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Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom could rethink a authorized safety towards dwelling foreclosures & Extra Information


Maine’s prime court docket will start weighing two circumstances Tuesday that might rewrite the principles for the way dwelling foreclosures are dealt with within the state.

The circumstances earlier than the Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom give attention to whether or not a mortgage servicer can attempt to foreclose on a house a second time, after beforehand dropping the foreclosures case as a result of the corporate didn’t current correct proof of possession and the quantity owed on the mortgage.

Underneath legislation that dates to 1997 and was upheld in 2017, the mortgage firm can’t refile. In some circumstances the place the proof is missing, the courts may even require that the lien on the property be eliminated – in different phrases, the remainder of the mortgage debt is forgiven and the house is owned free and clear by the borrower, stated Thomas A. Cox of Yarmouth.

Within the present case, J.P. Morgan v. Moulton, the court docket is being requested to evaluation a South Paris District Courtroom determination final yr that discovered the mortgage lender, Morgan,  didn’t present an satisfactory default discover and data for the plaintiff to repay the mortgage.

Cox, who has supplied free authorized illustration for a whole lot of debtors in foreclosures circumstances, was the lawyer who found the “robo-signing” scandal through the nationwide foreclosures disaster that started in 2008. Mortgage servicing firm officers had been signing a whole lot or 1000’s of foreclosures paperwork each day with out, because the legislation required, verifying that the knowledge in these papers was correct.

In some circumstances, the mortgage servicing firms had a tough time proving that they really owned the mortgages, which regularly handed by lots of palms within the years earlier than the actual property market crashed within the monetary meltdown of the late 2000s.

In response, Maine courts and the Legislature clamped down on lender practices to be sure that the mortgage servicing firms had been pursuing foreclosures correctly.

Cox stated that culminated in a ruling 5 years in the past that led to the courts limiting mortgage firms’ skill to file a brand new foreclosures case in the event that they didn’t current correct proof the primary time round.

He stated that made the system truthful as a result of these mortgage firms have one other recourse and might sue their lawyer or the lawyer of the mortgage servicer if the lien on the property is launched after an preliminary court docket case is thrown out.

“If a financial institution loses a foreclosures case, it’s both as a result of negligence of the servicer or the negligence of the servicer’s lawyer,” Cox stated. He stated there have solely been about 20 circumstances within the state the place a lien was eliminated after the lender or mortgage servicer misplaced a case, so the choice hasn’t led to an enormous wave of householders having the liens on their homes eliminated.


Cox stated he thinks the Supreme Judicial Courtroom determined to listen to the 2 circumstances on their calendar for Tuesday due to a big change within the make-up of the court docket – Gov. Janet Mills has appointed 4 of the seven justices since she grew to become governor in 2019.

“Just because there’s new justices on the court docket, that’s not a cause to vary established legislation,” he stated. “What this Regulation Courtroom is doing is making me understand that I’m now not training legislation in a good or simply authorized system.”

Cox additionally stated that he thinks one of many justices on the case ought to recuse herself from taking part within the determination as a result of she represented a mortgage firm in one of many 2017 circumstances and wrote a “buddy of the court docket” temporary for the Maine Bankers Affiliation within the different.

To date Justice Catherine Connors has declined to step except for the case. A spokeswoman for the court docket didn’t return a name Monday to seek out out of she was nonetheless refusing to recuse herself.

Choices on whether or not a decide ought to recuse themselves are largely as much as the decide, stated Dmitry Bam, vice dean of the College of Maine Faculty of Regulation.

“Every decide or justice decides for themselves,” he stated and famous there have been just a few circumstances the place legal professionals have appealed that call to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom and the court docket instructed a decide that recusal was wanted.

There are some “purple strains” that clearly name for a recusal, Bam stated, equivalent to proudly owning inventory in an organization that’s earlier than the court docket, a relative’s involvement in a case or earlier participation the case.

However even then, it’s largely as much as judges to determine if they’ll’t be neutral.

“It’s principally a decide deciding his personal case,” Bam stated, and there’s no course of for different justices to name for a colleague to recuse themselves.

He stated the system is about up this fashion as a result of judges who could have been concerned in related circumstances aren’t certain by their earlier views.

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Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom could rethink a authorized safety towards dwelling foreclosures

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Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom could rethink a authorized safety towards dwelling foreclosures

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