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[U] Equicredit Corporation of America v. Brandau

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 28, 2014

EQUICREDIT CORPORATION OF AMERICA Appellee
v.
CATHRYN BRANDAU Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order September 21, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Civil Division at No(s): MG-10-002351

BEFORE: PANELLA, J., OLSON, J., and MUSMANNO, J.

MEMORANDUM

PANELLA, J.

Appellant, Cathryn Brandau, appeals from the order entered by the Honorable Robert J. Colville, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. Judge Colville's order denied Brandau's petition to strike the default judgment entered pursuant to Appellee, Equicredit Corporation of America's ("Equicredit") complaint in foreclosure. After careful review, we affirm.[1]

In 1997, Brandau borrowed $235, 000 from Equicredit Corporation of Pennsylvania ("Equicredit PA") and granted Equicredit PA a first mortgage on her home. Shortly thereafter, Equicredit PA assigned its rights to U.S. Bank, N.A. Brandau subsequently fell behind in her mortgage payments, and in 1999, U.S. Bank, N.A., filed a foreclosure action in Allegheny County.

After extensive litigation in the Common Pleas Court and in federal Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Bank, N.A. purchased Brandau's home at Sheriff's sale in 2005. Less than six months later, Brandau and U.S. Bank, N.A. reached an agreement to vacate the Sheriff's sale. However, U.S. Bank, N.A. did not terminate its foreclosure action.

In October 2010, Equicredit initiated the instant foreclosure action against Brandau. The parties proceeded to conciliation conferences, which ultimately were unproductive. On July 19, 2011, Equicredit mailed a Notice of Intent to Take a Default Judgment. On August 8, 2011, Equicredit filed a praecipe to substitute verification on its complaint, as well as a praecipe to enter default judgment. The Allegheny County Prothonotary entered default judgment in favor of Equicredit on that same date.

After attempting to obtain relief in federal Bankruptcy Court and failing, Brandau filed a motion to strike the default judgment on April 26, 2012. The trial court denied the motion via order dated September 21, 2012, and this timely appeal followed.

On appeal, Brandau raises the following issues for our review:

1. Whether the lower court erred in concluding that it had subject matter jurisdiction over the action, despite the fact that EquiCredit Corporation of America failed to join indispensable parties.
2. Whether the lower court erred, as a matter of law, in determining that the record contained sufficient note related facts to support the default judgment.
3. Whether the foreclosing plaintiff on the pleadings demonstrated that it may have had an interest in the lost note.
4. Whether the lower court applied erroneous legal principles when it failed to grant Ms. Brandau's Motion to Strike Default Judgment that ...

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