Where exactly are these “trial payments”
U.S. Bank Natl. Assn.
2010 NY Slip Op 52082(U)
Decided on December 1, 2010
Supreme Court, Suffolk County
The issue of the claim of the forbearance/modification agreement, however, is an entirely different situation, one that is considerably troubling to this Court. Defendants assert (and Plaintiff does not in any way controvert) that on April 17, 2009, without the benefit of counsel, they executed a three page document entitled “Home Affordable Modification Trial Period Plan” which was propounded to them by Plaintiff. Indeed, a copy of the same is appended as Exhibit C to the Affidavit of Thomas E. Reardon. According to Defendants (and again, not controverted by Plaintiff), they timely remitted to Plaintiff the three payments of $ 1,736.00 required thereunder and in compliance therewith, followed with nine more monthly payments in the same amount. According to Defendants (and once again, not controverted by Plaintiff), they continued to send monthly payments of $ 1,736.00, doing so in compliance with a letter from Plaintiff’s servicer Chase Home Finance LLC dated June 1, 2009 and appended to their Order To Show Cause. In relevant part, this letter states, in bold face type, as follows;
“If you make all  trial period payments on time and comply with all applicable program guidelines, you will have qualified for a final modification. However, there may be a period of time between your last trial payment and your first modification payment as we finalize the documents and get them back from you. During that interval, you should make a continuation payment at the trial period amount, and an extra coupon has been provided for that purpose.That payment will be applied as a principal reduction payment on your loan after your final modification is effective.”
It is undisputed that Defendants sent thirteen payments to Chase Home Finance LLC totalling $ 22,568.00 in reliance upon both the aforementioned April 17, 2009 Trial Modification and the subsequent June 1, 2009 letter and further, that the same were accepted by Plaintiff, presumably under the terms and conditions dictated by Plaintiff. According to Defendants, they regularly inquired as to the status of the final modification and were variously informed that all documents had been received, the application was with underwriting and finally, underwriter had approved the final modification. Notwithstanding the continuing stream of payments from Defendants and the verbal representations made to them, Chase Home Finance LLC, by letter dated April 15, 2010 (two days shy of one year following execution of the Trial Modification) notified Defendants that a loan [*3]modification would not be offered to them due to their inability to meet the existing guidelines therefor. The reason stated for the denial was the inability to meet HAMP guidelines by modifying the payments to equal 31% of Defendants’ gross monthly income.
In opposition to the foregoing, the Affidavit of Thomas E. Reardon, Assistant Vice-President of Chase Home Finance LLC (Plaintiff’s servicing agent), plainly acknowledges the foregoing assertions by Defendants but states, in Paragraph 7, that “…Due to a combination of factors, however, including missing documents, the submission of stale financial data and a significant influx of Trial Plan applications, the Mathons’ Trial Plan was not reviewed by the underwriting department until on or about April 2, 2010.” The Affidavit does state that on June 30, 2010 the Mathons applied for a new modification but that they failed to supply all necessary documents for consideration. However, nowhere in Plaintiff’s submissions to this Court is there any substantiation of this claim nor is the issue of Defendants’ payments addressed. Too, there is no proof of any computation or other calculation explaining the basis for denial herein.
In further opposition to Defendants’ motion, Plaintiff has submitted the Affidavit of Adam M. Marshall Esq., an associate in the firm of Cullen & Dykman LLP. Mr. Marshall states under oath, in Paragraph 9 thereof, that “Since the Mathons moved by Order to Show Cause to stay the foreclosure on August 12, 2010, further efforts have been made to provide the Mathons with a loan modification based on verifiable income. On October 12, 2010, Plaintiff withdrew its Motion for Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale. In addition, a new application for a loan modification was forwarded to the Mathons. However, the Mathons have abjectly refused to complete the application or supply the financial documents requested therein.” This Affidavit by counsel seems to be somewhat at odds with the averments of Mr. Reardon and is amply rebutted by Defendants’ motion papers. Defendants have appended a plethora of documents dating from April 30, 2010 through July 28, 2010 evidencing their application for a new modification (which appears to be a HAMP modification identical to the one that Plaintiff had just rejected) as well as their cooperation with the demands of Plaintiff regarding the same. Even so, while Defendants were assiduously attempting to re-negotiate a modification, Plaintiff was instructing its counsel to continue prosecution of the foreclosure action. It is painfully obvious to this Court that Defendants relied upon representations made by Plaintiff and acted affirmatively based upon those representations, all to their serious detriment.
There has been no disclosure by Plaintiff to this Court as to whether or not this loan in foreclosure is deemed to be “sub-prime” or “high cost” in nature. Moreover, no mandatory settlement conference has been held in this matter though same is plainly required pursuant to CPLR § 3408.
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