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.