On April 22, 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio unanimously dismissed as improvidently certified SRMOF 2009-1 Trust v. Lewis, 2015-Ohio-1494. The case was argued February 25, 2015. The issue in the case, which was accepted on certified conflict, was whether a plaintiff in a foreclosure action must have an interest in both the note and mortgage to have standing and, if not, whether it is sufficient if the plaintiff has an interest in either the note or the mortgage.
It was clear from the argument that Ms. Lewis’ discharge from bankruptcy muddied the waters in this case. Justice French asked right off the bat why the case should not be dismissed as improvidently granted, considering Lewis’ liability was discharged in bankruptcy. When Chief Justice O’Connor later asked if the bankruptcy was essential to the analysis, Lewis’ lawyer said no; the Trust’s lawyer said yes.
After oral argument, which was very complex, I wrote that I thought the case was likely to be dismissed as improvidently certified. Although no reason is given when a case is improv’d, there seems little doubt that the bankruptcy was a factor. This is unfortunate, because this standing issue is both interesting and important. You can read more about issues argued in this case here. I suspect this same issue will appear before the court again, in a case unencumbered with bankruptcy issues.