The Appellate Division recently upheld a summary judgment ruling which I obtained in a foreclosure case. The defendant claimed that her signature on the mortgage was a forgery.
Her late husband was the borrower and the defendant signed the mortgage to secure her interest in the property. We were able to locate the notary who witnessed her signature and obtain a certification that he had examined the defendant’s passport. We actually had a copy of her passport photo from the loan closing.
The defendant then claimed that she was out of the country on the closing date. We challenged her to produce her passport to show that, but the defendant failed to do that.
In upholding the summary judgment granted by Judge McVeigh at the trial level, the Appellate Division also considered that defendant had signed a loan modification before a notary for the very mortgage that she denied signing. Further, the court noted that the defendant had paid $14,900.00 to the foreclosing lender (our client) to reinstate the loan. We had argued in part at the trial level that defendant’s actions constituted a ratification of the mortgage.
Finally, the court noted that a notarized signature is presumptively valid, and that the defendant had offered no evidence that she had not signed it. It cited other case law for the proposition that a self-serving denial of executing the mortgage is insufficient to overcome a summary judgment motion. The Appellate Division therefore affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment.