HARRISBURG – The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has said a trial court was correct to grant summary judgment and declare HSBC Bank had standing to bring forth a mortgage foreclosure action.

Judges Susan Peikes Gantman, Alice Beck Dubow and Eugene B. Strassburger III affirmed a state court ruling for summary judgment on Dec. 16, in favor of plaintiff HSBC Bank and against defendant Joseph T. Sucec – saying that HSBC Bank had the ability to initiate a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit against Sucec.

HSBC Bank filed a lawsuit in the Adams County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 21, 2013, seeking to foreclose on a mortgage. As part of the complaint, HSBC Bank argued on Oct. 2, 1998, Anna M. Saul and Russell W. Saul “made, executed and delivered to Lancorp Mortgage Services a mortgage in the original principal amount of $83,700.00 on the premises”, for a property located in Gardners.

HSBC Bank claimed the mortgage was recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Adams County in Book 1678, on page 0088, and alleged it was the current mortgagee by virtue of an assignment of mortgage recorded June 26, 2012.

The assignment was recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Adams County in Book 5718, Page 781, and HSBC Bank also alleged “it had possession of the promissory note, and that it was either the original payee of the note or the note had been duly endorsed.”

According to the complaint, Russell W. Saul died on or about June 24, 2004, and “his ownership interest was automatically vested in the surviving tenant by the entirety.” On July 9, 2009, Anna M. Saul died and Sucec, who was Anna Saul’s “surviving heir at law and next-of-kin,” was appointed administrator of her estate.

HSBC Bank argued the mortgage was in default for failure to pay monthly installments of principal and interest due Jan. 1, 2012, and alleged, as of Jan. 15, 2013, the amount due and owing to it on the mortgage was $76,840.41, plus interest and additional amounts as authorized by law.

“HSBC Bank attached to the complaint a copy of the note, attachments and a legal description of the property, and it incorporated the mortgage and the assignment of mortgage by reference in accordance with Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1019(g),” Strassburger stated.

The rule of civil procedure in question states, “Any part of a pleading may be incorporated by reference in another part of the same pleading or in another pleading in the same action. A party may incorporate by reference any matter of record in any state or federal court of record whose records are within the county in which the action is pending, or any matter which is recorded or transcribed verbatim in the office of the prothonotary, clerk of any court of record, recorder of deeds or register of wills of such county.”

On Dec. 8, 2015, HSBC Bank filed a motion for summary judgment and to assess damages. On Jan. 29, the trial court granted HSBC Bank’s motion for summary judgment and entered a judgment in mortgage foreclosure against Sucec for $99,625.95, plus interest, additional late charges, attorney’s fees and costs, and for foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged premises.

Sucec’s appeal followed, where he essentially challenged HSBC Bank’s standing to bring the foreclosure action. Strassburger said with regards to Sucec’s instant appeal, the Superior Court observed, besides for exceptions not relevant to this case, “all actions shall be prosecuted by and in the name of the real party in interest.”

“In the original mortgage instrument signed by the Sauls, Lancorp Mortgage Services is the named ‘Lender’. That mortgage instrument provides that the subject property is mortgaged, granted, and conveyed to ‘Lender.’ The mortgage instrument further explains that, ‘The Note or a partial interest in the Note (together with this Security Instrument) may be sold one or more times without prior notice to’ the Sauls. Thus, the mortgage instrument clearly contemplates transfer of the mortgage,” Strassburger said.

“Based on the unbroken chain of recorded assignments from the original lender to HSBC Bank, it is clear that HSBC Bank, as the mortgagee, has standing to bring this foreclosure action against Sucec. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in granting the motion for summary judgment,” Strassburger added.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania case 335 MDA 2016

Adams County Court of Common Pleas case 13-S-182

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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