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COA: Summary judgment wrong in foreclosure suit

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A mortgagee’s compliance with federal mortgage servicing responsibilities is a condition precedent that can be raised as an affirmative defense to the foreclosure of a Federal Housing Administration insured loan, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today for the first time.

Florence R. Lacy-McKinney bought a home in South Bend with an FHA-insured mortgage. She later refinanced her loan with Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., which was still an FHA-insured loan subject to federal statutes and regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lacy-McKinney eventually fell three months behind on her payments and the mortgagee filed to foreclose on her home. Lacy-McKinney raised several affirmative defenses in her response, including that Taylor-Bean refused partial mortgage payments and did not have a face-to-face meeting with her before filing for foreclosure, both of which violate HUD regulations for FHA- and HUD-insured mortgages.

The parties were unable to reach a settlement, and the trial court granted Taylor-Bean’s motion for summary judgment.

Addressing the issue for the first time in Florence R. Lacy-McKinney v. Taylor Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp., No. 71A03-0912-CV-587, the Court of Appeals needed to determine of what legal significance are the HUD regulations as to the right of a mortgagee to foreclose on a HUD-insured mortgage. After delving into the background of HUD-insured mortgages and relying on rulings from other states, including Bankers Life Co. v. Denton, 458 N.E.2d 203 (Ill. App. Ct. 1983), the appellate court concluded that HUD servicing responsibilities may be raised as an affirmative defense in foreclosure actions even though the regulations don’t create a private right of action.

“To hold that compliance with these regulations is not an affirmative defense, as Taylor-Bean suggests, would circumvent the public policy of HUD,” wrote Judge James Kirsch.

Lacy-McKinney admitted she entered into the note and mortgage and had fallen behind on her payments but claimed there were issues that precluded summary judgment. The judges agreed that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether Taylor-Bean complied with the requirement for a face-to-face meeting or made an effort to arrange a meeting before she was three months behind on her payments. They reversed summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings because the trial court erred in granting summary judgment without first determining that Taylor-Bean had complied with Subpart C of HUD servicing responsibilities, the conditions precedent to foreclosure.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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