NY To Hold Lawyers Accountable On Foreclosures

NEW YORK (AP) — The chief judge of New York’s courts implemented a new rule Wednesday requiring every lawyer handling a foreclosure to sign a form verifying that all paperwork in the case is accurate.

The move comes amid an uproar over accusations that mortgage lenders nationwide cut corners on paperwork and legal procedure as they moved to seize millions of homes.

Attorneys already have an obligation to ensure that the documents they present to the court are valid, but New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said having them sign something affirming that all papers got a proper review will hold them accountable like never before.

“We want to make sure that everyone is focusing like a laser on these particular types of proceedings,” he said. “It puts them on notice. That’s what this is all about. We all have to make doubly sure that we are doing what we should be doing in the first place.”

The rule requiring a signed affirmation applies to both new cases and the 78,000 foreclosure actions already under way in New York courts.

Lawyers handling pending foreclosure actions will probably need to go back to their clients and verify that all proper steps were followed, Lippman said. The form created by the court requires the lawyers to give the name of the bank employee who affirmed that the records were accurate and the date the conversation took place.

Some New York judges have complained loudly about rampant errors of varying severity in legal filings by banks seeking to foreclose on record numbers of homeowners.

In some cases, documents that were supposed to have been given an individualized review were signed by bank employees who never read them or checked them for errors.

A few major banks froze all foreclosures nationwide while they reviewed their filings for problems. Two of the biggest, Bank of America and GMAC Mortgage, resumed proceedings this week.

Lippman said he was convinced the courts were seeing “systemic structural failings” in the foreclosure process, and he said judges and lawyers have a responsibility not to close their eyes to paperwork errors — even if they seem minor.

“You are talking about tremendous consequences. You are talking about taking people’s homes,” he said. “Those papers have to be accurate. They have to be credible.”

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Agent_C says:

    It’s prudent ruling, but in 99% of cases it’s not going to change the final outcome. Those people who bought half million dollar McMansions on $50,000 salaries are going to have to give them up.

  2. CJNYC says:

    I was under the impression that what brought the economy down was the failure of the housing market, i.e. ‘foreclosures’. So the government loans banks hundreds of millions of tax payers’ dollars to keep them from going bust because of their greed. And now the White house is stating that the moratorium would in fact slow down the housing market. I think the politician’s in the White House are worried about their contributions from the banks being slowed down. I honestly do think this administration or any politician could care less about the economy or the people. I this chief judge of New York has it correct. Make all the banks accountable for their greed. Is this judge the only sane person left?

  3. JIM says:

    WHY WASN’T THIS DONE IN THE PAST, ANY LAW ABIDING OFFICER OF THE COURT SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE TO CHECK THIS THAT’S THEIR JOB AND IF THEY DIDN’T TAKE BACK THEIR FEE PLUS 100%.

  4. private says:

    Who is accoutnable for the new disease that is spreading thoughout this country come see for yourself http://www.kriegsview.com

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