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MAZZEI TAX SEARCHING v. COUNTY SUFFOLK ET AL. (07/15/68)

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, SPECIAL TERM, SUFFOLK COUNTY 1968.NY.42637 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 292 N.Y.S.2d 726; 57 Misc. 2d 411 July 15, 1968 MAZZEI TAX SEARCHING, INC., PLAINTIFF,v.COUNTY OF SUFFOLK ET AL., DEFENDANTS Elwood D. Hooper for plaintiff. George W. Percy, Jr., for defendants. William R. Geiler, J. Author: Geiler


William R. Geiler, J.

Author: Geiler

 Motion for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212.

A parcel of land, designated as Lot 143 on Lindenhurst Tax Map 103 and assessed to a George V. Spohrer, was sold to Thomas J. McGrath on December 1, 1965 for the unpaid taxes due thereon for the tax year 1964/65.

The 1965/66 and 1966/67 taxes on the subject property were paid by McGrath. However, only the 1966/67 payment of taxes was entered in the tax sales book kept by the Treasurer of Suffolk County. The entry read as follows: "1966-67 taxes paid by pur. $468.86 7/6/67 (noted 7/7/67)."

No entry was made in the tax sales book indicating that the 1965/66 taxes were paid by the tax sale purchaser.

The plaintiff, primarily engaged in the business of making guaranteed real estate tax searches, was requested by a title insurance company to make a tax search on the subject property some time in 1967.

Accordingly, the plaintiff by its employees caused a tax search to be made in the office of the County Treasurer of the County of Suffolk.

The plaintiff found that the parcel, designated as Lot 143 on Lindenhurst Tax Map 103, was sold to Thomas J. McGrath for unpaid taxes for the tax year 1964/65 (as vacant land) and that a tax sales certificate was issued to McGrath on December 1, 1965.

The tax search also indicated that the property was assessed for the tax year 1965/66 as improved, and not vacant, and that the taxes of $442.32 due thereon were paid to the County Treasurer on June 29, 1966.

Neither the official tax records of the Town of Babylon nor the tax sales book maintained by the County of Suffolk indicate that the tax for 1965/66 was paid by the tax sale purchaser. The only payment made by McGrath, as the tax sale purchaser, as shown and noted on the official tax records of the Town of Babylon and entered in the tax sales book of the County Treasurer were the taxes for the year 1966/67 in the amount of $486.68.

Thus, plaintiff's examination of the tax sales book maintained by the County Treasurer indicated that only the 1966/67 tax was paid by the tax sale purchaser. Therefore, plaintiff certified to the title company that the only amounts necessary to redeem the subject property were those paid by the tax sale purchaser at the time of the tax sale and the taxes paid for the year 1966/67.

The title company, relying upon plaintiff's certification, issued a title policy on the subject premises and collected the prior taxes from its policy holder accordingly.

Subsequently, the title company requested and received from the County Treasurer a redemption statement for the subject property. The statement not only included the taxes for the year 1964/65 and 1966/67 as noted in the tax sales book, but also included the taxes for the year 1965/66.

The plaintiff, which was obliged by reason of its contract with the title company to make good, paid the taxes for the year 1965/66 "under protest" and sued the County of Suffolk and the ...


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