PHILADELPHIA — Timely appeals are still necessary regardless of the underlying facts, according to a recent ruling from the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
The April 28 decision to throw out a couple's appeal against Deutsche Bank comes after Eric and Debra Broitman missed a deadline to challenge a ruling from a lower court following a foreclosure.
Deutsche Bank National Trust Company filed the original mortgage foreclosure complaint in May 2014. The company alleged that the Broitmans hadn’t made a mortgage payment since March 2011. At that time, Deutsche Bank told the court that the Broitmans owed approximately $412,000.
The Broitmans proceeded without an attorney and filed an answer to the suit pro se. In their answer, they didn’t dispute the debt, nor did they dispute that they hadn’t made the payments. Instead, the response claimed only that the couple hadn’t been able to secure a loan modification.
The bank proceeded with the case, filing a motion for summary judgment in December 2015, at which time the Broitmans' debt was calculated to be $463,000. Included with the adjusted amount was an affidavit from Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, which handled the account for the bank, attesting to the updated debt amount.
The Broitmans never filed an answer to the motion for summary judgment, and the court entered judgment on March 23, 2016, in favor of Deutsche Bank for $463,424.38. It wasn’t until May 12, 2016, after the Broitmans had obtained legal counsel that they made any filings in relation to the summary judgment.
The time frame for appeal having already passed, the Broitmans' counsel filed an appeal nunc pro trunc alleging that the Broitmans had no knowledge that the lower court had issued a summary judgment. According to the filing, the summary judgment had been mailed to an incorrect address, and they were never personally served.
On May 23, 2016, the lower court granted the motion to appeal, which raised several questions.
Deutsche Bank moved to dismiss the appeal because the Broitmans failed to file a response to the original motion for summary judgment.
The court, relying on laws that allow summary judgment to be entered against a party that fails to respond, agreed with Deutsche Bank and dismissed the appeal.
Moreover, the court noted that no issues raised in the appeal were grounds for consideration because those same issues were never raised with the lower court prior to the summary judgment.
The affirmation of the lower court's decision leaves Eric and Debra Broitman responsible for $463,424.38, along with their own legal counsel fees.