Residential Real Estate Bankruptcy

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Mortgage-Backed Securities: “It Is The Rare Ordinary Human Being Who Understands Them”

In re Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., 513 B.R. 624 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2014) – A purchaser of residential mortgage-backed securities filed proofs of claim based on alleged misrepresentations by the debtors in offering...more

When Your General Contractor Files Bankruptcy

The case is Branch Banking & Trust Co. v. Construction Supervision Services Inc. (In re Construction Supervision Services Inc.), 753 F.3d 124 (4th Cir. 2014). After a general contractor filed bankruptcy, several of its...more

Sales Free and Clear: What About Restrictive Covenants?

Heatherwood Holdings, LLC v. HGC, Inc. (In re Heatherwood Holdings, LLC), 746 F.3d 1206 (11th Cir. 2014) – A chapter 11 debtor owned property that had always been used as a golf course and club. When it requested that...more

Strong Arm Powers: What Can Be Done With An Avoided Lien?

DeGiacomo v. Traverse (In re Traverse), 753 F.3d 19 (1st Cir. 2014) – A chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid an unrecorded first mortgage and to preserve the lien for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. In response, the...more

Delayed Recording: Sometimes Late Is No Better Than Never

Collins v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (In re Flannery), 513 B.R. 1 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2014) – A chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid as a preference a mortgage that was recorded within 90 days before a bankruptcy filing....more

Equitable Subrogation: “Complete and Perfect Justice” Requires Party To Be Without Fault

Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC v. Summit Bank, N.A. (In re Francis), 750 F.3d 754 (8th Cir. 2014) – A lender that attached the wrong legal description to its recorded mortgage sought equitable subrogation and/or reformation...more

Fannie Mae Issues Fact Sheet on Prior Derogatory Credit Event Policies

On September 8, Fannie Mae published a fact sheet about borrower eligibility after a derogatory credit event. The fact sheet reviews Fannie Mae’s recently updated policy related to the minimum waiting periods following a...more

To Caesar, Only What Is Due - An Opportunity under § 505(a)(2)(C) for Ad Valorem Taxes?

Plagued with financial uncertainty and inadequate resources, debtors often fail to take the steps that are needed to minimize property taxes in the period leading up to bankruptcy. Tax protests go unfiled and valuations go...more

California Retroactively Extends Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief, But Only For 2013

At the end of July, the California state legislature enacted an extension of its modified conformity to federal mortgage debt forgiveness tax relief for 1 year, through 2013. The law allows exclusion of income realized as a...more

Abandonment: When Property Drops Out of the Bankruptcy Estate

In re Rich, 510 B.R. 366 (Bankr. D. Utah 2014) – In a case that was converted from a chapter 11 reorganization to a chapter 7 liquidation, the debtor sought an order directing the trustee to abandon certain real...more

Improperly Indexed Mortgage: How Far Does Your Record Review Need to Go to Be Safe?

Albert v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC (In re El Erian), 512 B.R. 391 (Bankr. D. D.C. 2014) – A chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid the lien of a recorded deed of trust because (1) it contained both correct and incorrect...more

Fraudulent Transfer: A Case Where Strong Arm Powers Were “An Inch Too Short”

A Chapter 11 trustee sought to avoid a transfer of property under Section 544 of the Bankruptcy Code that occurred after (1) the bankruptcy petition was filed and (2) a chapter 11 plan of reorganization was confirmed. ...more

Even a Tax Authority May Sometimes Have to Pay

In Clinton County Treasurer v. Wolinsky, 511 B.R. 34 (N.D.N.Y. 2014), a Chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid a property tax foreclosure as a fraudulent transfer and then to recover damages from the foreclosing county. The...more

Who Will Think of the Tenants: Split in Authority Regarding the Interplay Between Bankruptcy Code Sections 363(f) and 365(h)(1)(A)

A useful tool granted to trustees (and debtors-in-possession) in bankruptcy is the ability to assume or reject leases.1 The trustee can exploit this power to the estate's economic advantage, either assuming or rejecting the...more

Nevada Supreme Court Clarifies Mechanic and Materialman Lien Issues

On August 7, 2014, the Nevada Supreme Court issued two opinions dealing with the priority of mechanics’ liens and the proof required for a materialman to establish a lien. These cases provide valuable guidance to lenders,...more

Mortgage Enforcement: Dot Those “i”s and Cross Those “t”s – Or Else

A chapter 13 debtor objected to the portion of a mortgagee’s claim consisting of expenses related to foreclosure of its mortgage. She argued that since the mortgagee failed to comply with notice requirements under the...more

Property Tax Foreclosure: Tax Authority May Have to Pay for Equity in Property

A chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid a property tax foreclosure as a fraudulent transfer and then to recover damages from the foreclosing county. The bankruptcy court agreed that the transfer was a fraudulent conveyance, but...more

Affiliate Transfer: Fraudulent Conveyance or Unwinding Resulting Trust?

A chapter 7 trustee sought to set aside as a debtor’s transfer of her interest in property held jointly with her husband to her husband’s corporation as a constructive fraudulent conveyance. The bankruptcy court agreed that...more

Bankruptcy Beat: Connecticut District Court Suggests Automatic Stay May Apply To Non-debtor Junior Lienholders In Foreclosure...

On July 22, 2014, the Connecticut District Court issued an opinion, Eastern Savings Bank FSB v. St. Germain, et al, 2014 WL 3687740 (D. Conn. 2014), which could impact the applicability of the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C....more

Bankruptcy Sales and Leases: “Free And Clear” May Not Be So “Free And Clear”

In approving the sale of a Chapter 11 debtor’s assets, a bankruptcy court found that a tenant of the debtor was entitled to continue in possession of the leased portion of the sold property for the remainder of its lease. ...more

Remedies Against Receiver Must Be Exhausted Before Claim Against Assignee

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims brought by singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren and his wife Michelle Rundgren against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase). Since the Rundgrens’ claims...more

United States Bankruptcy Court Rejects Creditor’s Cost Claim Because of Defective Notice

Lenders should be aware of a recent Bankruptcy Court decision that barred a lender from obtaining certain costs when it did not comply with a notice requirement in a mortgage....more

Spotlight on Bankruptcy: Basic Bankruptcy for Mortgage Litigators

Mortgage litigators often face a variety of bankruptcy issues. There are three main chapters of bankruptcy that affect the average mortgage litigator: Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11. Upon the filing of Chapter 7,...more

Real Property, Financial Services, & Title Insurance Update

Foreclosure: reservation of jurisdiction in final judgment to determine amount of attorneys’ fees renders that portion of judgment non-final and non-appealable – BAC Home Loans Servicing LP v. Ridgway, No. 1D13-3853 (Fla. 1st...more

Bankruptcy Court Sheds Light on MA Homestead Protection of Downstream Trust Beneficiaries

Suppose the following: Title to a home is held by Trust A. The beneficiaries of Trust A are three natural persons and Trust B. Trust B holds a 25% beneficial interest in Trust A. The sole beneficiaries of Trust B are Mom...more

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