Foreclosure Litigation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently made clear that foreclosure actions qualify as “debt collection” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). See Cohen v. Rosicki, Rosicki & Assocs., P.C., 897 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 2018). Thus, even if a foreclosure action is not seeking a deficiency judgment and the proceeding is strictly in rem, it now falls under the FDCPA debt collection umbrella in the Second Circuit.

In Cohen, the borrower appealed the district court’s dismissal of his FDCPA claims based on the defendants’ allegedly incorrect identification of Green Tree Servicing LLC as the creditor in the foreclosure complaint, certificate of merit, and request for judicial intervention. The basis for the district court’s dismissal of the case was that “enforcement of a security interest through foreclosure proceedings that do not seek monetary judgments against debtors” does not qualify as debt collection within the scope of the FDCPA. The Second Circuit disagreed. Cohen, aff’d, 897 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 2018) Continue Reading Second Circuit: Mortgage Foreclosure Constitutes “Debt Collection” Under FDCPA

Because New York residential foreclosures can take several years and several attempts to complete, it is essential for a statute of limitations analysis to be completed during all phases of the foreclosure proceedings. The discussion that follows includes some of the considerations that should be made during a statute of limitations analysis.

Background

Mortgage debt accrues as each installment becomes due, with a six-year statute of limitations running accordingly. CPLR 213(4); Koeppel v. Carlandia Corp., 21 A.D.3d 884, 800 N.Y.S.2d 607 (2d Dept. 2005). Where there is an acceleration clause giving the creditor the right to declare the whole amount due, the six-year statute of limitations begins to run on the full amount of the debt at the time of acceleration. Zinker v. Makler, 298 A.D.2d 516, 748 N.Y.S.2d 780 (2d Dept. 2002); EMC Mortgage Corp. v. Patella, 279 A.D.2d 604, 720 N.Y.S.2d 161 (2d Dept. 2001). While acceleration clauses can be categorized as automatic or optional, most clauses are not considered truly self-operative in nature. Seligman v. Burg, 233 A.D. 221, 251 N.Y.S. 689 (2d Dept. 1931). In most residential foreclosure actions, acceleration occurs at commencement of the action, which would include a provision explicitly calling the entire amount due. See, e.g., Walsh v. Henel, 226 A.D. 198, 235 N.Y.S. 34 (4th Dept. 1929). Continue Reading Limitations to the New York Foreclosure Statute of Limitations