In a ruling of interest to mortgage lenders, a bankruptcy judge has ruled that even a grossly negligent lender is entitled to the benefit of equitable subrogation in determining priority.

The Jan. 11 decision is good news for Countrywide Homes Loans Inc., which is trying to recover on a $691,000 loan made to Richard Spair in 2004 for a refinance of his Wall Township, N.J., home. Countrywide acquired the mortgage from Quicken Loans in 2006.

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