Cadles of Grassy Meadows II, L.L.C v. St. Clair et al

Filing 34

MEMORANDUM & ORDER granting 29 Motion for Summary Judgment. For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion (Docket Entry 29) is GRANTED. Within thirty (30) days, Plaintiff shall file an accounting of its reasonable costs and attorneys' fees, which to the extent appropriate will be added to the total recovery amount before the Clerk of the Court enters the judgment. So Ordered by Judge Joanna Seybert on 3/15/12. C/ECF; C/M (Valle, Christine)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK --------------------------------------X CADLES OF GRASSY MEADOWS II, L.L.C., Plaintiff, -against- MEMORANDUM & ORDER 10-CV-1673(JS)(ETB) JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and CATHLEEN ST. CLAIR, Defendant. --------------------------------------X APPEARANCES For Plaintiff: Steven Giordano, Esq. Vlock & Associates, P.C. 230 Park Avenue New York, New York 10169 For Defendants: Jeffrey St. Clair, Esq.* Cathleen St. Clair, pro se 3001 Ann Street Baldwin, New York 11510 *representing himself SEYBERT, District Judge: Plaintiff (“Plaintiff”) sued Cadles of Defendants Grassy Cathleen and Meadows II, Jeffrey LLC St. Clair (collectively, “Defendants”) to recover on a promissory note. Pending before judgment. the Court is (Docket Entry 29). Plaintiff’s motion for summary For the following reasons, this motion is GRANTED. BACKGROUND The following facts are taken from Plaintiff’s Local Rule 56.1 Statement (“Pl. 56.1 Stmt.”). Court deems Plaintiff’s facts admitted. As discussed below, the Plaintiff is a limited liability company organized under West Virginia law with its principal place of business in Ohio. (Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 1.) York. Defendants reside in Baldwin, New (Id. ¶ 2.) Defendants executed a promissory note (“the Note”) for a second mortgage on their property located in Baldwin, New York in the amount of $96,000. initially executed and Express Corporation. (Id. ¶ 5; Pl. Ex. A.) delivered to the (Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 5.) The Note was American Mortgage It was assigned to Residential Funding Corporation, then to JP Morgan Chase Bank, and finally to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 6; Pl. Ex. A.) The Note required Plaintiffs to pay $721.22 on the first of each month. (Id. ¶ 7; Pl. Ex. A.) annual interest. provides that, Plaintiff also agreed to pay 8.25 percent (Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 7; Pl. Ex. A.) in the event a default, Plaintiff The Note would be entitled to accelerate Defendants’ outstanding balance and to collect the amount of attorneys’ fees that Plaintiff reasonably incurred in recovering on the Note. (Pl. Ex. A.) Defendants defaulted on the Note (Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 10), and Plaintiff accelerated the outstanding balance (id. ¶¶ 9, 13). As of March 30, 2011, Defendants owed $94,218.27 and $27,831.68 in interest. (Stacey Johnson Aff. ¶ 13.) 2 DISCUSSION On January 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed its statement of undisputed facts pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1. Entry 24.) (Docket Defendants filed their Rule 56.1 Counter-Statement on March 21, 2011. (Docket Entry 27.) motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff then filed its The Court will discuss the law governing Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statements and then consider the substance of Plaintiff’s motion. I. Plaintiff’s Rule 56.1 Statement Local Rule 56.1 requires that a party moving for summary judgment “submit a statement of the allegedly undisputed facts on which the moving party relies,” as well as citations “to the fact.” admissible evidence of record supporting each such Giannullo v. City of New York, 322 F.3d 139, 140 (2d Cir. 2003) (citing LOCAL CIV. R. 56.1 (a), (d)). The purpose of Local Civil Rule 56.1 is “to streamline the consideration of summary judgment motions by freeing district courts from the need to hunt through voluminous records without guidance from the parties.” Gallo v. Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane-Societa per Azioni, 585 F. Supp. 2d 520, 529 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (citing Monahan v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Corr., 214 F.3d 275, 292 (2d Cir. 2000)). Local Civil Rule 56.1 provides that where a nonmoving party wishes to contest the assertions in the movant’s 56.1 3 statement, he must “respond to each of the statement’s paragraphs and include, if necessary, a statement of additional material facts that demonstrate LOCAL CIV. R. 56.1(b). its purpose, it a genuine issue for trial.” In order for a counter-statement “to serve must respond appropriately to the movant’s statement . . . and must cite admissible evidence in support of the non-movant’s contention[s] . . . .” Gallimore-Wright v. Long Island R. Co., 354 F. Supp. 2d 478, 482. (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (internal citations omitted); see In re Rezulin Prods. Liab. Litig., 390 F. Supp. 2d 319, 322, n.5 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (“[M]erely because one party denies a properly-supported assertion in the other’s Local Rule 56.1 Statement does not create an issue of fact if the cited evidence reveals no genuine factual dispute.”); see also Dusanenko v. Maloney, 726 F.2d 82, 84 (2d Cir. 1984). Thus, generally, a party’s failure either to respond or contest facts set forth in a movant’s Local Civil Rule 56.1 statement constitutes an admission of those facts, which will be accepted as being undisputed. Giannullo, 322 F.3d at 140. The foregoing is only true to the extent that the moving party has supported its assertions of undisputed facts with record evidence. LeSalle Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Merrill Lynch Mortg. Lending, Inc., No. 04-CV-5452, 2007 WL 2324052, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 13, 2007) (“Assertions 4 in Local Rule 56.1 statements must be disregarded to the extent they are unsupported in the record.”) (citing Giannullo v. City of N.Y., 322 F.3d 139, 140 (2d Cir. 2001)); see Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., Inc., 258 F.3d 62, 74 (2d Cir. 2001) (“[A] Rule 56.1 statement is not itself a vehicle for making factual assertions that are otherwise unsupported in the record.”). The Court has examined Plaintiff’s Rule 56.1 Statement and Defendant’s Rule 56.1 Counter-Statement. To the extent relevant, Plaintiff’s facts are supported by admissible record evidence and are not meaningfully disputed by anything contained in Defendant’s Counter-Statement. Accordingly, the Court treats Plaintiff’s facts as undisputed. II. Standard of Review Summary judgment is only appropriate where the moving party can demonstrate that there is “no genuine dispute as to any material fact” and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). In considering this question, the Court considers “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with any other firsthand information including but not limited to affidavits.” Nnebe v. Daus, 644 F.3d 147, 156 (2d Cir. 2011); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 273 (1986); McLee v. Chrysler Corp., 109 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir. 1997); see also 5 FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). “In assessing the record to determine whether there is a genuine issue to be tried . . . the court is required to resolve all ambiguities and draw all permissible factual inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought.” McLee, 109 F.3d at 134. The burden of proving that there is no genuine issue of material fact rests with the moving party. Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., L.P., 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994) (citing Heyman v. Com. & Indus. Ins. Co., 524 F.2d 1317, 1320 (2d Cir. 1975)). Once that burden is met, the non-moving party must “come forward with specific facts,” LaBounty v. Coughlin, 137 F.3d 68, 73 (2d Cir. 1998), to demonstrate that “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party,” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 257, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2514-15, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 218 (1986). allegations or denials will not suffice.” 781 F.2d 319, 323 (2d Cir. 1986). “Mere conclusory Williams v. Smith, And “unsupported allegations do not create a material issue of fact.” Weinstock v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000). III. Application For the following reasons, Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment. on a promissory concerning Summary judgment is appropriate in an action note execution where and “there default 6 of is no the material note.” question Cohan v. Movtady, 751 F. Supp. 2d 436, 439 (E.D.N.Y. 2010) (quoting Merrill Lynch Commercial Fin. Corp. v. All State Envelopes Ltd., No. 09-CV-0785, 2010 WL 1177451, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2010) (internal citations omitted)). In order to establish a prima face case of default, a plaintiff “must provide proof of the valid note and of defendant's failure, despite proper demand, to make payment.” Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. v. Walji, No. 09-CV- 1995, 2011 WL 1842838, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. May 11, 2011). Further, “[o]nce a prima facie case has been established, the plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment unless the defendant can assert defenses that would raise a genuine issue of material fact.” Valley Nat'l Bank v. Greenwich Ins. Co., 254 F. Supp. 2d 448, 454 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). Plaintiff has met its initial summary judgment burden. Defendants executed and predecessor-in-interest, on June 5, 2005. delivered American the Note Mortgage (See Pl. Ex. A.) to Plaintiff’s Express Corporation Defendants’ signatures appear on the executed Note. (See id.) Defendants failed to make payments, and the required monthly Plaintiff Defendants a demand for payment on March 29, 2010. Aff. ¶ 8; Pl. Ex. B.) sent (See Johnson Notwithstanding this demand, Defendants did not make any additional payments. 7 (Johnson Aff. ¶ 8.) Defendants’ defenses do not raise a genuine issue of material fact. In Rule 56.1 Counter-Statement,1 Defendants argue that (1) the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this case; (2) Plaintiff failed to join a necessary party; and (3) the document attached to Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is not the Note that Defendants signed. These defenses are not meritorious. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this case by virtue of the parties’ diversity of citizenship. U.S.C. § 1332. company. Plaintiff is a West Virginia limited liability (Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 1.) Its principal place of business is in Ohio and its sole member resides in Ohio. 1.) See 28 (Am. Compl. ¶ Defendants, on the other hand, reside in Baldwin, New York, and the amount in controversy, $114,255.36, exceeds the $75,000 threshold. Defendants’ unavailing. necessary party defense is also GMAC is not a necessary party simply because it holds the primary mortgage on the property that secures the Note. “in (See Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 2.) that person’s absence, the A party is required where (a) court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties”; or (b) “that person claims an interest relating to the subject 1 of the action and is so Defendants’ opposition to summary judgment referred the Court back to their Rule 56.1 Counter-Statement. (Docket Entry 31 ¶ 2.) 8 situated that disposing of the action in the person’s absence may: (i) “as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect the interest”; or (ii) “leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations because of the interest.” Univ. of 1996). FED. R. CIV. P. 19(a); see also ConnTech Dev. Co v. Conn. Educ. Prosp., 102 F.3d 677, GMAC is not a required party here. 681-82 (2d Cir. The Court can provide complete relief without GMAC’s being joined because GMAC is not a party to the Note and cannot assert an interest in the subject matter of the action--i.e., right to recover on the Note. Plaintiff’s contractual See id. at 682 (“A nonparty to a commercial contract ordinarily is not a necessary party to an adjudication of rights under that contract.”). The Court notes that, in this action, Plaintiff is not seeking to foreclose on the property securing the Note. Defendants’ argument that Plaintiff attached the wrong Note to its Amended Complaint also does not raise a genuine issue of fact. Although the document attached to the Amended Complaint omits paragraph five,2 the Note attached to Plaintiff’s Rule 56.1 Statement is complete and contains both Defendants’ signatures, which Defendants do not contest. 2 Paragraph five states that the Note is secured by a mortgage. (Pl. Ex. A.) 9 IV. Damages and Costs As of March 30, 2011, Defendants’ outstanding principal balance was $94,218.27 and the unpaid interest was $27,831.68. Plaintiff is entitled to 8.25 percent annual interest on the outstanding principal, which comes to $21.30 per day. Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to $94,218.27 plus $27,831.68 in interest through March 30, 2011 plus an additional $21.30 per day from March 30, 2011 through the date of judgment. Plaintiff is also entitled to its reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion (Docket Entry 29) is GRANTED. Within thirty (30) days, Plaintiff shall file an accounting of its reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees, which to recovery the extent amount appropriate before the will Clerk of be added the to Court the enters judgment. SO ORDERED. /s/ JOANNA SEYBERT______ Joanna Seybert, U.S.D.J. Dated: March 15 , 2012 Central Islip, New York 10 total the

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