I was keeping track of the number of Sheriff's Sales stopped, but I decided that this gave the wrong impression to viewers. An attorney should not be consulted as a matter of last resort. Instead an attorney should be consulted early in the process and the sooner an attorney is consulted the more likely a Homeowner will have a favorable result

The Law Office of Bruce M. Broyles

2670 North Columbus Street, Suite L, Lancaster, Ohio 43130

Phone: (740) 277-7850 / (330) 965-1093

The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct suggest that the reader be informed that one of the purposes of this blog is to attract potential clients, and therefore should be considered attorney advertisement

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rolling Stones Article on JPMorgan Chase I normally do not repost articles, but the above article gives some in depth information about the information that JPMorgan Chase's management was telling Congress. While the article has little to do with Homeowners Facing Foreclosure, it does demonstrate the depth to which Lenders will go to seek profits. JPMorgan Chase's management was also before a Congressional hearing discussing loan modifications and the moral hazard of principle reductions. First, how "moral" does this guy appear now? Second, the "principle" that would have been reduced is simply recapitalized late fees, interest, legal fees, inspection fees, forced placed insurance fees. Suddenly, the "moral" hazard disappeared when JPMorgan Chase could use these accounting gimmics of "consumer assistance" to obtain huge credits towards the fines that were imposed.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Home Owners Facing Foreclosure do not be discouraged by Bank of America vs. Kuchta

Again I have not read the entire opinion of Bank of America vs. Kuchta. My first blush gut reaction was to be somewhat discouraged, but this decision does not in any way signal the end of Home Owners Facing Foreclosure's ability to defend the action. It should signal thosecin litigation to seek professional assistance early. In many of the recent appellate decisions, the Courts are paying closercattntion to the finer points. Was the affidavit proper? Did the lender comply with the conditions precedent? In addition, I have noticed more Homeowners receiving better loan modifications regardless of the stage of the litigation. In addition, new guidelines regarding the prevention of a sale or proceeding to judgment while a loan modification is pending are being given more weight, at least by the Lenders. TrialmCourts were less almost hostile to a stay as a result of HAMP. The Magistrates would comment that HAMP only had guidelines bug no Federal Regulations. Being able to point to new fede regulations appears to have cauht the attention of the trial courts. do not be discouraged by the Kuchta decision. Yes, the financial industry will not be toppled by the gridlock causedby void foreclosures. Therecwill be no rrevolution. However, courts are beginning tk treat foreclosures as something more than a nuisance clogging the docket. In addition, banks are apparently growing weary of the fight. Banks are more apt to modify a loan than to draw an unreasonable line in the sand.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ohio Supreme Court Issues Decision in Bank of America vs. Kuchta

I only recently received a copy of the slip opinion in Bank of America vs. Kuchta 2014-OHIO-4275, so I do not intend this to be an in depth analysis of the decision or its ramifications. I am writing to tell all Home Owners Facing Foreclosure that this decision will limit what an attorney can do for you after judgment has been rendered. Prior to the decision there was at least an issue as to whether a motion for relief judgment under Civil Rule 60(B) could be used to argue that the plaintiff lacked standing. In fact, prior to the decision, an argument could be made that a common law motion to vacate a void judgment could be made well after the judgment was rendered. The arguments centered upon whether the lack of standing resulted in a void judgment or merely a voidable judgment. At a glance, the decision appears to render lack of standing to be nothing more than a defense which must be asserted or it is waived. Again, I stated that I had not read the decision, so I do not want to try to analyze it here. However, this should be a WARNING to all Home Owners Facing Foreclosure, if you attempt to defend the foreclosure on your own an attorney attempting to asist you after judgment will be limited. Standing can only be challenged by a direct appeal. On appeal the attorney will be limited to the arguments and the evidence that were before the trial court. While there are still arguments available pursuant to Civil Rule 60(B), standing is no longer one of those arguments. In addition, many homeowners do not seek out an attorney until the Notice of Sheriff's Sale arrives. Plaintiffs are required to provide notice of Sheriff's Sale only a short period of time before the Sheriff's Sale. Plaintiff's have been delaying their request for an order of sale, and as a result, by the time many Home Owners Facing Foreclosure seek out the assistance of an attorney many of the grounds for relief under Civil Rule 60(B) are no longer available. Grounds under Civil Rule 60(B)(1)-(3) must be asserted within a reasonable period of time, and not beyond one year after judgment. As I have consistently stated, Home Owners Facing Foreclosure need to retain counsel early and defend the foreclosure in order to level the playing field in the loan modification process.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Foreclosures Measures Near Pre-Crisis Levels/ Another Attack on Homeowners Facing Foreclosures

