So that’s why we read with interest the details of a case out of California, in which an underwater homeowner now apparently has been given a free house, by virtue of a bank’s inaction during a foreclosure lawsuit.
This seems to be a relatively rare situation, but it’s worth noting because it’s possible if you have the right Miami foreclosure attorney, the outcome of your case could turn out quite favorable. (Maybe not “free house” favorable, but at least a better situation than you’re in now.)
Here’s what happened: The woman’s home was in foreclosure. She in turn filed for what is known as a quiet title. This is a lawsuit that is brought in a court that oversees land disputes. Basically, the intent here is to establish who owns the title to the real property. What that will do is “quiet” any other legal claims or challenges to that title.
In this case, JP Morgan and its subsidiaries were at the center of it. But they never responded. So the woman won the lawsuit, essentially by default.
That means she basically owns the title, without the obligation of a mortgage payment. Of course, she may still be responsible to repay that mortgage debt to the bank if they choose to go after her for it, but the debt would be considered unsecured, rather than secure. That means it could be purged if the woman qualifies and decides to run for bankruptcy.
So how did this happen? Did the bank simply forget to show up?
What we do know is that when the lawyer tried to argue that point, the judge countered that the lawyer had been in possession of the file for nine months before there was ever a single court date in the matter.
In this case, a bank has the option to seek remedy of the situation with an appeal, saying they weren’t properly served notice of the impending action – which they did, adding that the lawyer never informed of the action. The problem here was that even after the lawyer DID inform them, they waited nearly a year to file their appeal. What that means, according to the appellate court, is that they failed to establish diligence in fighting the case.
The case did eventually make it to the appeals court on the grounds of a separate statute, however, that motion was ultimately denied on a technicality.
One possibility for the delay, of course, is the fraudulent mess that so many of these large financial institutions have gotten themselves into. If they realized that the documents pertaining to the case were forged or otherwise unverifiable, they may not have been eager to press the matter.
The state’s supreme court is unlikely to overturn this decision (the likelihood is so remote, it’s likely not even worth the bank spending the money to request a hearing). That means this decision is final.
As mentioned above, the bank could still likely go after the homeowner for the remaining balance of the mortgage, so she will still benefit from having a skilled foreclosure attorney by her side in this matter.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas, contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.