The attorneys at Doucet & Associates Co LPA help homeowners in Ohio dealing with foreclosure lawsuits in a variety of ways. We can assist homeowners during the loan modification process, identify mortgage errors, and help file an answer when being served with a complaint in a foreclosure lawsuit...
A loan modification is a great resource to prevent homeowners suffering from a financial emergency from falling behind on their mortgage payments and becoming a victim of foreclosure...
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active duty military personnel and other deployed service members from losing their home and other assets while they are serving active duty, temporarily stationed somewhere else, or permanently relocated...
CitiMortgage and CitiFinancial Servicing have been fined $28.8 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for failing to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by using bad loss mitigation practices...
First-Knox National Bank applied our clients mortgage payments wrong after they were granted a loan modification with deferred interests and other charges. In this case, we learned that an employee must manually remove deferred interests from a loan when applying a mortgage payment...
Rick Slorp alleges that BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. and its attorneys at Lerner Sampson & Rothfuss LLP (LSR) created and submitted multiple fake versions of his promissory note to use as evidence against him in a foreclosure lawsuit.
New Flex Modification Program Will Replace HAMP
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by adjusting interest rates and modifying loans expired at the end of the year. A new Flex Modification program will replace HAMP starting in 2017.
The new Flex Modification program is designed to cut back on monthly mortgage payments when homeowners are experiencing financial hardships and behind on their mortgage. Some homeowners are expected to receive up to a 20% payment reduction on their mortgage. Introduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Flex Modification foreclosure prevention program is supposed to be adaptive to regional differences and the ever-changing housing market.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government enterprises developed by Congress to help loan servicers convert assets to cash, a concept known as liquidity. To do this, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and loan servicers. The lenders then take the profit from selling the mortgages and relend it to other consumers buying a home or property. The government enterprises help lenders have an affordable supply of monetary funds to distribute in mortgage loans around the United States.
Flex Modification is expected to help lenders, homeowners, taxpayers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac save money by avoiding the expensive and long foreclosure process. If you are having financial difficulties and struggling to pay your mortgage payment in full every month, a loan modification may be able to help you keep your home. Contact a foreclosure defense lawyer at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance securing a loan modification today.
Save the Dream Ohio Restarts
Save the Dream Ohio is a federally funded program that keeps families experiencing job loss from falling into foreclosure. The program started taking applications again in September for homeowners receiving unemployment benefits since January 1, 2014. The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. helps homeowners fight foreclosure by securing loan modifications and by finding mortgage errors, which can include Save the Dream foundation applications.
Save the Dream Ohio started in 2010 and helped over 20,000 families pay mortgage liabilities with forgivable loans. The program assists families by making mortgage payments for up to 18 months depending on the severity of the financial situation. The program may also pay missed mortgage payments, property taxes and fees, and reduce the principal balance on a mortgage. Before the program halted two years ago an estimated 98% of families helped continued living in their home.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) manages the Save the Dream Ohio foundation by working with nonprofit housing counseling agencies. Families with an annual household income under $112,375 who owe less than $432,000 on a mortgage may qualify for help. Homeowners do not have to pay a fee to receive assistance.
The OHFA must receive approval from a homeowner’s mortgage company or lender to provide financial assistance. Homeowners can apply for assistance at www.SavetheDream.ohio.gov or by calling (888)-404-4674.
If you are not accepted into Save the Dream and facing foreclosure, the lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. maybe able to help you apply for a loan modification or defend the lawsuit.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active duty military personnel and their immediate families from financial hardships and a variety of legal issues. The SCRA protects people involved in the United States armed forces, the national guards, public health services, and other administrative positions. Active duty personnel must request protection services from an armed forces legal assistance office.
Active duty personnel may request reduced interest rates on a mortgage, credit card, automobile loans, or other loans through the SCRA. Interest rates are reduced to at least six percent and are allowed to be applied to monetary obligations obtained before active duty. Credit reporting agencies and lenders cannot use approved SCRA reduced rates in a harmful way to lower a consumer credit score.
