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Foreclosed homeowners lack standing to challenge dismissal of mortgage priority suit

Holding that the defendants-Zairs' contention that the trial court should have imposed limitations on the voluntary dismissal was without merit, the court affirmed. The case began as a priority dispute between two mortgagees as to the Zairs' real property. "After one mortgagee successfully foreclosed, the other filed suit. The mortgagees reached an agreement" and the trial court entered a consent judgment at their request. The Zairs successfully appealed and had the judgment set aside based on the mortgagees' failure to obtain their consent. Following the prior appeal, the plaintiff-mortgagee (JPMorgan Chase Bank) decided it no longer wanted to pursue its priority claim and sought voluntary dismissal of the action. The trial court granted the request. The court found no abuse of discretion in the trial court's decision to grant Chase's voluntary dismissal motion "without engrafting 'terms and conditions' to benefit the Zairs." The Zairs could not establish that they will be prejudiced as a result of the voluntary dismissal. "First and foremost," they no longer had an interest to protect in the property. They failed to challenge the foreclosure by defendant-PSB before the end of the redemption period - 9/30/10. Thus, by the time Chase filed its lawsuit in 3/11, as the Zairs had raised no allegations of fraud or irregularity, they "had no property right to vindicate." The court's opinion in the prior appeal (Chase I) did not demand a different result. Because of Chase I, "the Chase lien was again extinguished and the PSB/First Michigan Bank foreclosure and sheriff's deed were restored. The Zairs again found themselves with no interest in the property." Thus, they "had nothing left to vindicate when Chase sought to discontinue its priority battle" and to allow defendant-First Michigan to keep the property at Chase's expense.

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