the Court to declare Solar Plus the sole owner of the
Property and order the Property Deed reformed to name Solar
Plus as the grantee. ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 23-32. “It is
a settled principle that a court of equity will reform a
written instrument to make it conform to the real intention
of the parties, when the evidence is so clear, strong and
convincing as to leave no reasonable doubt that a mutual
mistake was made in the instrument contrary to their
agreement.” In re Madeoy, 551 B.R. 172, 176
(D. Md. 2016) (quoting Hoffman v. Chapman, 182 Md.
208, 210 (1943)); see also In re Wilkinson, 186 B.R.
186, 190 (Bankr. D. Md. 1995) (“The plaintiff must show
that ‘there has been a mutual mistake-that is, where