Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Harvard Law Students At Center Of Another Foreclosure Fight On Behalf Of Massachusetts Homeowner Before State High Court

From Harvard Law School News:

  • Just two months after landing a major victory in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of homeowners fighting eviction, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) was back before the high court last week seeking more protections for people with homes in foreclosure. The court’s decision, expected to come down in several months, could lead to greater accountability for lenders trying to foreclose.

  • Sam Levine ’12, president of the HLAB’s Foreclosure Task Force, argued before the high court that a bank or other entity seeking to foreclose on a house can’t do so unless it holds both the mortgage and the promissory note underlying the debt.

  • In this case, Green Tree Servicing conducted a foreclosure sale on the home of a Boston woman even though it was owed no debt and held nothing more than the assignment of a mortgage securing a loan that the woman received from a bank. The case, Eaton v. Fannie Mae and Green Tree Servicing, LLC [go here for the lower court ruling currently on appeal], is being closely watched by observers and analysts of the foreclosure crisis nationwide.

  • Levine first began working on the case over a year ago when the homeowner, Henrietta Eaton, who lives in the house with her three grandchildren, became an HLAB client after HLS students in Project No One Leaves knocked on her door to inform her that her home was in foreclosure, and offered to represent her. HLAB won a preliminary injunction in Superior Court in June to stop the foreclosure, but the other side appealed to the state Appeals Court.

  • Then, in August, the high court took the unusual move of asserting jurisdiction over the case before the appeals court had ruled.

For more, see HLS students advocate before Mass. high court in closely watched foreclosure case.

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