Browsing the internet I came across a story from Market Watch that stated essentially levels of foreclosures have returned to "near pre-crisis levels". Below is the link to the story, which includes a graph that creates a new statistic "completed foreclosures per mortgage". I believe this graph is deceptive.
First, the writer picks 2005 and declares that this is the pre-crisis numbers. This is sort of like saying gas prices have gone down, as long as no one remembers when gas was less than $2.00/ gallon. Second, the writer uses "completed foreclosures" to gauge the decline in Homeowners Facing Foreclosure. Who decides when a foreclosure is completed. Is it when the decree of foreclosure is filed, when the Sheriff Sale takes place, when the Sale is confirmed. If the writer chooses confirmed Sheriff Sales, then "completed foreclosures" becomes a relatively small number.
I went to the Ohio Supreme Court website and pulled the statistical reports for the Courts of Ohio. If you characterize 2005, as the writer did, "Pre-Crisis" the number of foreclosures that were filed in the State of Ohio was 63,996. The graph demonstrates that the height of the crisis was 2010. In Ohio, there were 85,483 new foreclosure complaints filed. In 2009, there were 89,053 new foreclosure complaints filed. The statistical reports for 2013 and 2014 are not available from the Ohio Supreme Court at this time. The graph has the numbers in 2012 demonstrating a significant decline and close to the "pre-crisis" 2005 numbers. In 2012, there were 70,469 new foreclosure filings. The writer of the Market Watch article could say in Ohio we are approaching the "Pre-crisis" numbers of 2005; or there has been a decline from the height of the crisis. However, what the numbers really show is that there were 70,469 homeowners who were far enough behind in their mortgage payments that the Bank resorted to foreclosure. This does not include those still struggling to keep current, or those who are behind but only 1 or 2 months behind. If you look at the new foreclosures filed in 1999, 31,229 foreclosure complaints were filed. I believe that 1999 would be a better year to consider as "pre-crisis" but the available reports on-line do not go back any further. In 2012, the number of new foreclosure cases was still nearly double the number of foreclosures in 1999.
My analysis of the numbers really provides no better gauge than the Market Watch article. Especially, if you have stumbled upon this article in search for assistance in defending a foreclosure. The purpose of my writing is to again explain to the Homeowner Facing Foreclosure that the Banks and National media are working against you to make you feel alone and hopeless. The Market Watch article is intended to keep the Homeowner Facing Foreclosure from seeking help, from fighting. Things are better for everyone but you. Even the recent stories of Homeowners prevailing against their lenders are clouded with bad news. The story was not about victories, but about secret non-disclosure agreements and how homeowners can be harmed in the future. The stories should be simple, those who fight usually get help. Those who fight usually end up with a reasonable monthly mortgage payment. Do not be misguided by the National Media, you are winning the battle and Banks are starting to offer reasonable deals for those who are willing to fight.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Single Point of Contact

Recent changes to the Federal Guidelines have imposed new protections for consumers dealing with the companies that allegedly own and service their mortgages. These new regulations require the Lender or the Servicer to provide a single point of contact. The purpose is to prevent the Homeowner from being switched and transferred from numerous representatives while trying to seek assistance with their loans.
I am an attorney. I represent a number of homeowners facing foreclosure. I deal with Lenders and Servicers on a regular basis. The frustration each Homeowner going through this process is not an individual occurrence, coincidence, the result of the sheer volume of cases. In my opinion, it is purposesful and calculated to cause as many homeowners to be overwhelmed and frustrated and eventually walk away from their home.
Here, is a short list of the issues caused by Lenders and Servicers that I have encountered repeatedly:
1. You must be at least 3 months behind in your payments before we can assist you with a modification;
2. Your financial documents are out of date;
3. We did not recieve your loan modification application;
4. You did not qualify for HAMP;
5. Your trial payments must be in certified funds;
6. Your trial payments were not received on time;
7. You do not need to answer the complaint as the modification will resolve the issues;
8. You do not need an attorney as the modification will resolve everything;
9. You do not need to attend the default hearing as we are working on a loan modification.
Now the Lenders and Servicers are attempting over burden attorneys and frustrate attorneys representing Homeowners facing foreclosure by providing a single point of contact listing only the property address. If you call the single point of contact with the property address they are not allowed to give out any information unless you know the name of the Homeowner. (The reason I was calling was to find out the name of teh Homeowner.). All I need to know is which file to put the letter in. I already have a single point of contact; opposing counsel.
Well the strategy worked. I was frustrated long enough to post these comments. However, I am not ready to walk away from any of the Homeowners. The point of my writing is to again encourage Homeowners to continue to fight. Do not allow Lenders and Servicers to frustrate you until you give up. This is also another reason why Homeowners should contact an attorney. I cannot understand why Homeowners attempt to defend the biggest asset they will most likely ever purchase on their own. Not only is this a complicated area of law, litigation itself can be complicated. At a minimum you need an attorney who is well versed in litigation. An attorney who is familar with many of the defenses and issues involved in foreclosure may be more helpful, but the point is that you must defend the foreclosure. You must be prepared to file an appeal if you lose at the trial court level. It has been my experience that the more you are willing to fight, the more likely the Lender will eventually work with you to reach an outcome that is beneficial.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

