Michael S. Hanusek
Principal & Managing Attorney, Contested Foreclosures
The United States Marine Corps, when training its officers for combat, has an expression or method known as ‘turning the map around.’ This means simply that when a battle plan is drawn up, the responsible commander should flip or ‘turn it around’ in order to look at it from the opponent’s perspective. This assists in anticipation of a response, and in exposing flaws in the plan so that they may be corrected before being implemented. A good lawyer—a real lawyer—always ‘turns the map around.’ That is how I practice, and I encourage and instruct the associates who I supervise to do the same. Too many attorneys not only never turn the map around, they never modify their standard battle plans in the first place, regardless of the circumstances, and that is simply a disservice to the client.
- Creditors’ Rights
- State of New Jersey, 1981
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1989
- United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 2003
- State of New York, 2004
- Saint Bonaventure University—Bachelor of Arts, English, cum laude 1978
- Seton Hall School of Law – Juris Doctor 1981
Mr. Hanusek is the Supervising Attorney for the Firm’s Secured Creditors’ Rights Litigation Group, where he is personally responsible for both litigating and supervising a high volume of contested residential real estate foreclosure actions in both New Jersey and New York, including discovery and motion practice, trials and plenary hearings, settlement negotiations and appeals.
Mr. Hanusek also has years of hands on experience preparing and presenting successful land use development applications before New Jersey local zoning and planning boards, ranging from one lot subdivisions and zoning permits for homeowners to the expansion and remodeling of local businesses. Mr. Hanusek has also litigated municipal land use related matters in prerogative writ actions in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Mr. Hanusek brings a unique body of legal experience to the area of litigated residential foreclosures that gives him a special human relations and professional perspective. Unlike foreclosure counsel who have never had the opportunity to practice other kinds of law, he has practiced every aspect of real estate law, from handling residential and commercial closings to preparing and presenting land use development applications (both at the local board level and in resulting Superior Court litigation) and litigating complex quiet title, environmental, and major construction law matters. In the area of foreclosures, both residential and commercial, Mr. Hanusek has not only engaged in years of motion, trial, and appellate practice but has bid at Sheriff’s sales and has actually served defendants with process (and been chased by dogs) and has supervised large scale commercial evictions. As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Passaic County, New Jersey, Mr. Hanusek tried rape and other violent crime cases before both judges and juries. In later private practice, he represented Family Court litigants in bitterly contested custody and domestic violence matters while also sitting on the Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel in Sussex County, New Jersey. All of the foregoing has armed Mr. Hanusek with a skill set that includes discipline, patience, creativity, and intuition that goes beyond any standard foreclosure “playbook.”
- United National Bank v. Parish, 330 J. Super. 654 (Ch. Div. 1999).
Permitted junior mortgagee to collect rents from borrower ahead of prior mortgagee who failed to timely assert its priority.
- Investors Savings Bank Inc. v. Sitzman, 2010 N.J. Super Unpub. LEXIS 1333 (App. Div 2010).
Established that a party could not cut out a mortgagee’s right to payment under its mortgage or void its security by utilization of the insolvent estate statutes.
- Homecomings Fin. Network v. Schultz, 2007 N.J Super Unpub. LEXIS 1984 (App Div 2007)
Established that a defaulted borrower is not entitled to the benefit of a corresponding lower payoff amount when the mortgage loan is sold by the lender at a discount to a new investor.
- Sheppard v. Township of Frankford, 261 J. Super. 5 (App. Div. 1992)
Reversed the trial court’s denial of injunctive relief to abate a continuing nuisance in the form of storm water runoff directed over Plaintiff’s property by the Defendant Township.
- Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. v. Coakley, 41 A.D. 3d 674 (2nd Dept. 2007), upheld the right of MERS to foreclose in New York and was often cited as authority for the proposition that the holder of a note indorsed in blank has standing to foreclose.
- Hanusek has lectured in the area of foreclosure litigation for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education and The National Business Institute and has sat as a Moot Court Judge at Yale University. Mr. Hanusek on behalf of the Firm also often gives in person presentations and seminars to institutional and mortgage servicer clients on “hot topic” legal issues and challenges in New York and New Jersey and provides strategies to appropriately and successfully navigate same.
- Hanusek served as Law Secretary to the Honorable Thomas R. Rumana, JSC in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic County.