Brooklyn Boro

Justice Sweeney talks building blocks of foreclosures at Columbian Lawyers meeting

March 10, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Peter P. Sweeney (right) and Joseph Etra (right) joined President Dean Delianites and the Columbian Lawyers Association for a CLE discussion, "The Building Blocks of Foreclosures." Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The Columbian Lawyers Association hosted Justice Peter Sweeney and attorney Joseph Etra for a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar, “The Building Blocks of Foreclosures,” at its monthly meeting at Rex Manor in Dyker Heights on Tuesday.

“Judge Sweeney had 15 years of experience in the field of civil litigation prior to joining the bench where he represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of cases,” said Dean Delianites, president of the Columbian Lawyers Association. “In the approximately 15 years since he joined the bench, he has presided over hundreds of jury and bench trials and published numerous decisions.

“We also have Joseph Etra with us, who is the principal law clerk in the foreclosure part,” Delianites continued. “As part of the legal staff of the highest volume foreclosure department in New York state, Joe has conferenced thousands of cases, written hundreds of opinions and negotiated many amicable resolutions.”

Sweeney and Etra split the seminar into two parts with the judge explaining the basics of foreclosure including how notes are transferred and standing. Etra focused on the process of foreclosure once litigation has commenced.

“At the closing the buyer will also sign a mortgage agreement that gives the lender a lien on the real property purchased. It also gives the lender the right to sell the home to recoup its money if the borrower doesn’t pay the note as required,” Sweeney said. “The two most important documents on our foreclosure action are the note and the mortgage. The note is the most important because the signing of the mortgage without the underlying note cannot bring a foreclosure action.”

Sweeney then went on to describe the two ways a note can be transferred — either by written assignment of the note or by endorsement and delivery. He also explained the reasons for foreclosure, beyond simply recouping debt, and explained the statute of limitations.

“An action to foreclose a mortgage is subject to a six year statute of limitations,” Sweeney said. “However, mortgage loans are payable in installments. Separate courses of action accrue for each installment that is not paid and the statute of limitations begins to run on the date that each such installment comes due.”

The Columbian Lawyers host their next monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 4 at the Rex Manor during which past president Bruno Codispoti will present a CLE on intellectual property. Prior to that event, the Columbian Lawyers will co-sponsor with the Catholic Lawyers Guild a St. Joseph’s feast at the Law Offices of Frank Seddio in Canarsie at 1 p.m. on March 24.

The Columbian Lawyers Association, First Department, will host its annual Rapallo-Scalia Awards Luncheon on April 7 at 12 p.m. at the Plaza in Manhattan in which it will honor Justice Joseph J. Maltese.


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