Burt Reynolds' Foreclosure Moves Forward After Judge Refuses to Dismiss

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:45 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Burt Reynolds, once one of Hollywood's top-earning movie stars, was dealt a financial blow Tuesday when a Florida judge upheld a 2011 foreclosure lawsuit on the actor's estate.

Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., now Bank of America, first filed suit against the 78-year-old actor in August 2011, claiming that he stopped paying the mortgage on his "Valhalla" property a year earlier, TCPalm.com reported. Reynolds' lawyers reportedly attempted to get the suit thrown out Tuesday, the site noted, but to no avail. The actor himself was not present for Tuesday's court proceedings.

The creditors are seeking to have the home sold to pay off $1.2 million in debt they say Reynolds owes on the Hobe Sound estate, according to multiple reports. No trial date on the matter has been set.

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Reynolds' lawyers unsuccessfully argued that the lawsuit should be tossed because of several inconsistencies, mainly that the wrong creditor filed the suit in 2011 when Merrill Lynch and Bank of America merged, according to TCPalm.com.

"If Merrill Lynch and Bank of America both existed when this action was filed on June 29, 2011, and Bank of America was the holder of the note, you'd be right, and I'd have to dismiss this case," the judge told one of Reynolds' lawyers, James Bonfiglio.

"But if, as it is in fact . . . there was no such entity as Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., because it had previously, before June 29, 2011, merged into Bank of America NA, then they simply named the wrong plaintiff and I don't think that is a standing issue. Because the owner of the note on June 29, 2011, had the right to bring this action to foreclose on the mortgage."

Tuesday’s ruling came 37 years to the day since the release of "Smokey and the Bandit," which starred Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason.

Reynolds, who won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for "Boogie Nights," has reportedly struggled financially over the last few years. He is also well-known for his roles in "Cannonball Run," "The Longest Yard," and "The Dukes of Hazzard."

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