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U.S. Bank National Association v. Sabloff

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

August 23, 2017

U.S. Bank National Association, etc., respondent,
v.
Warren Sabloff, appellant, et al., defendants. Index No. 13944/13

          Argued - June 2, 2017

         D53084 C/afa

          Mark D. Mermel, Lake Success, NY, for appellant.

          Frenkel Lambert Weiss Weisman & Gordon, LLP, Bay Shore, NY (JosephF. Battista and Barry Weiss of counsel), for respondent.

          WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P. MARK C. DILLON JEFFREY A. COHEN VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.

          DECISION & ORDER

         In an action to foreclose a mortgage, the defendant Warren Sabloff appeals, as limited by his brief, from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Adams, J.), entered April 14, 2015, as granted that branch of the plaintiffs motion which was for summary judgment on the complaint insofar as asserted against him, and denied his cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him.

         ORDERED that the order is modified, on the law, by deleting the provision thereof granting that branch of the plaintiffs motion which was for summary judgment on the complaint insofar as asserted against the defendant Warren Sabloff and substituting therefor a provision denying that branch of the motion; as so modified, the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs to the appellant, and a subsequent order of the same court entered August 16, 2016, is vacated.

         In 2013, the plaintiff commenced this action to foreclose a mortgage given by the defendants Warren Sabloff (hereinafter Sabloff) and Ellen Sabloff as security for a note executed by Sabloff in the sum of $1, 500, 000. In his answer, Sabloff asserted the affirmative defenses of, inter alia, lack of standing and failure to give notice of default as required by the terms of the mortgage. Thereafter, the plaintiff moved, among other things, for summary judgment on the complaint, and Sabloff cross-moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him. The Supreme Court granted the plaintiffs motion and denied the cross motion, and Sabloff appeals.

         "Generally, in moving for summary judgment in an action to foreclose a mortgage, a plaintiff establishes its prima facie case through the production of the mortgage, the unpaid note, and evidence of default" (Plaza Equities, LLC v Lamberti, 118 A.D.3d 688, 689; see Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Brewton, 142 A.D.3d 683, 684). Where standing is put into issue by a defendant, the plaintiff must prove its standing in order to be entitled to relief (see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Taylor, 114 A.D.3d 627, 628, affd 25 N.Y.3d 355). A plaintiff in a mortgage foreclosure action has standing where it is the holder of the underlying note at the time the action is commenced (see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Taylor, 25 N.Y.3d 355, 361; U.S. Bank N.A. v Handler, 140 A.D.3d 948, 949). Either a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note is sufficient to transfer the obligation, and the mortgage passes with the debt as an inseparable incident (see US Bank, N.A. v Zwisler, 147 A.D.3d 804, 805; U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 A.D.3d 752, 754).

         Here, the plaintiff demonstrated, prima facie, that it was a holder of the note at the time the action was commenced, as evidenced by its attachment of the note, endorsed in blank, to the summons and complaint at the time the action was commenced (see U.S. Bank N.A. v Saravanan, 146 A.D.3d 1010; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Logan, 146 A.D.3d 861; Nationstar Mtge., LLC v Weisblum, 143 A.D.3d 866). In opposition, Sabloff failed to tender evidence sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to the plaintiffs standing.

         Similarly, Sabloff failed to demonstrate his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on that branch of his cross motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him for lack of standing (see DLJ Mtge. Capital, Inc. v Pittman, 150 A.D.3d 818; Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Green, 132 A.D.3d 706).

         However, that branch of the plaintiff s motion which was for summary judgment on the complaint insofar as asserted against Sabloff should have been denied, since the evidence submitted in support of the motion failed to establish, prima facie, that the required notice of default was in fact mailed to Sabloff by first-class mail, or actually delivered to the designated address if sent by other means, which was required by the terms of the mortgage as a condition precedent to foreclosure (see Emigrant Bank v Myers,147 A.D.3d 1027; Citimortgage, Inc. v Espinal,134 A.D.3d 876, 879; GMAC Mtge., LLC v Bell,128 A.D.3d 772; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., v Eisler,118 A.D.3d 982; HSBC Mtge. Corp. [USA] v Gerber,100 A.D.3d 966, 967). The plaintiffs failure to make a prima facie showing in this regard required the denial of that branch of its motion, regardless of the sufficiency of Sabloffs opposition papers (see US Bank N.A. v Singh,147 A.D.3d 1007, 1008; Nationstar Mtge., LLC v Dimura,127 A.D.3d 1152, ...


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