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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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