GILBERT J. MENDOZA, and LISA M. MENDOZA
MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL MORTGAGE CORPORATION, JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.
County Superior Court (Transferred to Kent County Superior
Plaintiff: George E. Babcock, Esq.
Defendant: John J. Cronan, III, Esq.
the Court is a motion for summary judgment in a dispute
centered on a transaction involving Defendants Mortgage
Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and JPMorgan
Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase) (collectively, Defendants).
Plaintiffs Gilbert J. Mendoza and Lisa M. Mendoza (Plaintiffs
or the Mendozas) filed this action seeking to invalidate a
foreclosure upon their home. MERS and Chase have moved for
summary judgment on all counts in the Complaint. Plaintiffs
also named Defendant New England Regional Mortgage Corp. (New
England Regional Mortgage), which has not, however, joined
the instant motion.
origin of this litigation lies in the events of January 24,
2005, and those facts are undisputed. On that day, Plaintiffs
mortgaged their home, located at 6 Albemarle Avenue in the
Town of Johnston, Rhode Island, to secure a $154, 050 loan
extended by New England Regional Mortgage. This mortgage was
recorded on the same day in the Land Evidence Records of the
Town of Johnston at Book 1517, Page 1. MERS was listed as the
nominee of New England Regional Mortgage on the note and
England Regional Mortgage, on an uncertain date, endorsed the
promissory note over to Washington Mutual Bank, FA (WaMu). On
September 25, 2008, WaMu was placed in Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC) receivership, pursuant to a
determination made by the United States Office of Thrift
Supervision. The same day, FDIC sold the assets of WaMu to
Chase; the written Purchase and Sale Agreement included all
assets of WaMu, which included the Mendozas' promissory
note. Following this sale, MERS assigned the accompanying
mortgage to Chase on December 3, 2010, and recorded the
assignment in the Land Evidence Records of the Town of
Johnston at Book 2114, Page 243.
note and mortgage are thirty-year agreements requiring
monthly payments beginning in March 2005 and terminating in
February 2035. Plaintiffs failed to make their May 2010
payment. Chase notified Plaintiffs of their default on August
4, 2010; Plaintiffs failed to cure their default within
forty-five days of this notice. Foreclosure proceedings were
initiated on February 25, 2011 by notice of the time and
place of the foreclosure sale; Chase also published notice of
the foreclosure sale in the Providence Journal for three
consecutive weeks (March 28-April 11, 2011). Chase conducted
the foreclosure sale on April 18, 2011; the Federal Home Loan
Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) purchased the property,
with the foreclosure deed executed on September 29, 2011.
Plaintiffs filed suit on May 3, 2011, shortly after the
well settled that when deciding a motion for summary
judgment, '"the Court views the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party."'
Mruk v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 82
A.3d 527, 532 (R.I. 2013) (quoting Beauregard v.
Gouin, 66 A.3d 489, 493 (R.I. 2013)). "'Summary
judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material
fact is evident from the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, and the motion justice finds that the
moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of
law.'" Id. (quoting Swain v. Estate of
Tyre ex rel. Reilly, 57 A.3d 283, 288 (R.I. 2012)).
"'[T]he nonmoving party bears the burden of proving
by competent evidence the existence of a disputed issue of