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Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas v. Weiner

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

November 8, 2018

DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS, AS TRUSTEE FOR RESIDENTIAL ACCREDIT LOANS, INC., MORTGAGE ASSET-BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-QSI4, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DEBBIE A. WEINER and CLIFFORD R. WEINER, Defendants-Appellants.

          Submitted October 23, 2018

          On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Somerset County, Docket No. F-026288-16.

          Christopher D. Ferrara LLC, attorneys for appellants (Christopher D. Ferrara, on the brief).

          Blank Rome LLP, attorneys for respondent (Michael P. Trainor, on the brief).

          Before Judges Fisher, Geiger and Firko.

          OPINION

          FISHER, P.J.A.D.

         For many years, New Jersey lacked a statute of limitations for residential foreclosure actions. Instead, for more than a century, our courts applied the time-bar used in adverse possession actions: twenty years. See Colton v. Depew, 60 N.J. Eq. 454, 464 (E. & A. 1900); Security National Partners L.P. v. Mahler, 336 N.J.Super. 101, 106-07 (App. Div. 2000). In 2009, the Legislature made up for lost time and enacted N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1, which codified Security National Partners[1] by declaring that a residential foreclosure action "shall not be commenced following the earliest of three points in time:

Six years from "the date fixed for the making of the last payment or the maturity date set forth in the mortgage or the note," N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(a);
Thirty-six years from the date the mortgage was recorded or, if not recorded, from the date of execution, N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(b); and
Twenty years from the date of a default that "has not been cured," N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(c).[2]

          Defendants' contention that N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1(a)'s six-year time-frame applies and bars this foreclosure action, which was filed seven years after their uncured default, is without merit.

         The record reveals that defendant Debbie A. Weiner borrowed $657, 500 from Weichert Financial Services in 2005 and then executed in Weichert's favor a promissory note that required monthly payments, the last of which was scheduled for June 2035. To secure the note's repayment, both defendants executed a mortgage that was recorded in 2005 and ultimately assigned to plaintiff Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.[3]

         There is no dispute that defendants failed to make a scheduled August 2009 payment and all later monthly payments. After four discontinued suits, Deutsche Bank commenced this foreclosure action in September 2016, more than seven years after defendants' uncured default.

         The parties eventually cross-moved for summary judgment. The judge granted Deutsche Bank's motion, denied defendants' motion, and later denied defendants' motion for reconsideration. Once final judgment was entered in December 2017, defendants filed this timely appeal, arguing: (1) summary judgment should not have been entered because discovery was incomplete and there were genuine disputes about Deutsche Bank's claim, its standing to sue, and its status as a holder; (2) their answer ...


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