People receiving protection through the SCRA are not allowed to be evicted from a rental property without a court order. The average rental property that is protected under these rights are around 3,000 dollars a month and change a little every year. The SCRA also protects the right to judicial relief to postpone a civil court issue at least 90 days with court approval. Active duty personnel may also request a civil court case to be reopened if failing to appear in court due to temporary relocation. Criminal court proceedings are not protected under judicial relief.
People selected for active duty positions requiring deployment more than 90 days have the right to request termination of a property lease without penalties. Residential and business properties are protected and filing for termination can take place before leaving or during active duty if extended. Termination of a car lease is possible if active duty position requires deployment for 180 days.
If an active duty position effects a person’s ability to pay mortgage rates on a housing contract, the SCRA can provide legal assistance to keep a property from foreclosing. Mortgage companies must receive a court order to file foreclosure on the home of military personnel involved in active duty. Automobile companies must also receive a court order to repossess a vehicle for missed payments.
Military personnel required to move from their home state is provided state tax relief under the SCRA. A person may request to continue paying the taxes of their home state on military income and personal property. Military personnel are also allowed to reinstate cancelled insurances without penalties after ending an active duty term. Insurances may include health insurance, life insurance, home insurance and other plans.
Doucet & Associates Co. L.P.A. in Ohio helps people enforce rights based on the SCRA. Please contact us today if you or someone you know needs help.
Truth In Lending Act
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law legislated on May 29, 1968 under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The TILA was created to protect consumers involved in contracts with credited purchases with creditors and lenders. Essentially the TILA act enforces loan companies and credit card companies to provide all information regarding interest rates and other fees before a consumer agrees to borrow.
TILA covers open-ended credit and close-ended credit. Open-ended credit includes borrowed funds such as credit cards, debit cards and home equity loans. Examples of close-ended credit include auto loans and home mortgages. Information regarding terms of an Annual Percentage Rate (APR), the total amount offered in a loan and the frequency of due dates to repay the loan is now obligatory for the loaner to provide to the consumer under this act. The dispense of required information now allows consumers to be aware of contracts, costs of credit and so-called hidden fees. Consumers are also able to be more confident and comfortable agreeing to credit related contracts because they can use the provided information to compare a variety of loans or borrowed money.
Failure of cooperation by a loaner or creditor to provide the required information to the consumer can result in rescission in certain instances. The loan or credit transaction would be disentangled and canceled, and all fees and paid money would be returned back to the consumer in a rescission. Lenders and credit companies are more disposed and willing to provide the required information based on TILA due to the amount of loss which could generated during a rescission.
You can find out more information about the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) regarding home owners and foreclosure by reading 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank by Troy Doucet.
A Mortgage Servicer Must Show Compliance with Housing and Urban Development Regulations Prior to Initiating Foreclosure Action
In Wells Fargo, N.A., vs. Awadallah, 41 N.E.3d 481 (2015), the Ninth District held that where a note and mortgage requires compliance with HUD regulations, such compliance is a condition precedent to bringing a foreclosure action. A condition precedent is something that must occur before something else will or can occur. Ms. Awadallah’s promissory note and mortgage were prepared on Federal Housing Administration forms and required that the bank, as a condition of receiving federal money, meet all HUD requirements prior to filing a foreclosure action. Under HUD, Wells Fargo was required to have a face-to-face interview with Ms. Awadallah, or make a reasonable effort to arrange such. At minimum, Wells Fargo was required to send a certified letter to Ms. Awadallah and make at least one trip to see her at the mortgaged property. It failed to do so.
Wells Fargo failed to present evidence to the Ninth District regarding their reasonable effort to make a visit to Ms. Awadallah’s home, which is expressly required under her note and mortgage and federal regulation. Wells Fargo argued that they didn’t need to meet that requirement because after the foreclosure action was filed, the parties attempted to settle the case in mediation. Wells Fargo argued that the purpose of the in-person meeting, as required under HUD, is to consider loss mitigation and that court-sponsored mediation serves the same purpose. The Ninth District disagreed, stating that mediation after the foreclosure action has been initiated does not show compliance with the federal regulation. Wells Fargo failed to strictly comply with standard regulations set forth to protect consumers. Thus, Wells Fargo did not satisfy the conditions precedent to filing a foreclosure action against Ms. Awadallah. Therefore, Wells Fargo was not entitled to succeed on its motion for summary judgment. The Ninth District reversed the judgment and sent the case back for further proceedings.
