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Suffolk County Supreme Court and Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner

25 Aug

This quote from Justice Spinner is a fitting introduction

“The homeowners in this action sought legal counsel and found refuge in the New York State Supreme Court.   Justice Spinner’s decision unfolds the process, revealing that the bank delayed modification to collect pre-action late charges, tax and escrow advances, lender legal fees and other foreclosure related fees from the defendants.  In a far reaching decision, projecting previously unfound protection for the homeowner, the Court ruled that these homeowners no longer are to be judged by the moral dilemmas attached to a foreclosure action.   Mortgage foreclosure actions are now litigated matters and procedural or substantive federal and state laws will be engaged to protect the rights of the homeowner.”
[emphasis added]

As more and more information is revealed about how the lenders collect insurance and other ‘bailouts’ and ‘bonus $’ while continuing to refuse to do reasonable loan modifications and foreclosing without proper process or notice, the courts begin to respond.

As the article points out:

“…  Suffolk County Supreme Court …  Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner was assigned an action entitled, Emigrant Mortgage v Corcione and on April 16, 2010 published ( www.scribd.com/doc/30254291/Emigrant-Mortgage-Co-Inc-Plaintiff-Against-Anthony-J-Corcione-and-Jane-Corcione-Defendants ) his findings in the foreclosure action.

A Judge’s Decision Sends a New Moral Compass to Lenders

More than 3 million friends, neighbors and families currently share similar messages among their intimate groups of friends, neighbors and family members.  Their common thread is one of homeownership fears, mortgage arrears and home equity loss.  These are the phone calls, e mails and texts we see in a regularly increasing tide of new clients calling our law firm.

Foreclosure worries and an apparent and readily foreseeable fallout most certainly blizzards our radar screen.   For many of the past several years, those on the sidelines watched with great interest and listened as they sat somewhat tucked away from the chaos and crisis.   Never having doubted the American struggle to keep home your own, the monthly payments were not just an “old fashioned” commitment.

Now, many of these bench warmers are fully engaged after suffering a job loss, hardship or unseen economic downturn.   Process servers and bankruptcy petitions are leading edge indicators when business in those sectors are booming.  This is not a moral crisis faced during a short slump in family earning power. Essentially, many families are forced to recognize that their entire mortgage debt and repayment abilities need an overhaul.

While most of the analysts continue to debate the reasons for the paucity of progress in loan modifications, a Suffolk County Supreme Court decision scrutinizes the lending practices of the past and sets the barrier in favor of a homeowner who seeks to keep home their own.  Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner was assigned an action entitled, Emigrant Mortgage v Corcione and on April 16, 2010 published ( www.scribd.com/doc/30254291/Emigrant-Mortgage-Co-Inc-Plaintiff-Against-Anthony-J-Corcione-and-Jane-Corcione-Defendants ) his findings in the foreclosure action.

The facts are probably not much different for many of you who have visited our office or for those who are in the throes of a foreclosure action.   Perhaps it was a mortgage loan taken within the past several years with hope that shortly after, another refinance would be undertaken to bail out of a loan which had a high interest rate or adjusted or had other terms most unfavorable for long term borrowing.   Shortly thereafter, unexpected hardship, reduced income and real estate downturns create new and unfamiliar landscapes of non payment and credit score failings.   Visits and phone calls produced little, if any realistic hope of a restructure of homeownership debt. The loan modification process fails after scores and scores of faxes, e mails and submissions to your servicer.

The homeowners in this action sought legal counsel and found refuge in the New York State Supreme Court.   Justice Spinner’s decision unfolds the process, revealing that the bank delayed modification to collect pre-action late charges, tax and escrow advances, lender legal fees and other foreclosure related fees from the defendants.  In a far reaching decision, projecting previously unfound protection for the homeowner, the Court ruled that these homeowners no longer are to be judged by the moral dilemmas attached to a foreclosure action.   Mortgage foreclosure actions are now litigated matters and procedural or substantive federal and state laws will be engaged to protect the rights of the homeowner.

Our citizens in New York State have been provided with mandatory settlement conferences in foreclosure actions, and these very same laws “mandate that the parties to such an action act and negotiate in good faith……….In short, the conduct of Plaintiff in this matter has been over-reaching, shocking, willful and unconscionable, is wholly devoid of even so much as a scintilla of good faith and cannot be countenanced by this Court.”

Justice Spinner’s “moral compass” found bad faith conduct on the part of the lender and awarded damages in favor of the homeowners to “serve as an appropriate deterrent to any future outrageous, improper and wrongful activities.”   This decision permeates the air in every foreclosure settlement part that I have attended. Lawyers, hearing officers and court personnel openly debate the long term reliance upon such a decision as the appeal process may ultimately determine the final outcome in this action.   However, the spin and the stir of this decision may have adjusted the compass to point to a plan of recovery.

As a result, homeowners and clients who now visit with our law firm or others focused on the protections of the home against foreclosure are encouraged that the failings of the loan modification process do not represent the end of the road.   The compass points to new ingredients of judicial enforcement and social change emanating from the Courtroom of Justice Spinner.   The emphasis on failing and foreclosure is no longer an option for those who choose to seek to keep home your own.

 

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