New York Federal Court Holds Mortgagees Must Ensure Clerks Receive Satisfactions of Mortgages Within 30 Days of Payment

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently held that a mortgagee who sent a mortgage satisfaction for recording on the thirtieth day after receiving payment in full did not “present” the satisfaction to the clerk within 30 days, in violation of RPL § 275 and RPAPL § 1921 (together, the “Statutes”).  See Bellino v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2016 WL 5793417 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 3, 2016).  In the putative class action,  the defendant mortgagee received payment in full from the plaintiff borrower on a mortgage on May 14, 2012.  The defendant then sent a mortgage satisfaction to the clerk via Federal Express on June 13, 2012, or 30 days after receiving the payment.  The plaintiff then filed this action, alleging that the defendant had violated the Statutes, which require that the lender either “arrange to . . . present” or “present” the satisfaction to the clerk within 30 days of payment.  The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it had complied with the statute by sending the satisfaction within the period.  The court, however, denied the motion.  Citing dictionary definitions, case law and legislative history, it found that the Statutes required that the clerk receive the satisfaction within the 30-day period, and that sending the satisfaction within that time frame was insufficient.  This decision is one of a series of recent decisions interpreting the Statutes.  For an analysis of whether plaintiffs who had not suffered any actual damages under the Statutes have standing, click here.

For a copy of the decision, please contact Michael O’Donnell at or Michael Crowley at