In a longstanding mortgage fraud case, the defendant financing bank moved for summary judgment and opposed plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs claimed that they were “innocent parties” who were defrauded in a mortgage foreclosure scheme because they had not received certain funds at a real estate closing attended by a “straw purchaser.” Plaintiffs contended that the bank’s settlement agent and title closer, acting as an agent for the bank, was part of a plot to deprive plaintiffs of their property and sought to hold the bank vicariously liable for its agent’s alleged fraud.
The court granted the bank’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against it, because there was not “sufficient evidence to find any reason that [the bank] should be liable for any damages to plaintiffs.” The court also held that plaintiffs had waived their right to a jury trial by joining claims for money damages with equitable relief including declaratory judgment, rescission of a deed, constructive trust, accounting and injunctive relief. Cella v. Smith, Index No. 10785/2008 (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. Feb. 5, 2016). Ganfer & Shore acted as co-counsel for the defendant bank in this case.