USA Bank v. Schulz
A motion for re-argument has to be filed no later than 20 days after the ruling on the motion as to which re-argument is sought. On Oct. 20, 2011, the trial court granted summary judgment as to liability to the plaintiff, Customers Bank, in this action to foreclose on commercial property against Steven Schulz. A judgment of strict foreclosure entered on Jan. 30, 2012. On May 25, 2012, more than 30 days after the passage of the law day, the defendant filed a motion to open judgment and extend the law day, seeking to re-argue the summary judgment motion. The court denied the motion. The defendant appealed from the denial of the motion to open, alleging that the court erred in ruling on the summary judgment motion when he was unrepresented by counsel due to his lawyer's temporary suspension from the practice of law. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Notwithstanding its title, the motion to open sought only to re-argue the summary judgment motion. The defendant failed to file a timely appeal from the granting of the motion for judgment of strict foreclosure or entry of the judgment of strict foreclosure. Therefore, he could not challenge the merits of that judgment in this appeal or, in doing so, challenge the order granting summary judgment upon which that judgment was predicated. The only issue the Appellate Court lawfully could review was whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion to open judgment. No such abuse of discretion was found. The motion to open, nothing more than a belated motion for re-argument, had to be filed no later than Nov. 9, 2011, 20 days after the summary judgment ruling. Filed on May 25, 2012, the motion was untimely by more than six months. For that reason alone the trial court acted well within its discretion in denying it. No reason in equity was found to excuse the delay. The record revealed that the defendant had the services of qualified legal counsel in early Jan. 2012. No opposition was filed from the date the motion for judgment of strict foreclosure was filed on Jan 11, 2012 to the date it was granted, Jan. 30, 2012, or in the ensuing 20 day appeal or argument period.