New Jersey Courts May Order Foreclosure Freeze

Well this is something. New Jersey Court May Order Foreclosure Freeze

Six lenders that together have filed nearly 30,000 foreclosure actions in New Jersey this year face the possible suspension of such operations next month. The possible suspension came under a court order announced on Monday by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Stuart J. Rabner.

The action follows a report submitted to the Supreme Court that, citing depositions and court filings in other states, paints a picture of systemic abuses in the filing of foreclosures that include so-called robo-signing, in which employees signed hundreds of documents without checking them for accuracy.

It’s coming from the courts, who are getting increasingly intolerant of the large amount of abuse and incompetence displayed in the foreclosure proceedings. David Dayen has more:

In a separate administrative order, Judge Glenn Grant has directed all lenders and servicers who have filed more than 200 foreclosure actions in 2010 to prove that there were no irregularities in those proceedings. Given the scope of foreclosure fraud, this is nearly impossible. And, Judge Rabner issued an edict similar to what has been issued by the Supreme Court in New York, essentially requiring the plaintiffs’ attorneys to certify the information filed in foreclosure proceedings.

The documents released by the courts can be viewed here and here. It’s really a simple case – here’s the evidence, and now the servicers must prove they are following the existing laws of the state courts, and if they’re not, the courts will stop the proceedings, period.

This is the first state court to undertake such a sweeping action against lenders and servicers since the revelations about robo-signers and foreclosure fraud emerged. Considering that New York has gone at least part of the way down this road already with the certification for lawyers, I’d expect Judge Rabner’s actions to be only the first.

There needs to be a regulatory response to this, for both the integrity of our courts as well as for the economy. If you’d like to express yourself on this issue, please check out this petition at Stop Servicer Scams.

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