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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. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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