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A Better Partnership
June 16, 2016

COA: Tender does not constitute payment of redemption funds sufficient to void a sheriff's deed

Actual payment of redemption payoff is required to void a sheriff’s deed; furthermore district court determinations of possession may control quiet title actions, according to the Court of Appeals in Ronald E. Johnston Sr. v. Sterling Mortgage and Investment Company No. 324855. MCL 600.3240 provides that a sheriff deed is void if property is redeemed by paying the required payoff amount, within the applicable time limit, to the purchaser of the property, or to the register of deeds. Appellants attempted to redeem foreclosed property yet never transferred any funds to the purchasers or register of deeds. Appellants argue that they were obstructed by appellees failure to provide necessary computation of the redemption amount, yet the Court determined that the register of deeds was still a viable option to complete the redemption of the property. Furthermore, appellants failed to contact the party listed on the Affidavit of Purchase in regards to the payoff amount.
Appellant’s quiet title action was also barred under the doctrine of res judicata, which bars subsequent action between the same parties when the evidence and key facts are identical. This matter reached the Court of Appeals after a summary disposition ruling in the lower court. Appellants argued that the district court did not have jurisdiction to decide the title issue because determinations of title are questions reserved for the circuit court, also the value of the claim exceeded the court’s authority. The Court of Appeals dismissed that argument and cited the district court’s equitable jurisdiction and authority which runs concurrent with the circuit courts. In addition, the Court noted that by statute, title vests with entry of a possession judgment. Thus, the circuit court properly barred Appellant’s quiet title action on res judicata grounds, as the issue of title had already been decided by the district court. 

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