Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Yorkers Continue Getting Screwed In Court Over Baseless Foreclosure, Debt Collection Lawsuits Due To Inability Afford Adequate Defense: State AG

In Albany, New York, the Albany Times Union reports:

  • Scores of low-income New Yorkers have unjustly lost court battles -- and their homes -- because they could not afford lawyers to fight often baseless legal actions, a top aide to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told a special panel Monday.

  • "The lack of individual representation in foreclosure actions is one reason we have seen systemic abuses of the legal system by lenders and debt collectors," Martin J. Mack, the state's executive deputy attorney general, testified to the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, headed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

  • The top judge created the panel to aid the estimated 2.3 million and growing number of low-income New Yorkers who have no legal representation in civil cases ranging from child custody matters to home foreclosures. Monday's testimony, heard in the state Court of Appeals, was the third of four hearings the panel is holding across the state.

  • Mack noted that even with a surge in pro bono representation -- lawyers working free of charge -- more than 44 percent of New Yorkers facing foreclosure have had no lawyers.

  • "We've all heard harrowing tales of abuses, including foreclosure actions brought against homeowners who are actually up to date on their mortgage payments," Mack testified. "For every abusive case uncovered, there are dozens upon dozens of homeowners and, sad to say, former homeowners who have been steamrolled because they did not have adequate representation."

  • Abuses such as improper legal documentation "only happen because lenders and debt collectors are able to assume that the overwhelming majority of homeowners won't have attorneys to fight back."

For more, see Abused for lack of a lawyer (Top AG aide says low-income New Yorkers have suffered due to lack of representation).

No comments: