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Valley National Bank v. Marchiano

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

October 24, 2019

VALLEY NATIONAL BANK
v.
PHILIP M. & SANDRA E. MARCHIANO Appellants VALLEY NATIONAL BANK
v.
BRIAN GABBETT AND SUSAN GABBETT Appellants VALLEY NATIONAL BANK
v.
MARK A. RIVOLI AND KENDRA G. RIVOLI Appellants

          Appeal from the Order Entered November 9, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County Civil Division at No(s): 17-20530

          Appeal from the Order Entered November 8, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County Civil Division at No(s): 17-20546

          Appeal from the Order Entered December 5, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County Civil Division at No(s): 17-20559

          BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., MURRAY, J., and STEVENS, [*] P.J.E.

          OPINION

          LAZARUS, J.

         In this consolidated appeal, [1] Philip M. & Sandra E. Marchiano, Appellants at 2002 MDA 2018, Brian & Susan Gabbett, Appellants at 1985 MDA 2018, and Mark A. & Kendra G. Rivoli, Appellants at 2087 MDA 2018 (collectively "Mortgagors"), appeal from orders granting summary judgment in favor of Appellee, Valley National Bank ("Valley National"). After careful review, we affirm.

         All three cases originate from the same operative facts. In May 2007, Brian Gabbett, as president of Twisted Ice Incorporated d/b/a/ Soft Pretzel Factory ("TWI"), executed a promissory note to document a $265, 000 small business loan to TWI. The loan was secured by three mortgages on Mortgagors' properties. In November 2012, TWI defaulted on the loan. Valley National accelerated the loan and sent Mortgagors demand letters on October 4, 2016. In November 2017, Valley National initiated mortgage foreclosure actions against all Mortgagors. In July 2018, Valley National filed a motion for summary judgment. In August 2018, Mortgagors filed an answer to Valley National's motion and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. All parties agreed that the loan was in default. Mortgagors' raised the defense of the statute of limitations.

         On November 5, 2018, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Valley National finding that the document was under seal and, thus, subject to a twenty-year statute of limitations. These timely appeals followed.

         Mortgagors raise the following issue for our review:

Whether the trial [court] committed an error of law or abused its discretion or otherwise violated Appellants' federal and state constitutional rights to due process by granting [Valley National's] motion for summary judgment based [on] its conclusion that the [mortgages] in controversy [were] instrument[s] signed under seal, not subject to the four-year statute of limitations set forth at 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5525.

Appellants' brief, at 4.

         Mortgagors challenge the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Valley National. Our Supreme Court has clarified our role on appellate review as follows:

On appellate review, [] an appellate court may reverse a grant of summary judgment if there has been an error of law or an abuse of discretion. But the issue as to whether there are no genuine issues as to any material fact presents a question of law, and therefore, on that question our standard of review is de novo. This means we need not defer to the determinations made by the lower tribunals. To the extent that this Court must resolve a question of law, we shall review the grant of summary judgment in the context of the entire record.

Summers v. Certainteed Corp., 997 A.2d 1152, 1159 (Pa. 2010) (citation omitted). "The application of the statute of limitations to an alleged cause of action is a matter of law to be determined by the court." Packer Soc'y HillTravel Agency, Inc. v. Presbyterian Univ. Med. Ctr., 635 A.2d 649, 651 (Pa. Super. ...


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