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Central Mortgage Co. v. Humphrey

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 9, 2014

CENTRAL MORTGAGE COMPANY
v.
HUMPHREY et al

Reconsideration denied July 22, 2014

Page 897

Deed. Gwinnett Superior Court. Before Judge Tate, pro hac vice.

Beloin, Brown & Blum, James P. Blum, Jr ., Valerie A. Smith , McCalla Raymer, Kent E. Altom , Kimberly A. Wright , Jimmy T. Howell, Jr., for appellant.

James B. McGinnis , Steven R. Webster, for appellees.

DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Miller and Dillard, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 898

Doyle, Presiding Judge.

This case arises from an action filed by Central Mortgage Company (" Central" ) against, inter alia, Susan Humphrey a/k/a Susan D. Humphrey and David Elder,[1] asking the trial court for reformation of a deed, a declaratory judgment, or equitable reformation, relating to the conveyance of 1961 Luke Edwards Road, Dacula, Georgia (" the [328 Ga.App. 475] property" ), from Humphrey to Elder. Of the $1.4 million purchase price, Central loaned $980,000 to Elder in exchange for a deed to secure debt. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Humphrey, finding that there was no meeting of the minds between Humphrey and Elder as to the portion of land being conveyed, and as a result, the court declined to reform the property description. The trial court also refused to rescind the contract or direct Humphrey to repay the purchase price to Central or Elder or to grant them an equitable lien against the property.

Central appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by failing to (1) reform the property description in the deed; (2) order complete rescission of the sales contract after finding that no agreement existed; (3) award Central and Elder equitable liens equal to the consideration received by Humphrey from those parties as part of the 2003 sales transaction; or (4) pursuant to OCGA § 9-4-2, declare a new legal description of the property conveyed to Central and Elder. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

On an appeal from an entry of judgment following a bench trial, we apply a de novo standard of review to any questions of law decided by the trial court, but will defer to any factual findings made by that court if there is any evidence to sustain them. [Nevertheless], if the trial court makes a finding of fact which is unsupported by the record, that finding cannot be upheld and any judgment based upon such a finding must be reversed.[2]

The record shows that beginning in 1992, Humphrey obtained title to various parcels of adjoining property. One parcel, which was quitclaimed to Humphrey in 1992, included 9.118 acres described as Lot 8, Block B. Another parcel was deeded to Humphrey in 1996 by Star Custom Homes (the building company of her husband Ray) and included 3.644 acres described as Lot 7, Block B, which bounded Lot 8 to the north. In addition to those lots, Ray obtained title to Lot 6, which bounded Lot 7 to the north, and Ray later conveyed title to a home and one acre from the front of that lot to another individual,

Page 899

but Ray kept an easement along the north side of the subdivided lot for access to Luke Edwards Road, which ran north and south along the east side of all three parcels. In May 1998, Humphrey conveyed the road frontage of Lot 7, consisting of two acres and a home, to her son, [328 Ga.App. 476] Thomas.[3] The legal description of that two-acre parcel would later become the subject of another lawsuit after Thomas failed to ...


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