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United States v. Sawicki

June 18, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF,
v.
PHILIP J. SAWICKI AND LISA M. SAWICKI DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

BACKGROUND

Before the court is plaintiff's motion for summary judgment requesting we foreclose and sell property subject to a defaulted mortgage dated and acknowledged by the defendants. In their answer to plaintiff's complaint, defendants admit responsibility for the mortgage, but deny being in default. Instead, they assert plaintiff refuses to accept the payments that they have offered. Defendants also challenge the full amount allegedly owed under the mortgage. After overcoming several procedural deficiencies, plaintiff filed a proper summary judgment motion on May 15, 2007, to which defendants have failed to reply. For the following reasons, we will grant plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

It is appropriate for a court to grant a motion for summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). An issue is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "Material facts" are those which might affect the outcome of the suit. Id.; Justofin v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 517, 521 (3d Cir. 2004).

Regardless of who bears the burden of persuasion at trial, the party moving for summary judgment has the burden to show an absence of genuine issues of material fact. Aman v. Cort Furniture Rental Corp., 85 F.3d 1074, 1080 (3d Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). When the moving party bears the burden of persuasion at trial, it must point to evidence in the record that supports its version of all material facts and demonstrate an absence of material facts to the contrary. National State Bank v. Federal Reserve Bank, 979 F.2d 1579, 1582 (3d Cir. 1992). If the moving party does not meet this burden, the court must deny summary judgment even if the nonmoving party does not produce any opposing evidence. Id.

Once the moving party meets its burden of showing an absence of genuine issues of material fact, the nonmoving party must provide some evidence that a issue of material fact remains. Matushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The nonmoving party, however, cannot do so by merely offering general denials, vague allegations, or conclusory statements; rather the party must point to specific evidence in the record that creates a genuine issue as to a material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 32; Ridgewood Bd. of Educ. v. N.E. ex rel. M.E., 172 F.3d 238, 252 (3d Cir. 1999). In evaluating a motion for summary judgment the court will draw all reasonable inferences from the evidence in the record in favor of the nonmoving party. Am. Flint Glass Workers Union v. Beaumont Glass Co., 62 F.3d 574, (3d Cir. 1995).

II. Statement of Facts

Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, plaintiff filed a statement of material facts to which it contends there is no genuine issue to be tried. Because defendants failed to oppose these facts, they are deemed admitted. See L.R. 56.1. On or about January 24, 1995, the defendants obtained a Rural Housing Loan from the United States through the United States Department of Agriculture for the sum of $86,280.00. That same day the defendants executed and delivered to the plaintiff a promissory note for the same amount. To secure the loan, the defendants executed and acknowledged a real estate mortgage that mortgaged to the plaintiff property located at 2481 Clarkson Road, Factoryville, PA 18419. Plaintiff alleges that defendants are in default and currently owe $132,571.22 for the property, which includes not only the principal balance and unpaid interest, but also includes interest recapture, attorney's fees, late fees and costs.

III. Analysis of Summary Judgment Motion

"In a mortgage foreclosure action, the plaintiff must show the existence of an obligation secured by a mortgage, and a default on that obligation." Chemical Bank v. Dippolito, 897 F. Supp. 221, 224 (E.D. Pa. 1995). Defendants concede the existence of the mortgage in question and their resulting obligation, but dispute that they are in default. They assert in their answer that they have attempted to make payments to the plaintiff, but the plaintiff has refused to accept these payments. In response, plaintiff argues that defendants have not tendered the full amount required under the loan as they have done six previous times. Plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence of default by attaching to its complaint a notice of intention to foreclose sent to the defendants in which plaintiff indicated that defendants were in monetary default. Defendants, on the other hand, have not provided any evidence to establish they are not in default or to otherwise create a genuine issue of material fact sufficient to defeat plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

IV. Conclusion

Because plaintiff has established the existence of an obligation secured by a mortgage and a default on that obligation, we will grant plaintiff's motion for ...


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