Recently, we received a highly favorable court decision on behalf of our client, Ron, who has been struggling with his bank for some time to gain a mortgage modification which would allow him to remain safely in his home for years to come. Ron’s bank had been pretty much ignoring his request for mortgage relief for some time. Because of this, he ended up in foreclosure. Unfortunately, even after the foreclosure was filed the bank continued to stubbornly refuse to work with him.
Eventually, his bank filed a “Motion for Summary Judgment”, a procedural device seeking judgment without a trial. These motions are common by the banks and quite often are accompanied by horribly pathetic testimony in affidavit form from a bank representative who claims to have reviewed all the relevant documents and knows all about the loan and its history. The problem is, that most of the time the affidavit is totally bogus. Yet the courts have historically given these affidavits all too much weight and granted foreclosure judgment thereby denying the homeowner his or her day in court.
Unfortunately for the bank in Ron’s case, the court saw right through the thinly-veiled fraudulent statements by the bank’s representative in his affidavit and called the bank out on it. Not only did the court point out that the foreclosure complaint itself was inherently defective, but also that the affidavit was full of holes big enough to drive a truck through. In the end, the court not only rejected the bank’s attempt to slip fraudulent documents under its nose in order to get a quick and easy foreclosure judgment, but it even went a step further and granted something that we on behalf of Ron hadn’t even asked for – it dismissed the case altogether!
Now this isn’t to say Ron gets his house free and clear, but it is to say that he is in a position to have his bank come to the bargaining table and treat him fairly. Whether his bank can cure the defects in their paperwork which would even support its right to the foreclosure , remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, the court’s ruling is one example of how the judicial system is coming around and leveling the playing field for borrowers fighting with their banks just to be treated fairly.
It wasn’t that long ago when the banks almost always got their way with the courts. Everything they said the courts accepted as the gospel truth. But, no more! In growing numbers the courts are putting borrowers on the same level as the multi-trillion dollar banks they must fight against to save their homes. Banks are finally held by the same standards as the rest of us, but only when the homeowner fights back by pointing out the bank’s fraud.
The decision in Ron’s case is obviously a critically important happening in his life. On a broader scale, however, the court’s decision is yet another sounding of the horn that homeowners have the same rights as the big banks in our judicial system. As symbolized by blind-folded Lady Justice, every person is equal in the eyes of the law and should be competing on a level playing field, no matter who the opposition is.
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