Defending Foreclosure: The Basics and How to Use Them
Receiving a court summons for foreclosure is frightening. You find yourself pondering questions you never thought you would encounter. Can you save your home? Will your credit report be affected? Where will your family live?
The bank is telling the court that it has a right under the mortgage to foreclose on you. However, keep in mind that you have rights too, and it is legal, ethical, and smart to assert all of your rights with the help of an attorney when facing foreclosure.
Efficient foreclosure defense can allow you to stay in your home while you litigate your case, and we help many of our clients to save their home. However, if you are looking at other options, we can also help you obtain a deficiency judgment waiver in the situation that you leave your home, such as in a foreclosure sale, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure agreement. We also help many clients to apply for and obtain a loan modification that reduces their principal, interest rate, and monthly payment.
Some of the defenses that experienced foreclosure defense attorneys employ to delay or dismiss foreclosures are:
Failure of Condition Precedent
The terms of the Note, Mortgage, and federal guidelines generally require specific steps the bank has to take before it can begin a foreclosure. If the bank fails to comply with the requirement to serve the homeowner with notice of default or to conduct necessary meetings with the homeowner, the court may dismiss the foreclosure.
Lack of Standing
When foreclosure proceedings begin, a lawsuit must be filed and served against you. You become the defendant, and the bank is the plaintiff. The bank must demonstrate to the courts they are the party legally entitled to foreclose on you. This is the legal concept of “standing”. You can bring the plaintiff’s standing into question as a foreclosure defense, and they must prove that they have the standing to foreclose. As the news has shown over the last several years, ownership of a mortgage can be a complicated thing with most loans being securitized, bought and sold multiple times. The bank’s errors, improper or incomplete documentation, or fraud may cause them to have a hard time proving their standing. If they can’t prove it, the lawsuit may be dismissed.
Unfair Lending Practices
If your bank has been deceptive about your loan, acted unfairly, or failed to disclose required information, you may be able to challenge foreclosure based on these bad acts. The Truth In Lending Act (TILA) requires lenders to disclose a great deal of information, including the annual percentage rate, payment schedule, and other information about the loan. Lenders who do not give borrowers the correct information TILA requires have broken this law.
There are many other defenses that may be raised, such as unconscionable terms, foreclosing on an active service member, and failure to properly invoke the court’s subject matter jurisdiction. But a homeowner can’t use one of these foreclosure defenses if they don’t know the defense exists or how to properly raise it. There are federal and state laws intended to protect homeowners, and those defenses can delay or dismiss foreclosure proceedings.
If you find yourself facing a bank in a foreclosure lawsuit, you know they have their attorneys working to protect the bank. Your best option is to get an attorney on your side to review everything and protect your interests. Contact Doucet & Associates to help ensure that your rights are protected.
Watch Out for the Dotted Line!
This week, the Ohio Sixth District Appellate Court in Toledo dismissed a consumer’s appeal after he claimed he was convinced to sign a consent agreement with the property owner through fraud because he had entered into a contract that barred his case. The lesson to learn from the Sixth District is to be aware of what you sign and how it can affect you into the future.
Charles Hanson was living in a house when Flex Property Management purchased it at a sheriff’s sale. Flex Property gave notice to Mr. Hanson to leave the property, and was directed to vacate by the end of February 2015. Mr. Hanson, representing himself pro se, entered into settlement agreement with Flex Property outside the courtroom. In exchange for $1000 cash, receiving a pre-approval letter from the bank, and an appraisal on the home, Mr. Hanson was permitted to stay in the house and make an offer to purchase. Mr. Hanson signed a consent judgment in April 2015 that was sent along with a drafted purchase agreement for the property.
However, when the two sides returned to the court, Flex Property filed the consent judgment and, according to Mr. Hanson, this showed that Flex Property had no intention of allowing him to purchase the property. With the consent judgment duly filed, the court informed Mr. Hanson that he would be removed from the house on May 30, 2015. Mr. Hanson appealed the court’s order.
