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Court orders more proceedings in foreclosure action

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An Elkhart County man successfully convinced the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the denial of his motion to set aside default judgment in a foreclosure action. The man argued he relied on information from the bank that he could proceed with a short sale and the foreclosure proceeding would be put on hold.

Bank of America N.A. attempted to foreclose on Michael H. Kretschmer’s property in Elkhart County in 2012. When Kretschmer didn’t reply to the complaint, the trial court awarded default judgment to the bank. When Kretschmer learned of the judgment, he filed a motion to set it aside, alleging that Bank of America had agreed to a short sale of the real estate. He said he spoke with someone in the bank’s counsel’s office who told him, “not to worry about anything and to continue with the short sale.” Based on that conversation, Kretschmer did not hire an attorney or appear in court.

The matter went to a settlement conference, in which the parties agreed to stay the foreclosure pending Kretschmer’s submission of a possible short sale offer and the bank’s review of the offer. But the bank claimed it never received any offers and the trial court later ruled in favor of the bank on Kretschmer’s motion to set aside the default judgment.

But the trial court erred by denying his motion, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in Michael H. Kretschmer v. Bank of America, N.A., 20A05-1312-MF-600. The judges found that his failure to timely answer BANA’s complaint was the result of excusable neglect under Trial Rule 60(B)(1) and (3) due to the information provided by the bank’s counsel’s office.

Kretschmer claimed that he presented two short sale offers to the bank, but the bank failed to consider the offers. If true, these allegations could show that the bank engaged in contractual sabotage or other acts of bad faith, the appeals court held.

“If Kretschmer’s assertions that BANA promised to allow him more time to attempt to obtain an acceptable short sale offer are credited, then it was incumbent upon BANA to give due consideration to any short sale offers Kretschmer submitted for approval. Finally, we observe that Ind. Code § 24-4.4-2-201 provides in part that a creditor who fails to respond to a short sale offer may be liable in an action under 12 U.S.C. 2605(f), and the fact that Kretschmer may be entitled to damages under certain circumstances supports the conclusion that, if the case were tried on the merits, a different result may be reached,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

The case is remanded for further proceedings.
 

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  1. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

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  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

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  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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