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NY Courts May Have to Redo Thousands of ForeclosureHearings Over Need for Appointed Counsel

By Brian Lee/

Thousands of foreclosure proceedings could potentially be headed for do-overs as a result of the court system settling a class-action lawsuit in which it acknowledges skipping a key initial process that mandates an assessment of homeowners’ eligibility for appointed counsel.

The New York court system recently resolved the class action by agreeing to comply with the state law, which mandates that parties in residential foreclosure cases participate in an initial settlement conference to discuss a resolution toward homeowner retention.

The assessment is required when the homeowner appears at the conference without an attorney.

Prior to Monday’s settlement, state courts routinely failed to make the assessment, plaintiffs counsel from the New York Civil Liberties Union, practitioner Yolande Nicholson, Mehri & Skalet, and Valli Kane & Vagnini said jointly.

The settlement could result in a restarting of the clock on an untold number of foreclosure proceedings.

It stipulates homeowners in active foreclosure proceedings are entitled to a redo of the conference if the case arose on or after Dec. 1, 2022, and they were unrepresented at their initial settlement conferences but didn’t receive an assessment.

The courts would then determine whether the homeowner should be appointed a lawyer.

A spokesperson for NYCLU told the Law Journal that, based on the Office of Court Administration’s 2023 reporting on foreclosures, more than 9,000 homeowners were unrepresented at their initial settlement conferences between October 2022 and October 2023. That means thousands of homeowners would possibly be entitled to do-over conferences.

Read the full article from here.

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