The Sixth District court dismissed Mr. Hanson’s appeal.
The key issue identified by the Appellate Court is that a consented judgment entry or settlement agreement is a binding contract between the parties. Generally, one cannot appeal a contract. Since Mr. Hanson did not expressly reserve the right to appeal in the terms of the consent agreement, he was barred from contesting the judgment in that fashion.
Since the fraud that Mr. Hanson alleged to Flex Property occurred outside the courts, there is no evidence of it on the record. As such, Mr. Hanson could not argue the fraudulent inducement claim in a direct appeal either. Instead, the Sixth District instructed that Mr. Hanson would have to petition the court to set aside the judgment under Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 60(B) and make that case to the trial court. This is a more difficult process than a direct appeal.
Realize that when you sign something, you are likely forming a contract with the other party. Mr. Hanson represented himself and entered into two contracts with Flex Property: the settlement agreement & the consent judgment. Without realizing it, he had given up some of his rights and limited his options for the future.
A contract does not need to be a formal document that reads “Contract” at the top, or have “Wherefores” and “Therefores” sprinkled throughout. If the essential legal elements of a contract (offer, acceptance, and consideration) are met, the court will likely deem an agreement a legally binding contract.
Before you sign anything, ensure that you understand the consequences of each term and element. If you are across from a bank or property management company, you know they have had their attorneys make sure their rights and options are well protected. The best option is to get an attorney on your side to review everything and protect your interests. Contact Doucet & Associates to help ensure that your rights are protected.
Read the decision [Capital Income & Growth Fund, L.L.C. v. Hanson, 2016-Ohio-2973]
Defending Against Foreclosure: Notice Requirements & Certified Mail
If the bank wants to foreclose on a home, often if must send one or more letters via certified mail to the borrower. If the bank fails to do this, it can be a solid defense to foreclosure for the homeowner. Knowing if the bank is required and has not done so can help save your home and possibly get the foreclosure dismissed.
When a bank files for foreclosure, there are certain actions the bank has to have taken to comply with this contract formed by the mortgage and the note. These actions are known as “conditions precedent.” Specifically, a condition precedent is an event which has to occur before the title (or other right) to the property will actually be in the name of the party receiving title. That is to say, these are the actions the bank must take before they legally claim ownership of the property mortgaged.
One important condition precedent is the notice requirement. When the borrower misses a payment, the bank needs to inform the borrower that he is behind. Or when the bank wants to accelerate the loan and declare the outstanding balance due, the bank needs to tell the borrower that this has occurred. It is common that these notices are required to be sent and delivered by certified mail. One of the most critical parts of certified mail is the proof of delivery.
Every mortgage should contain a clause inside it that details when and how the bank needs to inform the borrower that they are in default. One example of a such a clause would be that notice is to be given “by mailing such notice by certified mail addressed to Borrower at the Property Address * * *. Any notice provided for in this Mortgage shall be deemed to have been given to Borrower or Lender when given in the manner designated herein.”
Therefore, the conditions precedent under the mortgage are that the bank must both provide notice to the borrower and that this notice must be sent by certified mail. In Childers, the court reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the homeowner when there was no evidence provided that the notice required by the mortgage had ever been mailed. Contimortgage Corp. v. Childers (May 4, 2001), Lucas App. No. L-00-1332.
In Ohio, the courts have found that the failure of the bank to satisfy the certified mail condition precedent requirement is a defense to the bank’s foreclosure:
- In 2004, the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals found that the bank failed when there was no evidence that the notice had been received, finding that “although [a] unsigned letter is labeled as “certified mail,” [the mortgagor] produced no certified mail receipt, acquisition of which is ordinarily the reason for sending a letter via certified mail.” Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v. Akpele, 2004-Ohio-3411, ¶ 12.
- In 2007, the Ohio Twelfth District held the same way in where a mortgage required notice to be sent by certified mail, and the bank said the notice was sent but could provide no evidence it was sent that way. First Financial Bank v. Doellman, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2006–02–029, 2007-Ohio-222.
