United States District Court, N.D. New York
April 29, 2015
ONEWEST BANK, N.A., Plaintiff,
JILL A. SHEPHERD, CAPITAL ONE BANK (USA) NA, Defendants.
DECISION & ORDER
THOMAS J. McAVOY, Senior District Judge.
Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Computation of Damages and Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale. Dkt. # 43. Plaintiff seeks damages, costs and attorneys fees; and a judgment allowing for the foreclosure and sale of the subject property situated at 418 Upper Sherman Avenue, Queensbury, New York. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion is granted as to damages for unpaid principal balance, interest, accumulated late charges, recoverable balance due and owing on the note, and reimbursement costs; and for a judgment of foreclosure and sale of the subject property. Plaintiff's motion is denied as to attorneys' fees, and the appointment of the Hon. Randolph F. Treece, U.S. Magistrate Judge, as referee for the foreclosure and sale proceeding. Plaintiff is granted leave to renew the portions of the motion that are denied.
Plaintiff requests damages for unpaid principal balance, interest, accumulated late charges, and recoverable balance due and owing on the consolidated note secured by the subject mortgaged property. With respect to these damages, the Court is satisfied that the documents submitted with Plaintiff's current motion sufficiently demonstrate, by competent proof, that $190, 768.96 ($186, 991.21 in unpaid principle, interest, late charges, and protective advances; plus $3, 777.75 in costs incurred)is owed to Plaintiff.
b. Attorneys' Fees
With respect to the portion of damages comprised of attorneys' fees, the Mortgage provides that if the Lender starts an action to protect its interest thereunder, and/or for Foreclosure and Sale, the Borrower will be required to pay to Lender "reasonable attorneys fees." See Mortgage, §9, §22. The Court is unable to determine whether the requested legal fees are reasonable. "In determining reasonable attorney's fees, the district court must calculate a lodestar' figure based upon the number of hours reasonably expended by counsel on the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate." RCB Equities #3, LLC v. Skyline Woods Realty, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80028, at *3 (N.D.N.Y June 7, 2013)(citations omitted). Plaintiff states that Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP (hereinafter "WMLM") personnel performed over 70 hours of work on this litigation, but provides only an "abbreviated summary" of the "events in the case and the services rendered." Wilk Aff. ¶ 10; see id. ¶ 9. Plaintiff has not itemized the hours spent on the various tasks, or the WMLM personnel performing the tasks (making it impossible to determine whether to apply an hourly rate for a WMLM partner, associate, or paralegal). Without knowing how many hours were spent on each task, and who performed such tasks, the Court is unable to determine the reasonableness of the requested legal fees under the lodestar analysis. Plaintiff's motion for incurred attorneys' fees is denied with leave to renew upon proper support for the requested fees.
Plaintiff's request for anticipated legal fees in the amount of $700 is also denied with leave to renew. Plaintiff may file a motion to amend the judgment to seek additional attorney's fees after the fees are incurred. See SDF9 COBK LLC v. AF & NR LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119135, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 20, 2014).
c. Foreclosure and Sale
As to the portion of the motion seeking a judgment of foreclosure and sale of the subject property, "[a] plaintiff is entitled to foreclose on a property if it demonstrates the existence of an obligation secured by a mortgage, and a default on that obligation." Eastern Sav. Bank, FSB v. Beach, 2014 WL 923151, at *15 (E.D.N.Y. March 10, 2014) (internal citation and quotations omitted). Plaintiff has produced copies of the agreements establishing the Mortgage on the Property, as well as evidence that the Defendants defaulted on their obligations with respect to the underlying debt by failing to make the required monthly payments. The Court therefore finds that the Property should be foreclosed and sold, with the proceeds to be applied to the amount owed on the Note, including the costs and attorney's fees that will presumably be determined and which, according to the Mortgage, are obligations secured by the Property.
Plaintiff has proposed that Magistrate Judge Treece be appointed referee for the purposes of conducting the mortgage foreclosure sale. However, the Court has confirmed that Magistrate Judge Treece has not volunteered for this appointment. Therefore, the Court declines to appoint Magistrate Judge Treece as referee to conduct the mortgage foreclosure sale. Plaintiff may renew its request for the appointment of a referee, but must submit for approval the name of an attorney admitted in the Northern District of New York who is willing to serve as the referee.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Computation of Damages and Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale [dkt. # 43] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
The motion is granted as to damages for unpaid principal balance, interest, accumulated late charges, recoverable balance due and owing on the note, and reimbursement costs in the amount of $190, 768.96 ($186, 991.21 in unpaid principle, interest, late charges, and protective advances; plus $3, 777.75 in costs incurred); and for a judgment of foreclosure and sale of the subject property situated at 418 Upper Sherman Avenue, Queensbury, New York.
Plaintiff's motion is denied with leave to renew as to attorneys' fees incurred to date; for anticipated legal fees; and for the appointment of a referee for the foreclosure sale proceeding.
Upon renewal of Plaintiff's application for attorneys' fees and the appointment of a referee, Plaintiff should submit a revised proposed Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale with the attorneys' fees amount and the name of the referee left blank for the Court to fill in.
IT IS SO ORDERED.