The court issued a memorandum that clarifies the proposal is based on the suggestion of a number of stakeholders involved in mortgage foreclosure cases, including investors, judges and court staff, said Scott Himes, an attorney with the mortgage banking group at Ballard Spahr. It states such a requirement “would enable the court to search for cases by servicer and facilitate the scheduling of matters in mortgage foreclosure parts."
No other explanation was provided. However, a commentary period on the proposal is open untilSept. 23.
These measures could help foreclosure processing in the state, which currently is experiencing an uptick in foreclosure rates.
The amendment was issued only a month after the court revised the foreclosure amendment and its settlement conference requirement. It is “simply a line item” requiring the name of the mortgage servicer “even if it is not a party to the action,” Himes said.
The RJI form serves as a foreclosure initialization document with basic information about the case “when a judge’s involvement is necessary for a proceeding,” he explained, and has been amended several times since 2011.
Used for mortgage foreclosure actions on owner-occupied one-to-four family properties and condominiums the foreclosure addendum requires the identification and contact information for the defendant and the date they received the 90-day foreclosure action notice from the lender.
The addendum is designed to identify cases that qualify for early settlement conferences adding language to the New York Legislature’s CPLR 3408 issued in 2008 that mandates a settlement conference within 60 days of filing of foreclosure actions.
Rule 3408(a), a recent amendment enacted in July and effective Aug. 30, requires a plaintiff to file proof of service within 20 days that helps expedite the settlement-conferencing process.
Shortly after Rule 3408, the court issued 22 NYCRR 202.12-a, another amendment, “to set forth the schedule and procedures for the settlement conferences, including a provision that, upon filing the RJI,” the court shall send a copy of it or the defendant's name and contact information to a housing counseling agency.
Himes warns both Rule 202.12-a and CPLR 3408 specify in detail settlement procedures for the conference in mortgage foreclosure actions and “should be reviewed carefully in preparation for a settlement conference.”
Examples include the requirement both plaintiff and defendant bring certain documents to the conference and engage in good-faith settlement discussions “to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, including a loan modificationif possible," he noted.