Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Legislation Allows Defendant Participating In Foreclosure Settlement to File Late Answer

A new rule will be put in place starting December 20, 2016 that will significantly help home owners in foreclosure. Borrowers will now be permitted to file an answer (late) after their time to answer has expired. An "answer"  (in response to the summons and complaint) is required to be filed in writing within a certain amount of days according to how the summons and complaint was served (delivered) to the borrower. If delivered by process server the answer must be filed within 20 days. Delivered in any other way and the borrower gets an additional 10 days (30 days total). The new rule will give borrowers 30 days to answer AFTER the first Foreclosure Conference (court hearing). At the first Foreclosure Conference the court will provide the borrower with a 'Consumer Bill of Rights" handbook.       


JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) commenced this residential mortgage foreclosure action on June 8, 2016, and while Hernandez did not answer, she appeared at all five subsequent foreclosure settlement conferences. The case was released from the settlement conference part March 15, 2016, and she filed an answer March 30, 2016, but JPMC rejected the answer on April 8, 2016. But, the court noted that effective this coming December 20, 2016 under CPLR 3408, mandatory settlement conference in residential foreclosure will be amended. The court sated the intent of the new legislation was to allow defendants in foreclosure actions—who were usually pro se litigations—to answer and participate in the foreclosure litigation. It stated here, Hernandez was served with the summons and complaint on June 18, 2016, and she fully participated in the foreclosure settlement process. Also, the court noted that within 15 days of the case being released from the foreclosure part, Hernandez filed her answer. Thus, the court stated based on the intent evidenced by the new legislation, the fact Hernandez participated in the litigation, and JPMC would not suffer any prejudice in permitting her to file a late answer, her motion to file the late answer was granted, and her answer deemed served.

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