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