HARRISBURG – The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently affirmed a granting of summary judgment from the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, in a real estate property ejectment action.

On Dec. 20, judges Judith Ference Olson, Carl A. Solano and James J. Fitzgerald, III ruled to dismiss the appeal of defendant Randy L. Rocco towards the prior granting of summary judgment as moot, with Olson authoring the Superior Court’s opinion in this matter.

In 2003, Rocco executed a mortgage and promissory note on a property located at 224 Creekwood Drive in Feasterville-Trevose, in Bucks County. In 2009, the mortgage company filed a mortgage foreclosure complaint and later, a motion for summary judgment.

Rocco filed a response and cross-motion for summary judgment, alleging the mortgage company fraudulently obtained the mortgage, but to no avail, as the trial court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment.

In its own opinion, the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas addressed Rocco’s allegations of fraud, specifically rejecting his claim that “the mortgagee’s agent notarized her own signature on the mortgage.”

On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania subsequently denied further review of the case.

In August 2015, Joe Buck purchased the property by sheriff’s sale and filed a complaint in ejectment against the defendant that October. In January 2016, Joe Buck filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted by order filed on March 23.

This led Rocco to appeal and later file an emergency stay of ejectment on May 16 of this year, which the Superior Court denied by per curiam order four days later.

“On appeal, defendant presents four allegations of error related to his prior claims of fraud in the underlying mortgage foreclosure action. Those issues have already been decided and we are bound by the prior panel’s decision. Thus, only issues related to the ejectment action would be properly before us,” Olson said.

“However, during the pendency of this appeal, Joe Buck filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as moot. In its motion, Joe Buck avers the ejectment proceeded and it secured possession of the premises on June 7, 2016. In support of its motion, Joe Buck attached a copy of the Bucks County docket in this matter noting the eviction was completed. Defendant has not responded,” Olson continued.

Olson explained the Superior Court previously ruled that it “cannot decide moot or abstract questions, nor…enter a judgment or decree to which effect cannot be given” and that “an actual case or controversy must exist at all stages of the judicial process, or a case will be dismissed as moot.”

“This Court will decide questions that otherwise have been rendered moot when one or more of the following exceptions to the mootness doctrine apply: 1) The case involves a question of great public importance, 2) The question presented is capable of repetition and apt to elude appellate review, or 3) A party to the controversy will suffer some detriment due to the decision of the trial court,” Olson said.

“Here, because the issue of possession, which was the subject of the ejectment action, is resolved, there is no actual controversy. Motion to dismiss the appeal as moot granted. Appeal dismissed,” Olson said.

The plaintiff is represented by Faith Craig Bones in Lansdale.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania case 1061 EDA 2016

Bucks County Court of Common Pleas case 2015-07371

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

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