Who remembers the Yano-Horoski v. IndyMac case? Everyone in foreclosure defense world were thrilled that the trial court cancelled their mortgage and note after finding that the lender engaged in “offensive” and “repugnant” actions. Here in Judge Spinner’s words, he describes why he decided to cancel the Horoski note and mortgage:
In attempting to arrive at a determination as to whether or not equity should properly intervene in this matter so as to permit foreclosure of the mortgage, the Court is required to look at the situattion in toto, giving due and careful consideration as to whether the remedy sought by Plaintiff would be repugnant to the public interest when seen from the point of view of public morality, see, for example, 55 NY Jur. Equity § 113, Molinas v. Podloff 133 NYS2d 743 (Sup. Ct., New York County, 1954). Equitable relief will not lie in favor of one who acts in a manner which is shocking to the conscience, Duggan v. Platz 238 AD 197, 264 NYS 403 (3rd Dept. 1933), mod. on other grounds 263 NY 505, 189 NE 566 (1934), neither will equity be available to one who acts in a manner that is oppressive or unjust or whose conduct is sufficiently egregious so as to prohibit the party from asserting its legal rights against a defaulting adversary, In Re Foreclosure Of Tax Liens 117 NYS2d 725 (Sup. Ct. Kings County, 1952), aff’d on other grounds 286 AD 1027, 145 NYS2d 97 (2nd Dept. 1955), mod. on other grounds on reargument 1 AD2d 95, 148 NYS2d 173 (2nd Dept. 1955), appeal granted 7 AD2d 784, 149 NYS2d 227 (2nd Dept. 1956). The compass by which the questioned conduct must be measured is a moral one and the acts complained of (those that are sufficient so as to prevent equity’s intervention) need not be criminal nor actionable at law but must merely be willful and unconscionable or be of such a nature that honest and fair minded folk would roundly denounce such actions as being morally and ethically wrong, Pecorella v. Greater Buffalo Press Inc. 107 AD2d 1064, 468 NYS2d 562 (4th Dept. 1985). Thus, where a party acts in a manner that is offensive to good conscience and justice, he will be completely without recourse in a court of equity, regardless of what his legal rights may be, Eastman Kodak Co. v. Schwartz 133 NYS2d 908 (Sup. Ct., New York County, 1954), York v. Searles 97 AD 331, 90 NYS 37 (2nd Dept. 1904), aff’d 189 NY 573, 82 NE 1134 (1907).
As expected, the bank appealed. Judge Spinner’s decision was reversed. And, in a rare move, the bank decided to heartlessly go after the Horoskis and seek a deficiency judgment. In foreclosure world, banks have been allowed to not only get away with fraud with impunity but also to mercilessly exact punishment on their victims.
The New York family that in 2009 became the national face of beating back “repugnant” and “repulsive” bank foreclosure practices after a judge ripped up the mortgage on their $525,000 ranch home, not only lost an appeal of the judge’s order — and eventually their home — but were also slapped with a $264,500 bill from the bank.
The bill was to cover the difference between what was owed on the mortgage and what the bank got when it sold their 3,400 square-foot home, court records show.
“That’s adding insult to injury,” Suffolk Judge Jeffrey Spinner said of the quarter-million-dollar-plus deficiency judgment.