IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK FORECLOSURE CASES RE: RULE CHANGES TO CPLR 3408(f)

October 18, 2017

New York foreclosure cases have, as part of the litigation process, a procedure known as “Resolution Part” pursuant to CPLR sec. 3408(f) which requires all parties to attend meetings to attempt to resolve the case without further litigation. Although these meetings are often held very early on (with no discovery having been done in many cases), they are necessary, and there are often multiple sessions as additional information or documentation may be required, and/or not all issues are resolved at the first or at any one meeting. In fact, at one of these meetings, the Referee told us that in some cases there had been 12, 16, and up to 21 of these meetings in a single case.

In a recent case which we settled, it took three (3) meetings to finally force the servicer to honor a prior agreement to modify a loan. The prior foreclosure Firm (a known foreclosure mill) withdrew from the case, but never submitted the paperwork as to the approved loan mod to the homeowner before they withdrew. The servicer, through its new Firm which was retained some time after the prior Firm withdrew, attempted to welsh on the prior agreement claiming that the homeowner had not timely submitted the signed paperwork back to the servicer. As a result of our filings and the documented fault of the prior law Firm, the Resolution Part Referee forced the servicer to accept the previously approved loan mod.

In prior years, it was not necessary to have an Answer filed to a foreclosure lawsuit while efforts were made in Resolution Part to settle the case. As such, certain cases went on for years without an Answer being filed and without a default being sought, thus delaying the case from being set for trial. There have been rule changes to CPLR 3408(f) which now require the Referee to advise the homeowner(s), at the first Resolution Part meeting, that they must file an Answer to the foreclosure lawsuit within thirty (30) days, and if this is not done, a default may be entered against the homeowner. This change was in obvious response to the court situation where cases dragged on for years without even an Answer being filed, thus preventing the case from being set for trial and thus not advanced.

SO, for those in New York who are in foreclosure, be aware of this rule change, and make sure that an attorney files the proper Answer to the foreclosure lawsuit timely.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

FDN SCHEDULING TWO FREE FORECLOSURE SEMINARS IN NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 6 AND 7, 2017

October 13, 2017

Per prior posts, Mr. Barnes’ foreclosure defense work in New York is increasing. FDN is thus in the process of scheduling two free foreclosure seminars in New York on November 6 and 7, 2017, with one seminar to take place in Brooklyn and a second on Long Island. Locations will be announced in a separate post once all of the necessary logistics have been completed.

The seminars will consist of one hour of presentation followed by a Q&A session. Written materials will be distributed to all who attend.

We ask that anyone who plans to attend to notify us though the “Contact Us” link on our website so that the appropriate number of written materials packets can be prepared in advance, as there will only be a limited number of these available for any “walk-in” attendees who do not pre-register.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

CALIFORNIA OFFICE TO CLOSE AS FDN BUSINESS EXPANDING IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND NEW YORK

October 8, 2017

W.J. Barnes, P.A. will be closing its Beverly Hills, California office as FDN’s business is expanding to the Pacific Northwest and is increasing in New York. It is FDN’s intention to secure an office location in Seattle, Washington shortly, and efforts to do so are already underway.

Thus at this time and pending the opening of the Seattle, Washington location, all mail should be directed to W.J. Barnes, P.A., 1515 North Federal Highway, Suite 300, Boca Raton, Florida 33432.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

HURRICANE VICTIMS BEWARE: INSURANCE COMPANIES ALREADY PLAYING GAMES WITH CLAIMS

October 7, 2017

We are already receiving reports that insurance companies are delaying damage claims made as a result of the recent hurricanes, adding insult to the injuries that homeowners have suffered at the hand of Mother Nature. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.

For years, we have had to actually litigate the “rights” to insurance checks issued to homeowners in foreclosure whose homes were damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. Although the insurance checks are supposed to be used for repairs to or replacement of a damaged home, the checks are made jointly payable to the homeowner and the servicer, and the servicer takes the position that it has “first dibbs” on the money as it is to be applied to the disputed mortgage debt.

There are specific statutes which deal with this situation, but the servicers assume that homeowners are unfamiliar with them and simply demand that the homeowner endorse an insurance check over to the servicer even though, in a contested foreclosure, the servicer has actual knowledge that the alleged “mortgage loan debt” is disputed. In view of the level and extent of devastation from the hurricanes, this is probably going to add significant additional litigation to the already overburdened court systems.

Many years ago, there was a short animated tape called “Insurance Adjuster’s School”. It showed a one room “schoolhouse”, with men in jeans and t-shirts entering the building and exiting in a white shirt, tie,and dark pants with a “Diploma” in hand. All throughout this in-and-out process was the chant: “WHAT DO WE DO? WE SAY NO! WHAT DO WE DO? DENY THE CLAIM!”, over and over again.