God does not have tenure

In law school they told us that they were going to train us to think like lawyers.  While in law school they reminded us of many great philosophers who had stated that you could never have too many people trained in the law.  Once we left law school and joined private practice ethical considerations told us that we should  not take advantage of those untrained in the law.  When Courts interact with lay persons the Court will often describe the language of lawyers as legalese.   To recap;we are being trained to think in a noble profession but once we are educated we are apparently too well educated to speak in plain English for the common person to understand it.

As a result we end up in highly academic discussions regarding void versus voidable; jurisdiction over the person, subject matter jurisdiction, and original jurisdiction.  Combining these concepts we end up with academic discusions relating to whether a void judgment, which is a nullity and "of no force and effect", but cannot be challenged after an appeal  as the trial court has been divested of jurisdiction.

Scholarly trained professionals with contempt for common persons having intellectual discussions about complex issues without any regard for the everyday lives that foreclosures rip apart.  This is what it feels like we have become.  Then you start asking how did we become this.

 At a continuing legal education seminar the answer was given.  A panel of four highly esteemed professors were discussing the value of understanding the original intent of those who wrote the Constitution.   They all agreed that whatever value derived from the original intent given by the interpretor, the original intent could be derived from other contemporary writings.  Those who wrote the Declaration of Independence also wrote the Constitution, as well as, letters and speeches and sermons for and against the ratification of the Constitution.   The esteemed professors had various opininions as to the manner of determining the original intent and the importance to place on the original intent. After giving their presentations on the way to practice Constitutional Law, the emphasis to be placed on the original intent,  and how to determine the original intent, they opened the floor for questions.  I asked: are you are of the concept that the Declaration of Independence was a prayer, and did you consider the concept in your analysis of original intent.  Two of the esteemed professors ignored me like I was an an uneducated lay person who had no concept of what we were discussing being that of legalese and such.  One professor  stated that he has aware of the concept but had rejected it in his analysis.   The remaining professor asked me what I meant by prayer.  Without a great deal of thought I neverously stated a solemn personal discussion with the Creator of the Universe, God.  He responded that the founding fathers were certainly not speaking to a single all powerful being.  At most the use of the word creator would refer to nature or the spirit of the trees..  NO THEY WERE NOT PRAYING TO GOD!!
We have entrusted these four men with the training of our future lawyers.  Future lawyers are being told that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were in no way interested in God.  Not only is this shameful, but it also explains how plainly understood concepts are contorted  to reach intended results for specific clients without any thought of what is right, fair or required.  Instead we have legally trained advocates attempting to win each issue at all costs regardless of what might happen to the greater good.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Assault on Homeowners Continues

     Many Homeowners facing foreclosure sit in silence waiting for the Sheriff to someday knock on their door. Others leave their home when the foreclosure complaint is served upon them. These individuals think that there is no hope; they blame themselves, and assume there is nothing that can be done.

     Other Homeowners facing foreclosure contact the various help lines that are plastered on billboards throughout the State. Every now and then I will call the telephone number. I usually get an automated answering service which after a number of prompts disconnects the telephone call. Many of these individuals eventually end up with an agency willing to help the Homeowner complete a loan modification application. These Homeowners are usually asked to complete or update the application so many times that they eventually give up, or the process takes so long that it is impossible to modify the loan.

