Argued: May 15, 2019
Richard E. Briansky, Esq. (orally), Eckert Seamans Cherin
& Mellott, LLC, Boston, Massachusetts, for appellant Beal
Jonathan E. Selkowitz, Esq. (orally), and Frank
D'Alessandro, Esq., Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc.,
Portland; Thomas A. Cox, Esq., Portland; and Andrew R.
Sarapas, Esq., Strout & Payson, P.A., Rockland, for Amici
Curiae Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc., and Maine Attorneys
M. Frey, Attorney General, and Kevin J. Crosman, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for Amicus
Curiae Attorney General.
A. Doonan, Esq., and Reneau J. Longoria, Esq., Doonan, Graves
& Longoria, LLC, Beverly, Massachusetts, for Amicus
Curiae Caliber Home Loans Inc.
Bruce Sleeper, amicus curiae pro se.
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Beal Bank USA appeals from the decision of the Superior Court
(Penobscot County, A. Murray, J.)
"denying" its complaint to compel the assignment of
a mortgage to Beal by the insolvent originating lender New
Century Mortgage Corporation. Beal argues that, because it is
the holder of the note secured by the mortgage, the court
erred when it failed to apply the equitable trust doctrine to
conclude that New Century holds the mortgage in trust for
Beal and that Beal is entitled to an assignment of the
mortgage. Beal also argues that it produced sufficient
independent evidence of ownership of the mortgage to compel
an assignment. We disagree and affirm the judgment.
The following facts are either alleged in Beal's
complaint or were found by the trial court and supported by
record evidence. Knope v. Green Tree Servicing,
LLC, 2017 ME 95, ¶ 3, 161 A.3d 696.
On September 29, 2006, the homeowners of the property at
issue signed a promissory note listing New Century as the
lender. To secure the note, the homeowners executed a
mortgage that identified New Century as the
"lender" and Mortgage Electronic Registration
Systems, Inc. (MERS), as the "nominee" for the
lender. The note was transferred several times and
eventually obtained by LNV Corporation, which held the note
at the commencement of this case. On October 30, 2008, MERS
purported to assign the mortgage to LNV. On November 28,
2016, LNV filed a complaint alleging that it was the
equitable owner of the mortgage because New Century held any
interest it had in the mortgage in trust for LNV, as holder
of the note, and seeking an order to compel New Century to
assign "any interest" it held in the mortgage to
LNV. Later, Beal was substituted as the plaintiff.
On January 10, 2018, the Superior Court held a hearing on
Beal's complaint; New Century did not
appear. Beal presented what appeared to be the
original promissory note, a copy of the mortgage, several
mortgage modification agreements, and correspondence and
account information pertaining to the homeowners' loan
and the property.
On March 4, 2018, the Superior Court entered an order denying
the relief sought by Beal and ruled that applying the
equitable trust doctrine in the manner Beal requested would be
inconsistent with our ruling in Bank of America, N.A. v.
Greenleaf,2014 ME 89, 96 A.3d 700. After the court