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2011 Report of Chief Administrator of the Courts on Residential Foreclosure Cases

2011 Report of Chief Administrator of the Courts on Residential Foreclosure Cases

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Published by Caesar Nguyen

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Published by: Caesar Nguyen on Dec 12, 2011
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12/12/2011

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STATEOF
NEW
YORK
UNIFI
ED
COURT
SYSTEM
2011
REPORT OF THECHIEF ADMINISTRATOR OF THE
C0
1JRTS
Pursuant
to
Chapter
507
of
The
Laws
of
2009
ANN
PFAU
Chief Administrative
Judge
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f
 
In accordance with section10a-2
of
Chapter 507
of
theLaws
of2009,
this reportprovides statistics and other information regarding residential foreclosure cases and settlementconferencesfor the periodNovember 2010 to September
201l.
1.
IntroductionFrom theend
of2010
andthroughout2011, we experienced a sharpdownturn
in
thenumber
of
residentialforeclosure cases entering our courts. Because this dramaticdecline innewlyfiledcasesdoesnot allow for a meaningful year to year comparison, this report provides detail on a few itemsthatwe believe are
of
particular significance:the pace
of
settJ
.ementconferences,thesettlement rate and the court system's efforts to enhancetheavailability
of
legalrepresentationfor unrepresented homeowners.II. Affirmation RequirementIn the latesummer and early fall
of
2010, major media outletsthroughout thenationreportedfindings
of
widespreaddeficiencies in the proceduresthatbanks usetocommence residentialmortgageforeclosurecases. Specifically, there werereports
of
"robosigning," wherebankrepresentatives claimed to have personallyreviewedthousands
of
documents. in impossiblyshort periods
of
time. Thisresulted infactualinaccuracies
in
key documents aswellasfraudulent andinadequatenotarizations. Inresponseto this situation, and to prevent procedurally flawedcases from proceedingtoforeclosure, Chief JudgeJonathan Lippman institutedanew filing requirementin all residential foreclosure cases.As
of
October
20,2010,
attorneysfor banks and lenders wererequiredtosubmit affirmations certifyingthat theyhave taken reasonable steps to verifytheaccuracy
of
courtdocuments insupport
of
a residentialforeclosurecase.Theseattorneysmust alsocontact bank representativestoconfirmthatcrucial documentswere thoroughly reviewedand that they were not"robosigned." (SeeAppendix #2).
 
Followingtheeffective date
of
the affirmation requirement, there was a sharp decline
in
the number
of
residential foreclosure cases filed
in
courts statewide. Before October 2010, theaverage number
of
new
filings statewide was 3,500 per month. After the affirmationrequirement was
put
into place, that number dipped to 775
per
month. The drop
off
in
casesentering the courtshasbeen especially evident
in
counties where filings were typically
high
.
For
example,
in
Westchester County, prior to the affirmation, filings averaged approximately 200
per
month. Sincetheaffirmation requirement, they have averaged only 30
per
month..
III.
Settlement ConferencesDespitethedramatic decline
in
thenumber
of
newly filed cases, our
foredosure
workload remains substantial. Settlement conferences are being conducted for
casl~s
that werefiled previously, some as early as 2008. Moreover, these cases stillrequire,
on
average,fourtoeight distinct appearances beforethesettlement conference process is completed.This year alone, we are
on
pacetoconduct approximately 80,000 conferences. Given the l.arge pendingcaseload andthe length
of
imethatcasesremain
in
the conference parts,
we
continuetoaskjudgesand staffwho handleother case types to assist
with
foreclosure cases
in
addition totheirother duties.IV.Settlement Rate
In
assessingtheefficacy
of
settlement conferences,
we
remain focused on1hose casesthathavecompleted
the
conference process.
For
this group
of
cases, the settlementrateis steadily rising. Indeed, overall thesettlement rate for 2011hasrisen 29 percent fromlast year. V.LegalRepresentationAs inthe past,one
of
ourmajorconcerns is access tolegal representation for homeownerswho cannot retain private counsel. Given the budgetary constraints ,mddiminished
2

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