There was also someone who formed an insurance company many years ago who instructed his entire staff to deny every single claim that was submitted, and fight every claim as long as possible, as insurance companies are in the business of making money, not to pay claims.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

SERVICER ABUSE: LOAN MODS BEING “DENIED” BECAUSE RECEIPT OF TRIAL PAYMENTS WERE DELAYED DUE TO HURRICANES

September 19, 2017

In what can only be described as outrageous, arrogant, and beyond belief, we have been receiving reports that servicers are issuing letters of denial as to loan mod applications where trial payments were received “late”, which delay was caused solely as a result of the recent hurricanes. This conduct demonstrates, without question, that servicers will use literally any excuse to deny a loan mod application and force a foreclosure, even when the delay is due to a force majeure (or act of God) and not as the result of any fault on the part of the homeowner.

What needs to happen is that these servicers need to be taught a very serious and nasty lesson through a multi-plaintiff claim against them which should include a claim for punitive damages. Using an event of mother nature, which a homeowner has no control over, to deny a loan mod application should also be declared to be illegal and a crime, with serious penalties including a mandatory $1Million fine for each occurrence to be paid to the homeowner directly by the servicer within 10 days of a finding of misconduct. Anything less will be laughed off by the servicers as a “cost of doing business” (which business is taking homes away).

We welcome the assistance of anyone in or affiliated with Congress or any state legislature to prepare a Bill to this effect.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

 

 

WE PRAY FOR FLORIDA

September 8, 2017

This post has nothing to do with foreclosure, but with what could happen in Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma. I know: I have been through nine (9) hurricanes in my 38 years of living in Florida, including Hurricane Wilma, the eye of which passed right over my home in Boca Raton at the time and which devastated Boca Raton back in 2005. Wilma was a strong Category 3 (Irma is a Cat 4 or 5, depending on the hour and location), and was much smaller than Irma, which is larger in size than the entire state of Florida (that being over 400 miles from one side to the other).

What those who have never been through a hurricane don’t realize is that it is not just the storm itself, but the aftermath. Yes, the storm is terrifying (winds louder than a freight train for hours on end, windows being blown out, roofs being ripped off houses, roof tiles being hurtled through the air at over 100 mph, flooding, etc.), but what happens following the storm is never revealed in the news.

You can lose electricity for weeks. That means no air conditioning; all of your food goes bad and has to be thrown out; you cannot use your pool (if you have one); and everything is pitch black at night, with no streetlights, traffic lights, or otherwise. There are curfews as well, and looting and break-ins are very common as there is no light and the law enforcement agencies are overburdened.

The garbage (including the refrigerator(s) and freezer(s) of food you have to throw out) piles up as the waste companies are overburdened, and if the roads are blocked by fallen trees (as many of them in Boca Raton were after Wilma), they cannot even get through for days on end. That means that the garbage sits in the 90+ degree heat and humidity during the day, and is attacked by raccoons, rats, and stray animals at night. The garbage is then out in the street, festering in the heat, bringing “rot worms” and other pests.

Two days after the rain stops, mosquito eggs begin hatching, so literally thousands of mosquitos fill the air. Flies surround the rotting garbage. Cockroaches are everywhere due to all of the waste. Snakes come out of the woods to feed as well.

In Boca Raton after Wilma, both the entrance and exit to numerous neighborhoods were blocked by fallen banyan trees (which have shallow but outward root systems, and are easily toppled by high winds). Residents had to walk or hitchike to Home Depot to buy chain saws, then spend days cutting up the fallen trees just to be able to drive out of the neighborhood.

There is no food in the stores and no gas in the gas stations. It can take days for trucks to deliver groceries, water, and gas. You live on dry goods (crackers, cookies) and cold canned goods.

No air moves in your home. It is stifling, humid, and takes all of the energy out of you.

To take a “shower”, you have to heat up a pot of water on the grill and pour one coffee cup or pitcher of water over yourself at a time (assuming you have a grill, which many people do not have).

With no electricity and probably no internet (and with the cell towers and lines being generally downed), there is no computer or cell phone access.

The point of this post is to let those of you out there know that the effects of a hurricane are not over once the storm passes, and that the worst is the aftermath. This is when the victims need the most help, and we implore everyone to be aware of this and help in whatever way you can. This is going to be a statewide disaster for Florida the likes of which have never occurred before.

