Massachusetts Attorney General settles lawsuit with subprime mortgage lender, requiring $115 million of loan modifications

Posted on August 10th, 2011 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Antidiscrimination law, Consumer protection, Fair Housing Act, Mortgages, Real estate transactions.

Attorney General Martha Coakley announced that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts settled a lawsuit with a subprime mortgage lender that originated subprime mortgages it knew were likely to fail and which not only targeted African American and Latino borrowers but gave its employees discretion to charge higher fees to such borrowers. The company will pay a penalty of almost $10 million to the Commonwealth and will direct its mortgage servicer to modify $115 million in loans either by writing down the principal balance of lowering interest rates. read article The settlement is based on the legal ruling in the earlier case of Commonwealth v. Fremont Inv. & Loan, 897 N.E.2d 548 (Mass. 2008), which held that it might violate the state consumer protection act to market mortgages that were almost certain to end in foreclosure.

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Massachusetts high court denies eviction from a home foreclosed in a private sale unless there is proof of a right to foreclose

Posted on August 9th, 2011 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Mortgages, Real estate transactions, Statute of frauds, Title issues.

In an extension of its earlier ruling in U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Ibanez, 941 N.E.2d 40 (Mass. 2011) that a foreclosure is invalid unless the party seeking foreclosure proves that it owns the mortgage (has the right to foreclose) at the time of the foreclosure, the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ruled in the case of Bank of New York v. KV Bailey, 2011 WL 3307553 (Mass. 2011),  that a homeowner could challenge an eviction from his home even though it was foreclosed in a private sale to determine whether the mortgagor/lender had the power to foreclose. Because Massachusetts uses private foreclosure rather than court-supervised foreclosure, the ruling extends court supervision of foreclosure to homeowners by effectively requiring foreclosing parties to have proof of the right to foreclose before the foreclosure sale. It does so by denying power to evict an occupying homeowner without proof of the right to possession of the premises. Because the law generally protects a peaceable possessor of land unless the one seeking possession can show a better title denial of the right to evict has the effect of regulating the prior foreclosure process, which, in turn, will require that the market for transfers of mortgages comply with the requisite formalities of the statute of frauds.

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Connecticut Supreme Court refuses to enforce unconscionable post-nuptial agreement

Posted on August 5th, 2011 by Joseph William Singer.
Categories: Marital property.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in Bedrick v. Bedrick, 17 A.3d 17 (Conn. 2011) that post-nuptial agreements may be enforceable but that they are subject to stricter standards than premartial agreements. Moreover, in this case, the court found the contract unconscionable at the time of trial and thus void and unenforceable. Such agreements must be examined to ensure that they are fair and equitable at the time of divorce and whether enforcement would “work an injustice.”

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