Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 14, 2013

Maine Court Upholds Summary Judgment in Favor of Bank

By Abigail Pugliese

In JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Harp, 10 A.3d 718 (Me. 2011), the court held that summary judgment in favor of the bank was proper, even though the Bank did not own both the mortgage and note when it filed its complaint.  Summary judgment was proper because the Bank had cured this defect at the time it filed for summary judgment, and because it met all other criteria for summary judgment.

In 2005, mortgagor “executed a note and mortgage to Nationwide Lending Corporation (“Nationwide”). An allonge to the note provided that payments would be made to Long Beach Mortgage Company.” In 2008, Washington Mutual, the successor to Long Beach Mortgage Company notified mortgagor he was in default for missed payments. In 2008, JPMorgan filed a foreclosure complaint against mortgagor. However, the assignment from Nationwide was not made until a month later, and was not recorded for a month after that. Still, the court granted summary judgment to JP Morgan. Mortgagor appealed.

The court concluded that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment since JPMorgan owned the note and mortgage at the time it filed for summary judgment. While it is true that “at the commencement of litigation, JPMorgan owned the note,” mortgagor failed to raise this issue until JPMorgan cured the defect. Moreover, pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 17(a), JPMorgan’s failure to secure the assignment before commencing litigation was an “understandable mistake,” which did not change the cause of action or prejudice mortgagor.

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