- In 2009, the Ohio Tenth District held that the mailing of a notice of default to a mortgagor by certified mail did not satisfy the condition precedent notice and delivery requirement when the certified mail envelope was returned unclaimed. “Notification that certified mail is being held for a recipient is undeniably distinct from delivery of the certified-mail contents.” Nat’l City Mortgage Co. v. Richards, 2009-Ohio-2556, ¶ 28, 182 Ohio App. 3d 534, 545, 913 N.E.2d 1007, 1015.
The final case is important in that it shows that the certified mail requirement means more than just the bank putting the letter in the post. Certified mail is a way of guaranteeing delivery and the bank cannot claim that the notice was received where it has knowledge that the borrower did not get the certified letter. The court turned to the dictionary and held that “delivery must presume the giving or yielding of possession or control to another. See Black’s Law Dictionary (7th Ed. 1999); Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary (Random House 1997).” Richards, 913 N.E.2d at 1016.
So if there is a foreclosure action filed against you, pull out your mortgage documents and see if there is a certified mail notice requirement, or bring the paperwork into us and let us do the work for you. The notice and condition precedent rules can be powerful weapons against the bank. If we can show that the bank failed to perform according to their obligations, you might be able to save your home.
National City Mortgage Company v. Richards: A case study in condition precedent as a foreclosure defense
National City Mortgage Company v. Richards: A case study in condition precedent as a foreclosure defense
Before your mortgage company can initiate foreclosure proceedings and accelerate your debt they must meet any condition precedents required in the original agreement. Most often these condition precedents come in the form of required prior notice of default and/or acceleration outlined by a provision in your note or mortgage instrument. So what does this mean for you? Basically it means that your mortgage company cannot take action against you without properly informing you of their intent to do so. National City Mortgage Company v. Richards illustrates the scenario well. In that case, Richards argued that she never received notice of her default through first class mail as was required in her original agreement with the mortgage company. Because of this oversight on the part of the mortgage company, Richards never had a reasonable opportunity to cure the problem. The Tenth District sided with Richards and the Mortgage Company’s cause was dismissed. If you believe you might have an issue with condition precedent or any other mortgage issue please do not hesitate to contact Doucet & Associates.
 By: Justin Potter, Of Counsel, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.
 Nat’l City Mortgage Co. v. Richards, 2009-Ohio-2556, ¶ 1, 182 Ohio App. 3d 534
Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages
Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages
Whenever defending a foreclosure it is important to realize that the mortgage between the bank (“mortgagee”) and the borrower (“mortgagor”) is nothing more than a contract. Under the common law of contracts mitigation of damages is required by the party who is seeking damages. The requirement that the mortgagee seeking damages mitigate their damages ensures that the mortgagee “remains in the same position it would have been in had the contract not been breached, but at the least cost to the defaulting party.”  The duty to mitigate requires that the injured party, in this example the mortgagee, take reasonable steps to mitigate their damages.
While several courts in Ohio have analyzed and applied the mortgagee’s duty to mitigate damages when pursuing a foreclosure, some courts are still reluctant to impose a duty of mitigation on mortgagees when the mortgage contains language allowing the mortgagee to pursue full payment.  However, in cases in which the duty to mitigate is not required the courts seem to misconstrue the duty to mitigate with whether or not a mortgagee is allowed to foreclose and pursue full payment. The duty to mitigate does not itself prevent the mortgagee from foreclosing and pursuing full payment; rather, it only “requires an injured party to make reasonable efforts… to limit the damages that result from the breach.” Therefore, the mortgagee may still pursue full payment and foreclosure, but if there is an opportunity for the bank/mortgagee to recoup some of their losses, by say accepting a short-sale or working out a modification with the mortgagor, then the duty to mitigate damages requires them to do so or at least make a reasonable effort. When defending a foreclosure the mortgagor’s attorney should look into whether the mortgagee had an opportunity to mitigate their damages. The failure to mitigate damages is an affirmative defense, meaning that the mortgagor’s attorney must prove that the mortgagee failed to mitigate. 
 By: Timothy J. Cook, Of Counsel, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.
