123 A.D.3d 694, 998 N.Y.S.2d 117 [2d Dept., 2014]
A defendant against whom no specific claims are made in the complaint need not serve an answer. There is, in fact, nothing in the complaint for him to deny. If he wishes not to default, he may simply serve a notice of appearance and thereby preserve his right to notice of all proceedings in the action. The notice of appearance may simply be served on the plaintiff, and there is no requirement that it be filed with the clerk of the court.
Here, the action was to foreclose on property owned by the defendant Eriora, and Soo I Young was named in the complaint as the holder of a second mortgage. Young was not required to answer, and his service of a notice of appearance was sufficient. The plaintiff moved for a default judgment without notifying Young, alleging that none of the defendants had appeared or answered. The motion was granted, and the resulting order determined that Young’s second mortgage was invalid and that he was barred from redeeming any interest in the property.
Since Young had, in fact, appeared via the notice of appearance, the order should have been vacated on his application.