Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Equitable Action — Abuse of Discretion
Meadowlands Portfolio v. Manton
Appealed from Supreme Court, Jefferson County
Background: The plaintiff commenced a foreclosure action seeking the total amount due under a settlement and release agreement executed by the parties. The agreement combined into one obligation the amounts due on a note secured by two mortgages. The agreement provided for an 18 percent interest rate, unless the defendant made periodic payments. Later, the parties executed a lien release agreement in which the plaintiff released a lien on one of the secured premises and the defendant waived his right to claim that he owed less than an addition amount. The defendant failed to make further payments. The court rejected a referee’s finding and instead determined that the defendant owned significantly less at a 9 percent interest rate for five years.
Ruling: The Appellate Division affirmed. The court held that the defendant waived his right to claim that he owed less than the amount executed in the lien release agreement and there was no abuse in discretion in reducing the principle owed to the amount stated in that agreement. Further, there was no abuse in discretion in reducing the amount of interest or its duration as the terms of the agreement provided that he defendant had no power to avoid the payment of excessive interest and that much of the 10 year delay of the case was attributable to the plaintiff.
Keith B. Caughlin of Schwerzmann & Wise for the plaintiff-appellant; Robert J. Slye of Slye & Burrows for the defendant-respondent