Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that a national settlement for more than $2 billion has been reached with mortgage servicing giant Ocwen Financial Services. New York is expected to receive close to $300 million in first-lien principal reductions going to homeowners across the state.
This settlement brings hope to many Foreclosure Resisters (homeowners who attend Common Law’s weekly legal clinic) who now have loans being serviced by Ocwen. Winston and Norma Rose, for example, have owned their home in East New York, Brooklyn, since 1959. Ms. Rose, 75, said, “For five years now, we have lived in fear of losing the only home we’ve ever known. The anxiety and frustration had taken a toll on us. We are hopeful that Ocwen Loan Servicing will be able to put an end to this nightmare.”
To read the full press release from the New York State Office of the Attorney General, click here.
Our weekly foreclosure legal clinic for pro se homeowners continues to thrive. We’ve had numerous court support victories in the past month and the clinic is full into mid-November. If you would like more information or would like to attend the legal clinic, please call Common Law at 212-213-3920.
On September 20th, Common Law, the Foreclosure Resisters and supporters gathered together to celebrate as a community with great food, dancing, and personal testimonials.
Common Law’s Co-Directors Karen Gargamelli and Jay Kim co-authored an article for the most recent volume of the CUNY Law Review. ”Common Law’s Lawyering Model: Transforming Individual Crises into Opportunities for Community Organizing” reflects on Common Law’s beginnings as a small community lawyering effort and documents its gradual shift to organizing through its innovative legal clinics for homeowners facing foreclosure. To read the full article, click here or read below.
Common Law and the Foreclosure Resisters will be hosting a Dinner Dance Fundraiser on Friday, September 20th. Please join us for great music, raffle prizes and delicious home-cooked food!
Bank Sanctioned for Failure to Consider Loan Modification
New York Law Journal
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Torres has sanctioned Citibank for failing to consider in good faith a borrower’s application for a mortgage modification, ruling that the bank cannot collect arrears on the loan going back to July 2011 until it makes a final decision on whether to grant a modification. A 2008 addition to the Civil Procedure Laws and Rules, CPLR 340, requires banks to negotiate in good faith with foreclosure defendants to reach a settlement. The law, however, does not say exactly how banks should be sanctioned for failing to do so. Torres’ decision is the latest in a line of state court rulings dealing with that question.
Citibank initiated a foreclosure against Bronx home buyers Beryl Barclay and Curtis Hoggard in 2009. The pair asked for a loan modification, but Citibank did not made a decision on whether to grant one, instead making multiple requests for new information. In March 2012, the court found that Citibank had not considered Barclay’s loan application in good faith, and had “made it impossible for Barclay to comply with its conflicting, ever changing, never written requests for documentation.”
Torres said the bank cannot collect arrears until it makes a decision, and ordered it to have a decision ready at the next conference in Citibank v. Barclay, 381649/09. Andrew Morganstern of Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates represents Citibank. Karen Gargamelli of Common Law represents Barclay.
Common Law was recently awarded the Distinguished Public Interest Attorney Award by the CUNY School of Law graduating class of 2013. Common Law received the award at CUNY School of Law’s Twenty-Eight Commencement and gave remarks to the graduating class. Thank you and congratulations to the class of 2013!
Common Law teamed up with NEDAP (the Neighborhood Economic Development and Advocacy Project) to deliver a little bit of truth to the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in April!
NEDAP hand-delivered video messages from homeowners to the CEO of Wells Fargo during the bank’s annual shareholder meeting and presented a shareholder resolution that would address the bank’s discriminatory mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices.
All of the homeowners in the videos are from Common Law’s legal clinic and are active Foreclosure Resisters!
You can see everyone’s videos here:http://nedap.org/WellsFargo.html
Members of the Foreclosure Resisters were recently interviewed on KDVS FM’s show “Speaking in Tongues” to discuss Common Law’s foreclosure prevention legal clinic and the formation of Foreclosure Resisters. To listen to the radio show, click here.