Resources / Study / Innovation for Court ADR

Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Posts Tagged ‘Nevada’

Foreclosure Mediation Upheld against Constitutional Challenge

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, August 23rd, 2012

For the second time in as many years, a foreclosure mediation program has faced a constitutional challenge. This time, the 153,000-person city of Springfield, Massachusetts, will be allowed to move forward with a foreclosure mediation program for residents.

The first was a constitutional challenge from Wells Fargo against the Nevada Supreme Court Foreclosure Mediation Program. Wells Fargo claims the mediation program itself violates the due process clause. More specifically, Wells Fargo claims a provision that allows sanctions for non-compliance, violated the U.S. constitution. Nevada’s mediation program allows judges to issue sanctions if the lender does not participate in good faith. Sanctions may include an ordered write-down of the mortgage. Wells Fargo says this violates the contracts clause and the takings clause by interfering with a contract provision and appropriating private real and personal property for public use without compensation. The court (more…)

Foreclosure Mediation, Saving Homes, and Appropriate Dispute Resolution

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, February 23rd, 2012

As someone who reports on foreclosure mediation around the country, I am thankful for the work of the Department of Justice and the National Consumer Law Center, which have both published extensive reports on the benefits of foreclosure mediation in recent weeks. The DOJ’s report is a follow-up on an Access to Justice Initiative conference RSI attended last year, which focused on how foreclosure mediation programs can be evaluated for their effectiveness. The NCLC report is the work of Geoff Walsh, a consumer lawyer who focuses on the foreclosure crisis and how consumers benefit from mediation programs that address foreclosures and provide a mechanism for servicer accountability. Walsh also helpfully demonstrates (on pages 33-41) how foreclosure mediation does not have to cost states too much and does not have to extend the foreclosure timeline.

While I agree with most of the assessment these reports provide, I’d like to highlight a couple of points – based on RSI’s experience and expertise in the court ADR field – with which I disagree.  (more…)

Developing Mediation Programs as an Exercise of Police Power?

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, December 7th, 2011

The foreclosure crisis is real, and it is not dissipating anytime soon. So why would a borrower advocate undermine a process meant to facilitate resolutions?

State and local governments seek creative ways to resolve the crisis. Some have looked to mediation and its rich history of providing a forum to disputing parties – including parties to foreclosures – to discuss alternatives to litigation. Courts (in judicial foreclosure states) and other government entities (in non-judicial foreclosure states) have created mediation programs to encourage borrowers and servicers to talk face-to-face about options other than foreclosure. These options include loan modifications as well as graceful exits.

Now, a court case in Nevada (Wells Fargo v. Renslow) challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s non-judicial Foreclosure Mediation Program threatens to dismantle 30 years of good work mediators and mediation developers have done. And it’s not because Wells Fargo claims that the Program violates the U.S. Constitution’s contracts clause. (more…)

Articulated Purposes and Objectives for Foreclosure Mediation Programs

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, September 6th, 2011

Foreclosure mediation and mitigation programs began appearing in local, state, and national contexts in response to the foreclosure crisis. As the crisis persists, more states have adopted or are looking to adopt such programs as a way to ensure borrowers (more…)

New RSI Report on Foreclosure Mediations Conducted Per Month

Jessica Glowinski, August 18th, 2011

RSI’s foreclosure mediation expert, Heather Scheiwe Kulp, put together a report on the number of mediations being conducted by court foreclosure mediation programs around the country. She calculated these numbers using all the public statistics she could find on the programs. (more…)