We thank you in advance for any help you can give, and pray for everyone in the path of this horrible storm.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

 

 

 

JEFF BARNES ESQ. RETAINED IN NEW YORK CASE WITH ELEVEN (11) ASSIGNMENTS OF MORTGAGE, AND IN NEW JERSEY CASE WHERE COURT ENTERED JUDGMENT IN A DISMISSED CASE

September 7, 2017

The Barnes law Firm has been retained in a foreclosure action in New York involving eleven (11) Assignments of Mortgage ranging from 2008 to 2017 and involving multiple LLC entities, several of which are the subject of other foreclosure litigation being defended by Mr. Barnes. This is the first such case that we have seen involving that number of assignments.

In another unique case, Mr. Barnes has also been retained in a foreclosure case in New Jersey where the action was dismissed in 2014 for lack of prosecution; reinstated three (3) separate times with Court-imposed deadlines for filings by the Plaintiff; and where the Plaintiff never undertook any action during any of the three (3) permitted reinstatement periods. Despite these record facts, the Court entered Final Judgment in favor of the Plaintiff in August, 2017 although at the time, the action had not been reinstated and there was no Order extending the expired third reinstatement period. The case involves a WaMu origination and an original filing by JPMorgan Chase, which claimed to have inherited the loan as a part of the Purchase & Assumption Agreement with the FDIC (which agreement was not finalized as of the time that JPM originally filed the action).The homeowner, who was pro se, is seeking to vacate the Final Judgment on numerous grounds.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

TWO SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS AND A FORECLOSURE SALE STOPPED IN TWO STATES WITHIN THREE DAYS

August 25, 2017

A foreclosure sale was stopped and two Motions for Summary Judgment were withdrawn by the foreclosing parties in two states within three days this week. Jeff Barnes, Esq. represents the homeowners in all three cases as lead counsel.

The foreclosure sale was stopped in Sevier County, Tennessee and involves America’s Wholesale Lender as the alleged “originator” of the loan, Bank of New York as the claimed “trustee” of a CWALT securitization trust, and Shellpoint as the servicer. Mr. Barnes prepared the Complaint, Motion for TRO and Preliminary Injunction, and Memorandum of Law. He is assisted by local counsel (and Tennessee state representative) Andrew Farmer, Esq. The Court entered the TRO on the papers without a hearing.

The second case is pending in Williamson County, Tennessee, and involves America’s Wholesale Lender, Bank of New York Mellon as successor Trustee to JPMorgan Chase as the claimed “trustee” of a SAMI II (Structured Asset Mortgage Investment) securitization Trust, and Nationstar as the servicer. Mr. Barnes prepared and filed the opposition papers to BNY’s Motion for Summary Judgment. BNY withdrew the MSJ after receipt of the Opposition papers. Mr. Barnes is working with local TN counsel John Higgins, Esq. on this case.

The third case is pending in Oklahoma City, OK and involves an entity which denominates itself “Syncretic Financial”. The underlying loan was allegedly securitized through Wells Fargo as the claimed “trustee” for a Stanwich Trust. The hearing on Syncretic’s Motion for Summary Judgment was cancelled by Syncretic after receipt of the opposition papers, which were prepared by Mr. Barnes. He is assisted by local Oklahoma counsel Scott Harris, Esq.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefensenationwide.com

 

 

NEXT FREE FORECLOSURE SEMINAR PLANNED FOR BROOKLYN MID-SEPTEMBER

August 22, 2017

In response to numerous requests, we are planning our next free one hour foreclosure seminar for mid-September, 2017, to be held in Brooklyn, New York. The conference room location will be announced in a later post, as we are currently reviewing various facilities to try to secure a location with close access to public transportation and with adequate parking.

There will be a 30-minute Q&A following the seminar. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

FREE FORECLOSURE DEFENSE SEMINAR IN NEW YORK RESCHEDULED TO AFTERNOON OF THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017

August 9, 2017

We previously posted that we are holding a free foreclosure defense seminar which had been scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.

The seminar has been rescheduled to Thursday, August 17, 2017 beginning at 3:30 p.m. and will be held at 745 5th Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, New York (which is just south of the east side of the intersection of East 58th Street and 5th Avenue; Bergdorf Goodman is to the left at the ground floor of the building). A one-hour presentation will be made followed by a 30-minute Q&A.

The seminar is open to anyone.

The rescheduling is due to a recent Judge’s Order which changed the hearing date on a motion in a case in Florida, which hearing Mr. Barnes must attend on August 18, 2017.

Materials will be provided at the seminar. Please e-mail us by no later than next Tuesday, Aug. 15 if you plan to attend, as we need to make sure that we have the appropriate number of copies of materials to be distributed.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com