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Ocwen Victory Good for All NJ Home Lenders

Appellate division finds mortgage outlives life estate

July 28, 2017


In the recently published decision of Ocwen Loan Services v. Quinn, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, affirmed a decision of the Superior Court, Passaic County, granting summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff-mortgagee, holding that the life estates of two defendants, who did not sign the plaintiff's mortgage, were subordinated to the plaintiff's mortgage based on the equitable principles recognized by the court in Sovereign Bank v. Gillis, 432 N.J. Super. 36 (App. Div. 2013), and the principles of replacement and modification. 

In the affirmed ruling of the trial court, the Hon. Margaret Mary McVeigh allowed the plaintiff to "step into the shoes of its prior mortgage which its own funds satisfied," but capped the amount of plaintiff's priority at $260,000 -- the amount of the prior-satisfied mortgage -- plus an additional $43,019.85 for taxes and insurance advanced by the plaintiff and its predecessors while the mortgage loan was in default. 

The court concluded that this result put the defendants in the same position they were in when they signed the prior $260,000 mortgage to which they had subordinated their life estates, and for that reason, affirmed the trial court order. In so doing, it permitted the lender to foreclose on the life estates -- at least to the extent of the amount of the prior mortgage and the advances for taxes and insurance -- rather than having to wait for the termination of those estates.

About the Authors
Day Pitney New York associate Rachel G. Packer represents lenders, investors and servicers in general litigation and other civil matters. She can be reached at

Joy Harmon Sperling , Day Pitney New Jersey partner and chair of its Consumer Finance and Creditors' Rights group, primarily represents consumer lending institutions - such as mortgage servicers, as well as lenders and investors - in the defense of claims by borrowers in individual and class-action claims throughout the nation. Email Joy at

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