Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Premier Hotels Group, LLC

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

December 21, 2017


         Appeal from the Order Entered May 10, 2016 In the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County Civil Division at No: 2015-05776

          BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., STABILE, J., and DUBOW, J.


          STABILE, J.

         Appellant, Premier Hotels Group, LLC ("Premier"), appeals from the May 10, 2016 order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, granting summary judgment in favor of Appellee, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as the Trustee for the registered holders of the GE Business Loan Trust Certificates, Series 2005-2 ("Wells Fargo"). Following review, we reverse.

         The record reveals that in September 2005 Premier executed a promissory note (the "Note") and mortgage (the "Mortgage") in favor of General Electric Capital Corporation ("GECC") in the amount of $4, 400, 000.00 for property located at 200 Tigue Street, Dunmore, Pennsylvania ("the Property"). GECC assigned the Mortgage and other loan documents to Wells Fargo by assignment recorded on June 27, 2012.

         In its capacity as Trustee, Wells Fargo filed a complaint on September 30, 2015, alleging that Premier was in default under the loan documents; that Premier had sold the Property in response to a foreclosure action initiated by Wells Fargo in federal court and had remitted the proceeds of the sale to Wells Fargo; that the proceeds were insufficient to satisfy the Note in full; and that Wells Fargo was entitled to collect from Premier the sum of $1, 772, 957.37[1]plus per diem interest in the amount of $275.50 from August 5, 2015 forward. Complaint, 9/30/15, at ¶¶ 6-16. In Count I of the complaint, styled "Breach of Note, " Wells Fargo incorporated its allegations of default and alleged it was entitled to recover the amounts due as well as attorney fees and other expenses as agreed upon under the terms of the Note. Id. at ¶¶ 17-24.

         Premier filed its answer and new matter on December 2, 2015. Premier denied it was in default; acknowledged it sold the property and remitted the proceeds in exchange for which the Mortgage was released; denied the proceeds were insufficient to satisfy the Note in full; and denied any principal, interest, fees or other balance was due to Wells Fargo. Answer and New Matter, 12/2/15, at ¶¶ 6-24. Premier also raised several affirmative defenses. Id. at ¶¶ 25-41. However, from the record it appears that Premier did not endorse its answer and new matter with a notice to plead, and Wells Fargo did not file a reply to new matter. Therefore, the pleadings were closed at that time.

         Ten weeks later, on February 12, 2016, Wells Fargo filed a motion for summary judgment and a memorandum in support, contending there was "no genuine issue of material fact as to the enforceability of the Note, [Premier's] breach, and the obligations due the Trustee, nor does [Premier's] Answer raise any issue of material fact." Motion for Summary Judgment, 2/12/16, at 4. Attached to the motion was an affidavit of Wells Fargo Assistant Vice President Mark Farr ("Farr Affidavit"). In the Farr Affidavit, Farr represented that the relevant electronic loan payment records were voluminous and that he based the sums claimed in the complaint on his review of those documents. Farr Affidavit at ¶¶ 41-42. Farr further represented that the summary of sums claimed was "prepared from 'duplicates' (see Pa.R.Evid. 1001(e)) of the electronic loan records previously produced in discovery." Id. at ¶ 43.[2] He suggested that "[t]he summary should be admissible as the best evidence thereof pursuant to Pa.R.Evid. 1002 and as relevant under Pa.R.Evid. 402." Id. at ¶¶ 43-44.

         Premier filed a response to Wells Fargo's summary judgment motion contending, inter alia, that it was current with its payments until Wells Fargo refused to accept them and that no event of default occurred as alleged by Wells Fargo. Premier's Response to Motion for Summary Judgment, 3/29/16, at ¶¶ 1, 4-9. Premier presented evidence filed in federal court in response to Well Fargo's motion for summary judgment, including the declaration of Premier's general manager, Umesh Matta, explaining that Wells Fargo claimed Premier was in default when Wells Fargo discovered that Premier was disputing real estate taxes on the Property. Id. at Exhibit "A;" see also Exhibit "5" (Fanucci Sworn Declaration) explaining that Premier rightfully contested taxes, negotiated a payment plan with the Lackawanna Tax Claim Bureau, made payments to satisfy all amounts due, and did so without the Property ever being scheduled for tax sale.[3] Premier also claimed that the motion for summary judgment should fail because it was based solely on the testimonial Farr Affidavit in violation of the Nanty-Glo rule.[4] Id. at ¶¶ 1, 10-11. "The Nanty-Glo rule means 'the party moving for summary judgment may not rest solely upon its own testimonial affidavits or depositions, or those of its witnesses, to establish the non-existence of genuine issue of material fact.'" DeArmitt v. New York Life Ins. Co., 73 A.3d 578, 595 (Pa. Super. 2013) (quoting Dudley v. USX Corp., 606 A.2d 916, 918 (Pa. Super. 1992)).

         Following oral argument on May 10, 2016, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo. Order, 5/10/16, at 1. The order signed by the trial judge was the proposed order submitted by Wells Fargo and simply provided that Wells Fargo's "[m]otion is GRANTED and summary judgment is entered in favor of [Wells Fargo] and against [Premier] in the amount of $1, 772, 959.37 as of August 5, 2015, together with per diem interest at $275.50 from and after August 5, 2015, together with attorney's fees and costs." Id. This timely appeal followed.

         By letter dated August 5, 2016, this Court advised the trial court that a Rule 1925(a) opinion (or statement in lieu of) was missing from the record. The trial court was directed to resubmit the record or submit a supplemental record with the missing item by August 19, 2016. The trial court did not comply with that instruction.

         On July 10, 2017, we remanded the case to the trial court for preparation of a Rule 1925(a) opinion within thirty days of this Court's directive. The trial court filed its opinion on September 11, 2017.[5] In its opinion, the trial court explained that Wells Fargo established there were no material facts in dispute and, therefore, the court granted the motion for summary judgment. Trial Court Rule 1925(a) Opinion, 9/11/17, at 2 (unnumbered). Specifically, the trial court determined that the Note and Mortgage were valid and that Premier unambiguously and unconditionally promised to repay the Note in full under the terms of that document. Id. at 3 (unnumbered). The trial court found that various defaults or events of default under the loan documents had occurred, as reflected in correspondence from Wells Fargo's counsel dated October 29, 2013 and December 4, 2013. Id. In light of the events of default, Wells Fargo advised Premier that it was accelerating Premier's obligations under the Note. Id. In response to a complaint in mortgage foreclosure filed by Wells Fargo against Premier in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Premier sold the real property subject to the mortgage. Those proceeds were accepted by Wells Fargo but were insufficient to satisfy the Note in full. Consequently, the loan was determined to be in default and Wells Fargo had standing to enforce Premier's obligations under the Note by virtue of an assignment. Id. at 3-4 (unnumbered). The trial court concluded:

Based on this [c]ourt's determination the loan and documentation were valid, the loan was in default, and that the trustee was the appropriate person to [enforce] the obligation under the note. As such there remains no material issues of material fact and summary ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.