Reliance Equities, LLC v. Lanier 5, LLCAnnotate this Case
Appellant Frederick Whitney owned a piece of property located in Habersham County. Whitney became delinquent on his property taxes. As a result, Habersham County sold the property at a tax sale to Appellee Lanier 5, LLC. Over a year later, on August 15, 2014, Lanier sent a notice of foreclosure of the right to redeem the property by certified and first class mail to Whitney at his residence in Forsyth County, giving Whitney until September 21, 2014, to exercise his right of redemption. While the certified mailing sent to Whitney went unclaimed, the first class mail notice was never returned as undeliverable. Meanwhile, on August 29, 2014, a security deed was created between Whitney and Appellant Reliance Equities, LLC. Two days after the September 21 foreclosure date, Whitney’s agent attempted to redeem the property. After confirming its certified and first class mailings were sent to the proper address, Lanier rejected the tender as untimely. Receiving no other tenders for redemption, Lanier filed a “Petition to Remove a Cloud on Title – Conventional Quia Timet” in the Superior Court of Habersham County, requesting the court remove the cloud of title in Lanier’s favor. Whitney filed a counterclaim requesting the trial court quiet title in his favor and also filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that he did not receive sufficient notice of Lanier’s foreclosure of his right of redemption. The trial court denied Whitney’s motion. On November 19, 2015, the trial court entered an order granting Lanier’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, denied Reliance’s motion to intervene, Whitney’s motion for reconsideration and Whitney’s motion for summary judgment, finding all motions to be moot. On appeal, Reliance argued that the trial court erred in denying its motion to intervene; Whitney argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment on the pleadings and quieting title in favor of Lanier. The Supreme Court agreed with Whitney (based on the plain language of the applicable statute, Lanier could not foreclose Whitney's right to redeem until all conditions enumerated in the statute were met), and reversed the trial court in case S16A1014. Because the decision effectively ended the underlying litigation between Whitney and Lanier, Reliance’s appeal in case S16A1013 was rendered moot and dismissed.