The Second Department determined the amount of interest and attorney’s fees in this foreclosure proceeding must be recalculated. There was a three-year delay (which was not plaintiff’s fault) for which interest should not have accrued. In addition there must be some showing the attorney’s fees reflect the work actually done:
“In an action of an equitable nature, the recovery of interest is within the court’s discretion. The exercise of that discretion will be governed by the particular facts in each case, including any wrongful conduct by either party” … . Here, in view of the lengthy delay by PE-NC’s [plaintiff’s] predecessors in interest in prosecuting this action, PE-NC should recover no interest for the roughly three-year period of time from when the action was commenced in 2005 to when the defendant filed a request for judicial intervention in 2008. While PE-NC did not cause this delay, it should not benefit financially, in the form of accrued interest, from this delay caused by its predecessors in interest. Furthermore, PE-NC should not recover interest on the counsel fees awarded to it. Paragraphs 7 and 21 of the mortgage are inconsistent regarding whether interest could be recovered on counsel fees. Since “ambiguities in a contractual instrument will be resolved contra proferentem, against the party who prepared or presented it” … , this ambiguity must be resolved against PE-NC, whose predecessors in interest presented the mortgage. Moreover, interest awarded under paragraph 7 of the mortgage, on money advanced to protect the lender’s rights in the property, should not have been awarded at the rate of 17%, but at the “Note rate,” which, in this case, was 7.25%.
“An award of an attorney’s fee pursuant to a contractual provision may only be enforced to the extent that the amount is reasonable and warranted for the services actually rendered. In determining reasonable compensation for an attorney, the court must consider such factors as the time, effort, and skill required; the difficulty of the questions presented; counsel’s experience, ability, and reputation; the fee customarily charged in the locality; and the contingency or certainty of compensation” … . In this case, a determination must be made on the reasonableness of the counsel fees, following a hearing on that issue, if necessary. Greenpoint Mtge. Corp. v Lamberti, 2017 NY Slip Op 08353, Second Dept 11-29-17
FORECLOSURE (INTEREST MUST BE RECALCULATED AND ATTORNEY’S FEES MUST BE SHOWN TO BE REASONABLE, PERHAPS IN A HEARING, IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION (SECOND DEPT))/ATTORNEYS (FORECLOSURE, INTEREST, FEES, INTEREST MUST BE RECALCULATED AND ATTORNEY’S FEES MUST BE SHOWN TO BE REASONABLE, PERHAPS IN A HEARING, IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION (SECOND DEPT))/INTEREST (FORECLOSURE, ATTORNEY’S FEES, INTEREST MUST BE RECALCULATED AND ATTORNEY’S FEES MUST BE SHOWN TO BE REASONABLE, PERHAPS IN A HEARING, IN THIS FORECLOSURE ACTION (SECOND DEPT))