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Sep 29, 2016

Baker Sterchi wins in summary judgment motion for lien holder in dispute over enforceability

Purchasers under a contract for deed filed an action in Missouri state court seeking a declaratory judgment and an order quieting title to a mobile home and surrounding real estate. In doing so, purchasers attempted to invalidate the superior, prior, and properly perfected lien of the creditor in and to the mobile home.

The creditor filed a summary judgment motion against plaintiffs, asserting that its lien was properly perfected according to Missouri statute, and that the plaintiffs had no interest in or to the mobile home, as it was never converted to real property and, thus, was not transferred in the contract for deed, which only referenced the surrounding tract.  Plaintiffs countered that the mobile home was affixed and converted to real property prior to notation of the lien on the certificate of title, and consequently, the lien was not valid against the mobile home.  Plaintiffs further attempted to invalidate the retail installment contract and security agreement, arguing that the contractual interest rate exceed Missouri’s usury cap, which the servicer refuted by demonstrating that its installment contract for the purchase of a good, i.e. the mobile home, was excluded from the state’s usury limit.

In a recent decision, the Missouri state court granted the creditor’s summary judgment motion in its entirety, thus finding in favor of the creditor on the quiet title action and validating its first, prior, and superior lien against the home.