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HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc. v. Alphonso

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

July 25, 2018

HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc., etc., respondent,
v.
Kenyon J. Alphonso, etc., et al., defendants, Point Holding Alpha, LLC, appellant. Index No. 18890/06

          Argued - March 26, 2018

         D56180 O/htr

          Warner & Scheuerman, New York, NY (Jonathon D. Warner and Karl E. Scheuerman of counsel), for appellant.

          Fein, Such & Crane, LLP (D.J. & J.A. Cirando, Syracuse, NY [John A. Cirando, Bradley E. Keem, and Elizabeth deV. Moeller], of counsel), for respondent.

          JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, J.P. SANDRA L. SGROI HECTOR D. LASALLE VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.

          DECISION & ORDER

         In an action to foreclose a mortgage, the defendant Point Holding Alpha, LLC, appeals from stated portions of two orders of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Noach Dear, J.), both dated March 8, 2016. The first order, inter alia, denied the cross motion of the defendant Point Holding Alpha, LLC, pursuant to CPLR 3025(b) for leave to serve an amended answer. The second order, inter alia, granted those branches of the plaintiffs motion which were to vacate an order of the same court dated April 27, 2012, directing dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the plaintiff failed to comply with Administrative Orders of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts AO/548/10 and AO/431/11, for summary judgment on the complaint insofar as asserted against the defendant Point Holding Alpha, LLC, and for an order of reference.

         ORDERED that the orders dated March 8, 2016, are affirmed insofar as appealed from, with one bill of costs.

         In October 2005, Kenyon J. Alphonso executed a note secured by a mortgage on residential property located in Brooklyn. Alphonso then transferred the premises to the defendant

          Point Holding Alpha, LLC (hereinafter the defendant). In June 2006, the plaintiff commenced this action against the defendant, among others, to foreclose the mortgage, and was awarded summary judgment on the complaint in June 2009.

         By order dated February 6, 2012, the Supreme Court denied a motion by the plaintiff for an order of reference and directed dismissal of the complaint with prejudice unless, within 60 days, the plaintiffs counsel submitted an affirmation in compliance with Administrative Orders of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts AO/548/10 and AO/431/11. By order dated April 27, 2012, the court directed dismissal of the complaint on the ground that plaintiffs counsel failed to file the required affirmation.

         The plaintiff subsequently moved, inter alia, to vacate the order dated April 27, 2012, for summary judgment on the complaint, and for an order of reference. The defendant cross-moved pursuant to CPLR 3025(b) for leave to serve an amended answer to assert the affirmative defense of lack of standing. In two orders, both dated March 8, 2016, the Supreme Court granted the plaintiffs motion and denied the defendant's cross motion. The defendant appeals from the orders dated March 8, 2016.

         The Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in granting that branch of the plaintiffs motion which was to vacate the order dated April 27, 2012. In addition to demonstrating the existence of a meritorious cause of action, the plaintiff demonstrated a reasonable excuse for its default by establishing that its counsel had not been sent a copy, or notice of entry of, the conditional order of dismissal, such notification likely having been sent to the plaintiffs former counsel (see Darrell v Yurchuck, 174 A.D.2d 557).

         The plaintiff established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting the mortgage, the note, and evidence of the mortgagor's default (see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Miller, 150 A.D.3d 1046, 1048; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Islar, 122 A.D.3d 566). In opposition, the defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact. The defendant's assertion in opposition that the plaintiff lacked standing was to no avail, as the defendant waived the defense of lack of standing, inter alia, by failing to raise it in its answer (see Citibank, N.A. v Gentile, 156 A.D.3d 859, 860; Wells Fargo Bank Minn., N.A. v. Mastropaolo, 42 A.D.3d 239, 240).

         Under the circumstances of this case, we agree with the Supreme Court's conclusion that the plaintiff adequately complied with Administrative Orders of the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts AO/548/10 and AO/431/11 (see Deustsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v ...


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