Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

June 11, 2014

NY Court Rejects Lack-of-Standing Claim

By Ebube Okoli

The court in deciding HSBC Bank USA v Sage, 112 A.D.3d 1126 (N.Y. App. Div. 3d Dep’t 2013) affirmed the lower court’s decision dismissing the defendant’s lack of standing claim.

HSBC Bank USA commenced this foreclosure action alleging that defendant Gregory Sage defaulted on a note secured by a mortgage on his real property. After joinder of issue and an extended period of time during which settlement conferences took place, plaintiff moved for summary judgment striking the answer and appointment of a referee. Defendant cross-moved for, among other things, leave to amend his answer to allege that plaintiff lacked standing to bring the action. Supreme Court granted plaintiff’s motion and denied the cross motion. After considering the arguments, this court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

This court found that the plaintiff had established that the custodian of the trust had physical possession of the note and mortgage prior to the commencement of the action and that, as trustee, the plaintiff was responsible for carrying out the terms of the trust. Contrary to the defendant’s claim, the affidavit from an assistant vice-president of the mortgage servicing company was adequately based on a review of the books and records of the company maintained in the ordinary course of business, and the lack of personal knowledge as to the creation of the documents was not fatal.

Accordingly, the court found that the plaintiff met its initial burden on the motion for summary judgment and the burden then shifted to defendant to come forward with competent and admissible evidence demonstrating the existence of a defense that properly could raise an issue of fact as to his default. Defendant, as this court noted, did not do this, thus the case was properly dismissed.

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