The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that the judge should not have, sua sponte, denied plaintiff bank’s motion for summary judgment in this foreclosure action on the ground the bank did not establish standing. The bank need not affirmatively demonstrate standing absent the defendant’s assertion that the bank lacked standing. Here the defendant did not address the bank’s standing in his answer and did not oppose the motion for summary judgment:
… [A]s a general matter, a plaintiff need not establish its standing (i.e., that it held and/or owned the note at the time the action was commenced) as an essential element of the cause of action. Rather, it is only where the plaintiff’s standing is placed in issue by the defendant that the plaintiff must shoulder the additional burden of establishing its standing to commence the action, a burden satisfied by evidence that it was the holder or assignee of the underlying note at the time the action was commenced” … .
In the present case, the defendant did not raise the issue of standing by asserting lack of standing as an affirmative defense in his answer or moving to dismiss the complaint on that ground in a pre-answer motion to dismiss … . Inasmuch as the defendant “failed to . . . raise the issue, it was inappropriate for the Supreme Court to, sua sponte, do so on the defendant[‘s] behalf” … . The issue of standing was not properly before the Supreme Court … . Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Matzen, 2019 NY Slip Op 05386, Second Dept 7-3-19