Circuit Court for Prince George's County No. CAEF13-27154
Nazarian, Arthur, Wells, JJ.
case involves the usually untold last chapter of a familiar
story. On September 29, 2006, Ryan Pulliam and Bree-Ann White
obtained a loan from Pinnacle Financial Corporation
("Pinnacle") to buy a home in Bowie and executed a
note (the "Note") promising to repay the loan. They
defaulted on the loan in March 2009, and the lender
eventually initiated foreclosure proceedings in the Circuit
Court for Prince George's County. The home was sold to
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie
Mac") for less than the amount owed on the Note. The
sale was ratified and audited, and neither Mr. Pulliam nor
Ms. White filed exceptions to the sale or the resulting
the foreclosure proceeding concluded, the Note was
transferred twice, and landed in the hands of
Dyck-O'Neal, Inc. ("DONI"), a debt collector.
DONI filed a motion for deficiency decree on the debt owed,
which the court granted. Mr. Pulliam appeals, arguing that
the court erred first, by failing to construe
DONI's motion strictly, in accordance with Maryland Rule
14-216(b); second, by entering a judgment that
wasn't supported by admissible evidence; and
third, by relying on an interest worksheet attached
to DONI's motion in calculating damages. We agree with
the circuit court's handling and analysis of the case,
and vacate the judgment and remand with directions to correct
one arithmetic error.
time they purchased their home, Mr. Pulliam and Ms. White
executed the Note and promised to repay Pinnacle $390, 000 at
an annual interest rate of 7.125%, which yielded a monthly
payment of $2, 627.50. They fell behind in March 2009 and, so
far as the record reflects, made no further payments after
that. Four years later, in February 2013, Nationstar
Mortgage, LLC ("Nationstar"), the loan servicer,
sent Mr. Pulliam and Ms. White a Notice of Intent to
Foreclose indicating that they were 1, 459 days past due on
their payments. They would have to pay $175, 879.49 to cure
appointed Substitute Trustees on June 7, 2013, authorizing
them "to hold, collect and enforce the note." On
September 12, 2013, the Substitute Trustees initiated
foreclosure proceedings by filing an Order to Docket under
Rule 14-204. The Order to Docket included the following
1. Notice of Foreclosure Action (Preliminary Loss Mitigation
2. Preliminary Loss Mitigation Affidavit, Loss Mitigation
3. Statement of Debt and plaintiffs have the right to
4. Military Affidavit and DOD printout(s)
5. Affidavit of Certifying Ownership of Note and that it is a
true and accurate copy and Copy of Note
6. Affidavit Pursuant to Real Property Code 7-105.1(d)(ii)
and [R]ule 14-207 and copy of Deed of Trust, copy of
Appointment of Substitute Trustees and Copy of Notice of
Intent to Foreclose.
Statement of Debt outlined the balance owed as follows:
Remaining Balance Due $380, 530.14
Interest from 2/1/2009 to 11/15/2012 $102, 712.94
Late Charges $__
Corporate Advances $__
Escrow (credit)/debit $42, 761.66
Balance due as of November 15, 2012 $526, 004.74
Per Diem Interest: $74.28
Interest Rate: 7.125%
Ms. White nor Mr. Pulliam sought to dismiss or stay the
foreclosure, and the Substitute Trustees arranged for a sale
of the Property on September 3, 2014. They provided notice of
the "time, place, manner and terms of sale by
advertisement in The Washington Post, a newspaper published
in Prince George's County, Maryland, once a week for at
least three successive weeks before the day of sale . . .
." Freddie Mac was the successful buyer with a bid of
$187, 000. The Substitute Trustees then filed a Report of
Sale with the court on September 25, 2014. Neither Mr.
Pulliam nor Ms. White filed any exceptions to the Report of
Sale; the court ratified the sale on March 3, 2015, and
neither party filed exceptions to the ratification. Finally,
an auditor filed a report detailing that Mr. Pulliam and Ms.
White owed $405, 918.53 after the sale proceeds were deducted
from their balance. Again, neither party filed exceptions and
the court ratified the auditor's report on June 22, 2015.
time after ratification, the Note was transferred twice.
Nationstar, the original loan servicer, assigned "all of
its rights, title, and interest in and to any cause of action
against [Mr. Pulliam and Ms. White] for a deficiency
claim" to Freddie Mac on December 30, 2015. Freddie Mac
then assigned the Note to DONI on January 7, 2016.
filed a motion for deficiency decree on November 1, 2017,
seeking judgment against Mr. Pulliam and Ms. White in the
amount of the deficiency plus interest. Both opposed the
motion by arguing that DONI failed to serve them, that DONI
lacked authority to seek a deficiency judgment, that DONI
failed to submit admissible evidence in support of its
motion, and that the amount of the deficiency was incorrect.
The court agreed initially that Mr. Pulliam had not been
served, and authorized alternative service on him, which, at
this point, everyone agrees was effective.
court held a hearing on February 22, 2018, heard arguments
both as to service and on the merits and, in an order entered
on May 1, 2018, entered judgment against Ms. White (who then
filed a petition seeking protection under federal bankruptcy
law and has been discharged). On June 19, 2018, without
holding an additional hearing, the court entered judgment
against Mr. Pulliam in the amount of $405, 918.53, plus
prejudgment interest of ...