Common Law Featured in Latest Volume of CUNY Law Review

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.

Foreclosure Resisters Dinner Dance – September 20th

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!

FR Dinner Dance

Common Law Wins Sanctions Against Citibank

Common Law recently won sanctions against Citibank for failing to act in good faith during mandatory settlement conferences in Bronx Supreme Court.  In Citibank v. Barclay, Judge Torres barred Citibank from collecting any interest, costs and fees since July 2011 and ordered Citibank to conduct a review for a loan modification.

Citibank v. Barclay was featured today in the New York Law Journal – the full article can be read below.

Bank Sanctioned for Failure to Consider Loan Modification  

Brendan Pierson
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 Receives Distinguished Public Interest Attorney Award from CUNY School of Law

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!

Homeowners Speak Out Against Wells Fargo

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:


Members of Foreclosure Resisters Featured on “Speaking in Tongues”

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.

Essay by Common Law Featured in Mobilizing Ideas

Common Law contributed its essay “Courtrooms as Spaces for Activism” for Mobilizing Ideas, an online forum that focuses on interdisciplinary perspectives on social movements.  Click here to read the essay.

Second issue of Foreclosure Resisters is now available!

Read about how homeowners are coming together to fight back against the banks!


First issue of Foreclosure Resisters now available!

We’re excited to introduce Foreclosure Resisters – our quarterly newsletter for homeowners fighting back against foreclosures!  The first issue of Foreclosure Resisters shares four major court victories of homeowners representing themselves against big banks – and winning!

Common Law’s Foreclosure Defense Legal Clinic – New Location!

Common Law’s legal clinic for homeowners in foreclosure has a new home!  The legal clinic now meets at NESRI (90 John Street, Suite 308) in Manhattan. Our legal clinic is every Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:30pm.

If you are a homeowner in foreclosure and would like to attend Common Law’s legal clinic, please call our office to schedule an appointment: 212-213-3920.

At the legal clinic, you will:
–Learn about your rights and options as a homeowner
–Learn about the foreclosure process
–Learn about your legal defenses
–Receive help drafting important court documents
–Meet with attorneys for individualized assistance
–Join a community of homeowners and attorneys fighting back against foreclosure!

*Artwork by Seth Tobacman