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R.I. Joint Reinsurance Ass'n v. Rosario

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

June 4, 2015

Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association
v.
Manuel Rosario et al

Providence County Superior Court. (PC 10-2270). Associate Justice Luis M. Matos.

For Plaintiff: James P. Marusak, Esq.

For Defendants: George E. Babcock, Esq.

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

OPINION

Page 169

Francis X. Flaherty, Justice

This appeal arose from an interpleader action filed by the plaintiff, Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association (RIJRA), against multiple defendants to determine the proper disposition of insurance proceeds.[1] The defendants, Manuel Rosario (Rosario) and Reyna Bernard (Bernard), appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court in favor of Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (Ocwen) as agent for HSBC Bank, USA, N.A. (HSBC), granting Ocwen's motion for summary judgment with regard to the interpleader claim as well as all other claims asserted by the defendants in this action.[2] After considering the record below and the memoranda submitted by the parties, and for the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

I

Facts and Travel

The pertinent facts are as follows. On March 16, 2006, Bernard purchased property at 265 Union Avenue in Providence. On the same day, Bernard executed a promissory note to Delta Funding Corporation d/b/a Fidelity Mortgage (Fidelity Mortgage) in the principal amount of $236,000 that was secured by a mortgage on the property.[3] The mortgage identified Bernard as the borrower and mortgagor, Fidelity Mortgage as the lender, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as the mortgagee and nominee for the lender. The note was endorsed to HSBC by an undated allonge and, on July 21, 2008, MERS, acting in its capacity as nominee of the lender, assigned the mortgage to HSBC.

On February 17, 2009, a fire destroyed the property, and it was determined that repair was not feasible. The following day, Rosario entered into an insurance adjusting agreement with McCauley & L'Europa, LLC (McCauley & L'Europa). The agreement provided that McCauley & L'Europa would assist with the adjustment of the loss in return for a fee of 8 percent of the total recoverable loss.

Bernard subsequently defaulted on payments due under the note and foreclosure proceedings were initiated. On July 28, 2009, the property was sold at a foreclosure sale at which HSBC was the high bidder with a bid of $81,375. Thereafter, on September 10, 2009, HSBC executed a quitclaim deed to a third party, Brian Justiniano, for the sum of $31,000. As of January 2011, there was an unpaid deficiency

Page 170

on the note in the amount of ...


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