Referee failed to notice or to hold a hearing on the issues

Bank of N.Y. Mellon v Viola, 2020 NY Slip Op 01895[2d Dept. 2020]

It is undisputed that the referee failed to provide notice to the defendant pursuant to CPLR 4313, or to hold a hearing on the issues addressed in the referee’s report. However, as long as a defendant is not prejudiced by the inability to submit evidence directly to the referee, a referee’s failure to notify a defendant and hold a hearing is not, by itself, a basis to reverse a judgment of foreclosure and sale and remit the matter for a hearing and a new determination of amounts owed (see Excel Capital Group Corp. v 225 Ross St. Realty, Inc., 165 AD3d 1233, 1236; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Zlotoff, 77 AD3d 702). Where, as here, a defendant had an opportunity to raise questions and submit evidence directly to the Supreme Court, which evidence could be considered by the court in determining whether to confirm the referee’s report, the defendant is not prejudiced by any error in failing to hold a hearing (see Excel Capital Group Corp. v 225 Ross St. Realty, Inc., 165 AD3d at 1236; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Zlotoff, 77 AD3d at 702). Therefore, the defendant failed to establish that the court erred in confirming the referee’s report and awarding the plaintiff a judgment of foreclosure and sale on the ground that the referee failed to provide notice of a hearing or hold a hearing.

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