 Aurora Loan Servs. L.L.C. v. Sansom-Jones, 2012-Ohio-5477, ¶ 25 (10th Dist.) (citing Frenchtown Square Partnership v. Lemstone, Inc., 2003–Ohio–3648, ¶ 12).
 Fifth Third Mtge. Co. v. O’Neill, 2015-Ohio-3000, ¶ 44 (5th Dist.) appeal not allowed, 2016-Ohio-172, ¶ 44 (2016).
 UAP–Columbus JV326132 v. O. Valeria Stores, Inc., 2008–Ohio–588, ¶ 17 (10th Dist.).
 See Baird v. Crop Prod. Servs., 2012–Ohio–4022, ¶ 43 (12th Dist.).
Doucet Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Chase Mortgage for Alleged Violations After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Doucet & Associates filed a class action lawsuit against Chase Home Finance, LLC and JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase Mortgage) alleging a systematic practice of violating borrower court ordered and approved Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plans. Our after-bankruptcy lawyers allege that the practice does not allow mortgage debtors to have the fresh start they deserve following the successful completion of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy process. The option remaining for our after-bankruptcy lawyers is to sue, and our bankruptcy lawyers have filed this lawsuit specifically alleging that Chase Mortgage:
- Improperly applies and accounts for after-bankruptcy mortgage payments made as part of confirmed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans.
- Continues attempting to collect (and collecting) additional fees following successful completion of their Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans.
- Blatantly ignoring court orders discharging our client under Section 1328(a) of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
- Ignoring our clients multiple requests to update their account.
- Disregarding notices from our client’s previous bankruptcy lawyer explaining that Plaintiff’s Chapter 13 Bankruptcy had been completed and discharged.
The suit alleges that after bankruptcy Chase Mortgage continued to treat our client as if the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy had never been completed. The recourse here is for the lawyers with Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. to file a class action lawsuit and sue Chase Mortgage after its bankruptcy errors.
The complaint alleges that our client and those similarly situated, having followed the proper rules and made payments under their court approved Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan, are now left to pay hundreds to thousands of extra dollars in unknown and un-accounted fees after bankruptcy. Chase Mortgage is also alleged to have mishandled the bankruptcy credit reporting process leaving our client’s account as “in bankruptcy” and not properly accounting for the current status of the loan.
Our client followed the proper Chapter 13 Bankruptcy procedures, including making regular monthly payments to Chase Mortgage, until the plan was approved. She also submitted the proper monthly payments to the Trustee for submission to various creditors including Chase Mortgage during bankruptcy, and after bankruptcy, she made proper monthly payments again to Chase Mortgage.
Doucet & Associates believes that this is indicative of a broad pattern of incorrectly handling debtors’ mortgage loans for previously discharged debts, and has filed this class action lawsuit against Chase Home Finance, LLC and JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. on behalf of our client and those similarly situated. We estimate this case could be representative of at least thousands of individuals and encourage anyone who has gone through a similar experience with Chase Home Finance, LLC and JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. or any other mortgage loan servicer to call us immediately at (614) 944-5219 if they have been discharged from Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Doucet Prevents Default Judgment in Reverse Mortgage Case
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. focuses on foreclosure defense because we firmly believe that the needs of innocent consumers can be eclipsed in court by massive banks. Because of the size of today’s banks, it is easy for banks to cut corners and neglect their duties to their customers under the guise of efficiency, which often contributes to foreclosure. However, this activity can result in illegal behavior, especially when short-term profits outweigh basic human decency. In the case of our client, it likely jeopardized her mother’s estate.
Our client is the executor of her late mother’s estate. The estate included a home subject to a reverse mortgage that came due upon the mother’s passing. Unlike conventional mortgages, a reverse mortgage requires no monthly payments and accrues interest until it comes due after the borrower dies, moves out of the property, or sells the house. Because interest is not paid during the life of the loan, a reverse mortgage can result in a substantial debt when it finally comes due. If the borrower dies, it usually means that the lender has to go through the borrower’s estate to collect the outstanding debt, which can be troublesome for whoever is tasked with the estate’s management.