     Another group of Homeowners Facing Foreclosure turn to the internet. There are a number of helpful websites, all of which warn the Homeowner to hire competent counsel. Unfortunately, for every helpful website, there are numerous other websites that are simply not helpful. These websites direct the Homeowner to contact out of State Attorneys; tell the Homeowner how they can obtain free and clear title to their home in six easy steps using a Qualified Written Request (QWR); explain numerous defenses to the Homeowner related to the securization process, the credit swap payments, table funding, or a host of other issues surrounding the loan. These less than helpful websites arm the Homeowner with just enough information to allow the Homeowner to confidently walk into Court; lose the case and their house on a procedural or evidencial issue, and then declare that the system is a fraud.

     Now, Homeowners are being told that Attorneys that represent Foreclosure Defendants are really just "Pretender Defenders". Homeowners are told that these attorneys merely delay the inevitable while bilking all the Homeowners' money in fees. Instead, the Homeowner should purchase a Securitization Audit or a Mortgage Calculation Audit/Review. Armed with these "weapons" the Homeowner should find a "personal injury attorney" who is prepared to negotiate a settlement on behalf of the Homeowners. These websites have gone as far as to disparage the name of Attorneys who have won significant cases for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure.

    There are many good attorneys in Ohio who are Defending Foreclosures and obtaining Good results for their clients. Homeowners need to retain a competent attorney early in the process, at or before the foreclosure complaint is served. Instead, Homeowners are doing everything but contacting a competent attorney. When the Notice of Sheriff Sale arrives, then Homowners seek counsel. By this time many of their rights have been severely damaged if not lost.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Courts Handling of Schwartzwald Should be a Wake Up call to Homeowners

The manner in which the Courts of Ohio have applied and interpreted Schwartzwald should be a wake up call to Ohio Homeowners. On October 31, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court examineed the constitutional grant of jurisdiction of the Common Pleas Courts in Article IV Section 4(B), and determined that if a party lacked standing at the time the complaiunt was filed then the Court of Common Pleas "lacked jurisdiction". In Schwartzwald, the Ohio Supreme Court then stated that this lack of "jurisdiction" could be raised at anytime. The use of terms such as "jurisidiction" and "raised at anytime" lead attorneys representing Homeowners facing foreclosure to assert that a judgment was void if the Plaintiff lacked standing at the time the complaint was filed. The Schwartzwald issue arises in three situations: on direct appeal, in a motion for relief from judgment, and in a motion to vacate. On direct appeal the issue is simply whether the Plaintiff had standing. In a motion for relief from judgment, the Courts have to determine that the lack of standing renders a judgment voidable, and then the Court has to determien whether the three pronged test of Civil Rule 60(B) was met. In a motion to vacate, the Court must determine if the judgment is void. On direct appeal, a homeowner has to have defended the action and raised the issue in the trial court. In addition, the homeowner had to file an appeal within 30 days from the date of judgment. It seems as though the the Courts are willing to apply Schwartzwald in those cases where the Homeowner has diligently defended the action. In a motion for relief from judgment, the Homeowner has to demonstrate that he has a meritorious defense (lack of standing); that he has grounds under Civil Rule 60(B) for relief, and that the motion was filed within a reasonable period of time (not to exceed one year in most instances). A motion for relief is usually filed after the time to appeal has expired and the argument is essentially that the matter was not or could not be raised prior to judgment. A review of the cases demonstrates that trial courts are more likely to find "excusable neglect" when the motion for relief from judgment is filed fairly quickly after the judgment was filed. In a motion to vacate, the Courts have to find that the judgment is void and can be raised at anytime. In these cases, the Courts of Ohio have often ignored the actual language of Schwartzwald and instead found that the Ohio Supreme Court did not mean :jurisdiction" or that there is an additional type of jurisdiction that does not result in a void judgment. In the context of a motion to vacate a void judgment the Homeowner is much more likely to have his lack of action to be held against him. Homeowners should take notice that the Courts are less likely to assist Homeowners the more time that elapses. In addition, I am of the opinion that the Plaintiffs know that Homeowners are more likely to seek legal advice immediately before the Sheriff's sale, and therefore Plaintiffs will wait until a year has almost elapsed before filing the paper work necessary to initiate a Sheriff's Sale. More than a year will have expired since the judgment was filed and now the Court must find that the judgment was void. At this point the Court will begin to discuss the effect that such a determination would open up the "floodgates" or otherwise disrupt the real estate markets. The Courts will also start to focus more of their attention to be critical of the Homeowner's lack of action. Ohio Homeowners have valid defenses based upon Schwartzwald, but the Courts will not suffer or reward the Homeowner's delay. There are many competent attorneys doing good work for Ohio Homeowners, but their efforts are being greatly hampered by the Homwoners' delay. Ohio Homeowners must immediately seek legal advice when facing a foreclosure complaint