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Supreme Court posts foreclosure best practices

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The Indiana Supreme Court has posted best practices regarding mortgage foreclosures filed in Indiana. The Indiana attorney general also filed a petition  Monday with the Supreme Court supporting the best practices and asking for the Supreme Court to require those recommendations in mortgage foreclosure proceedings.

These guidelines were developed by a foreclosure-prevention task force established by the Indiana Supreme Court, which included the attorney general’s office, judges, Supreme Court staff, legal services attorneys, and attorneys for mortgage lenders.

The guidelines are based on observations of the functions and results of settlement conferences that have taken place around the state under a statute that went into effect July 1, 2009, and settlement conferences that have taken place as part of the Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project.

Among the Supreme Court’s recommendations are standards for lenders who file pleadings against borrowers, best practices regarding settlement conferences, and that notice be given to borrowers if something changes post-judgment.

Best practices for pleadings include explanation as to why the plaintiff should be classified as a “person entitled to enforce” the instrument; that the original instrument should be readily available if the court requests it; that any endorsements or transfers of loan instruments should be readily available if the court requests them; if the original instrument has been lost, counsel should follow the correct procedures; and that the plaintiff should provide contact information for every defendant debtor, including potentially illegal “rescue agencies” that may be linked to the mortgage.

Best practices for settlement conferences include separate notice from the trial court to each defendant debtor; if the plaintiff claims the defendant is not eligible for settlement conference, the plaintiff should present proof of why (including whether the borrower does not live in the residence or that the borrower previously failed to comply with a foreclosure prevention agreement); and if additional documentation is needed at settlement conference, the settlement conference should reconvene to give borrowers a chance to provide any missing information.

The best practices also include possible sanctions for lenders who do not follow trial court directives regarding settlement conferences. This includes a plaintiff’s failure to appear at a settlement conference or asking the defendant to waive his or her right to a settlement conference. Sanctions imposed by judges in Allen and St. Joseph counties have ranged from $150 to $2,500, according to the document.

In addition to the Supreme Court’s recommendations, the petition submitted by Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Abby Kuzma, chief counsel and director of the Consumer Protection Division of the AG’s office, includes additional recommendations, including a requirement that “Plaintiffs shall include a Verified Affidavit describing Defendant’s compliance with federal requirements to engage Plaintiff in loss mitigation efforts and the reason for denial of loss mitigation.”

Zoeller’s petition also requests the Supreme Court to make the best practices requirements rather than recommendations, suggesting that “should” be changed to “shall” in all of the Supreme Court’s recommendations.
 

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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