OneWest, the bank holding our client’s note, filed a foreclosure lawsuit in an attempt to collect the outstanding reverse mortgage debt. If a foreclosure lawsuit is filed in Ohio, the defendant has twenty-eight days to file an answer. If no answer is filed, the defendant may face a default judgment. As the executor of her mother’s estate, our client was the one tasked with the responsibility of answering the lawsuit. However, our client asserts that OneWest attempted to circumvent the law by foreclosing on her mother’s home without first providing notice to the family. Had the foreclosure lawsuit gone unnoticed, a default judgment would have likely been entered against our client.
OneWest alleged it was unable to find the addresses of the family members to notify them of the outstanding debt and foreclosure, yet our client’s brother lived next door to the mother’s home. Our client was not even made aware of OneWest’s foreclosure lawsuit until the bank servicing on her brother’s home notified her. She hired Doucet & Associates to file a motion for additional time to properly respond to the foreclosure lawsuit, and hopefully save the family’s estate. The court granted the motion and Doucet & Associates is now working to protect the mother’s estate and ensure all debts are properly paid.
Time is always an important factor in a foreclosure lawsuit, and this added time will allow for our law firm to properly analyze the case and create a solution that best suits our client. As a law firm focused on consumer law and foreclosure defense, it is unfortunate to say that we experience this sort of behavior from banks quite often. We have seen, time and again, that banks would much rather file for foreclosure and attempt to keep other parties in the dark than settle the debt on terms that all parties involved can agree on. If you are currently dealing with a foreclosure lawsuit, or need advice managing an estate, call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219.
Doucet Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Nationstar Mortgage
Doucet & Associates filed a class action lawsuit against Nationstar Mortgage alleging a systematic practice of collecting and attempting to collect fees that were discharged following bankruptcy. Our client was forced to take money out of his wife’s 401k to prevent Nationstar from inexplicably foreclosing on his home. He alleges Nationstar made no effort to adequately explain or rectify the charges on his account, and damaged his credit by considering his account delinquent even after receiving a court discharge.
Terry Forson filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2008 and spent the next five years adhering to the repayment plan approved by the court. At the end of this period, the court issued an order deeming his mortgage current and requiring Nationstar to adjust his loan balances to reflect the amounts paid and discharged. In preparation for resuming responsibility for his mortgage, Mr. Forson sent a letter to Nationstar requesting information regarding his post-bankruptcy loan.
Forson claims Nationstar ignored his request for several months and never told him what his monthly payments would be. He contacted the trustee who managed his finances during bankruptcy and made several monthly payments for the amount he advised. According to the lawsuit, Nationstar accepted all of these payments.
After three months and two more written requests, Forson finally received some of the information he requested. However, the information he received made no mention of his total loan balance or any recent account activity. When Forson called to inquire about this, Nationstar responded by telling him to fax written his request. He obliged, but claims Nationstar never responded.
Forson eventually found a way to access his mortgage through Nationstar’s website. He was shocked to find the site allegedly stated he owed roughly $7,000 in delinquent payments and “Lender Paid Expenses.” Forson maintains Nationstar never adequately explained these charges to him, but spent the next eight months insisting his account was delinquent. Nationstar also allegedly refused to deem his mortgage current because it claimed he was delinquent on two payments. However, he made regular monthly payments every month both during and after bankruptcy, all of which were accepted.
Forson continued to make regular monthly payments until August 2014, when Nationstar rejected Forson’s payment. Forson called Nationstar about this, and it stated the amount was insufficient to cover the $8,100 he owed. Forson removed that money from his wife’s 401k in order to prevent what he felt was an imminent foreclosure. Despite their alleged claims that the $8,100 was required to bring his account current, Forson claims that Nationstar never updated his mortgage status. Forson made regular payments to Nationstar until the following March, when the company barred him access to the website.
Doucet & Associates believes that this is indicative of a broad pattern of incorrectly charging debtors for previously discharged debts, and has filed this class action lawsuit against Nationstar on behalf of Mr. Forson and those similarly situated. We estimate this case could be representative of at least thousands of individuals and encourage anyone who has gone through a similar experience with Nationstar or any other mortgage loan servicer to call us immediately at (614) 944-5219 if they live in Ohio or have been discharged from Chapter 13 bankruptcy.