Couple's trespass, conversion and defamation claim against mortgage agents is dismissed
Joseph and Ann Kheder sued Seterus, Inc. and a number of other defendants, arguing that their actions in entering a "model home" the couple maintained, but on which they were in default on the mortgage, constituted an illegal intrusion. The Defendants had acted pursuant to the mortgagee's instructions to secure and winterize the home. They had entered through an unlocked door, made "winterizing" adjustments and posted a warning notice to visitors.
The Court held that the entry was not trespass because it was "authorized" by the mortgage document, given the Plaintiffs' admission that they were in default on payments. It held that the Plaintiffs did not provide adequate proof that the defendants' actions to "secure" the property were unreasonable, and therefore summary disposition was appropriate, particularly given the fact that the home was not a personal residence. Next, it concluded that the postings which the couple objected to were not libelous or defamatory, as a matter of law, since all statements in the posting were "substantially true." The Court also dismissed claims of fraud and estoppel,finding these claims to be a collateral attack on foreclosure proceedings, the redemption period having run previously.