Justice Marcy Friedman

Park Avenue Bank (PAB), as successor to Valley National Bank (VNB), sought to recover on a loan made by the Gurba defendants, and for summary judgment as to liability. VNB made a prima facie showing Gurba defaulted under a promissory note by failing to make monthly payments, thus PAB accelerated the principal due. Gurba asserted defenses, which the court rejected for failing to raise a triable issue of fact of whether the subject loan was modified, as Gurba alleged. The court noted that while Gurba presented persuasive evidence that PAB misrepresented its ability and intend to extend the requested line of credit to a Bulova Technologies entity, as a sophisticated business person, Gurba could not establish he reasonably relied on an agreement to extend a line of credit conditioned on further due diligence made by a bank he was aware was under investigation by federal regulators. Gurba also argued VNB failed to mitigate damages, but the court stated as plaintiffs sought summary judgment only as to liability, the mitigation claim affected only the damages plaintiffs may collect, not the Gurba’s liability. Hence, it permitted the issue to be addressed at a damages trial, but awarded VNB partial summary judgment as to liability against Gurba.