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Empire Justice urges Governor to sign OCA "Shadow Docket" bill as soon as possible

July 9, 2013

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

SUBMITTIED VIA EMAIL

               Re:         A.5582A(Weinstein)/S.4530A(Klein) – OCA Departmental “Shadow Docket” Bill

Dear Governor Cuomo:

I write on behalf of the Empire Justice Center to ask you to sign A.5582A/S.4530A into law as soon as possible.  The legislation is a simple fix to a huge problem in New York’s foreclosure process.  We were very pleased that the bill passed both houses passed with great support.  The new rule will go into effect 30 days after it becomes law and time is of the essence. 

The Empire Justice Center is a non-profit legal services organization which has been providing assistance to homeowners for over a decade.  We provide direct assistance to homeowners in Monroe County, and training and technical assistance to non-profit housing counseling and legal services programs serving homeowners statewide.  Our agency has seen first-hand the adverse effect on homeowners when lenders fail to prosecute foreclosure cases.

A.5582A/S.4530A changes the timing to the initiation of lawsuit for when lawyers have to file a Certificate of Merit, verifying that there is a reasonable basis for a foreclosure lawsuit and that the plaintiff is the record owner and holder of the mortgage and note.  Under Judge Lippman’s court rule, put in place in 2010 in response to the robo-signing scandal, lenders’ lawyers need not file such affirmation until later on in the case.  The unintended consequence has been lenders filing foreclosure cases but failing to file the required paperwork to move the case forward.  

The Office of Court Administration submitted this legislation to address the 25,000 cases they estimate to be sitting in legal limbo in New York’s shadow docket for months or even years.  The impact on homeowners is tremendous.  Fees and costs continue to accrue on these loans monthly but the homeowners can’t get into the mandatory settlement conferences intended to enable the homeowner to negotiate with their lender.  The longer a case sits with no action, the less likely the homeowner will be eligible for a loan modification.

A.5582A/S.4530A helps homeowners, communities (many of the properties stuck in the shadow docket are believed to be vacant), New York’s court system and will hasten New York’s protracted foreclosure process.  It is for these reasons that we write with great urgency to request that you sign A.5582A/S.4530A into law to prevent any more cases from ending up in this legal limbo. 

View the PDF Version

For more information, please contact:

Kirsten E. Keefe

Empire Justice Center
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12210 


P:(518) 462-6831
F:(518) 935-2852
kkeefe@empirejustice.org


Kristin Brown

Empire Justice Center
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12210 


P:(518) 462-6831
F:(518) 935-2852
kbrown@empirejustice.org

July 9, 2013