Zubia v. Shapiro – 1/12/2018

January 23, 2018

Arizona Supreme Court holds that a homeowner who fails to obtain an injunction before a trustee’s sale may not bring a claim for damages that depends on the sale’s invalidity.

A husband and wife jointly owned a home.  The husband then took out a loan secured by a deed of trust on the home.  The deed of trust appeared to be signed by both the husband and wife and was recorded.  After the loan went into default, the trustee conducted a sale at which the lender purchased the home and recorded a trustee’s deed.

After the sale, the wife sued her husband and the lender, seeking damages and various forms of equitable relief relating to the sale.  She claimed that her signature on the deed of trust was forged and, as a result, the lender never obtained a security interest authorizing the sale and the trustee’s deed resulting from the sale was invalidly recorded.  The trial court deemed these claims waived because the wife never obtained injunctive relief before the sale as required by A.R.S. § 33-811(C).  The court of appeals agreed.

The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed.  Under A.R.S. § 33-811(C), a trustor waives all “objections to the [trustee’s] sale” unless he or she obtains an injunction before the sale.  Here, the Court reasoned that the wife’s claims were objections to the trustee’s sale because they “depend on the sale’s invalidity”—that is, “they cannot succeed unless the sale was defective.”  Because the wife never obtained an injunction before the sale, she waived these claims.  The Court noted that A.R.S. § 33-811(C) would not bar claims “independent of the sale,” such as a claim arising from the recording of the pre-sale deed of trust that contained the alleged forgeries.

Justice Brutinel authored the unanimous opinion.