Underwater Homeowners

News & Analysis as of

Naked Liens – Stripping Prohibited

In June, the US Supreme Court decided the case of debtors in bankruptcy desirous of stripping off a lender’s real estate lien that was fully in excess of the fair market value of the real estate. The Supreme Court unanimously...more

Recent Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Holds That Underwater Mortgages in a Chapter 7 Cannot be “Stripped off"

The Issue and Background - Debtors David Caulkett and Edelmiro Toledo-Cardona (“Debtors”) each filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief with “underwater” junior mortgages held by Bank of America, N.A. (“Bank”). In other...more

Distressed Downloads - June 2015

A Battle in the Making in the Oil and Gas Sector: Second Lien vs. High Yield Debt - In the oil and gas industry, there is a storm brewing between holders of second lien debt and unsecured high yield bonds. These...more

"Strip, Strip Hooray!" - Supreme Court Settles Chapter 7 Lien-Stripping Debate

Twenty-three years after initially visiting the issue, the United States Supreme Court has recently settled what some would call “the single most important unresolved issue in consumer bankruptcy” - whether Chapter 7 permits...more

Supreme Court Reaffirms a Chapter 7 Debtor's Inability to Strip a Lien Against Real Property

Reaffirming its 1992 decision in Dewsnup v. Timm, on June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Bank of America v. Caulkett, No. 13-1421, once again ruled that a chapter 7 debtor may not void a junior lien under Bankruptcy Code...more

Orrick's Financial Industry Week in Review

SEC Provides Additional Analysis Related to Proposed Pay Ratio Disclosure Rules - On June 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission provided additional analysis related to its proposed rules for pay ratio disclosure. The...more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Out of the Money Mortgages Cannot be Stripped Off in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a secured creditor in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case is protected from having its lien “stripped off” even if the collateral securing its claim is worth less than the claims asserted by a senior...more

The Supremes Tell the Eleventh Circuit: No Lien Stripping

On June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling resolving a split amongst circuit courts in which the 11th circuit was the singular minority, addressing the permissibility of “lien-stripping” in...more

The Supreme Court Continues Stability In The Secondary Mortgage Market

On Monday, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that junior “underwater” residential mortgage liens can “pass through” a bankruptcy case unaffected. In Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court held...more

Wholly Underwater Junior Liens May Not Be Stripped Off in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Proceedings

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding may not void a junior mortgage lien when the debt owed on a senior mortgage lien exceeds the current value of the collateral, provided that...more

The Supreme Court Prohibits Chapter 7 Debtors From Stripping Off Wholly Underwater Liens in Bankruptcy

On June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court in Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, 575 U.S. ____ (2015), unanimously held that a Chapter 7 debtor cannot strip off wholly “underwater” liens secured by the debtor’s...more

Supreme Court Decides Bank of America v. Caulkett and Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona

On June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Bank of America v. Caulkett, No. 13-1421, together with Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona, No. 14-163, holding that a debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding may...more

Chapter 7 Debtors Cannot Strip Off Junior Liens on Underwater Home Loans, United States Supreme Court Rules

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that debtors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases cannot “strip off,” or completely void, junior mortgages that—based on the value of the property and the amount of claims secured by...more

Supreme Court Holds That Orders Denying Plan Confirmation Are Not Final for Appellate Purposes

On May 4, 2015, a unanimous United States Supreme Court in Bullard v. Blue Hills, 135 S. Ct. 1686 (2015), resolved a long-standing circuit court split by holding that a bankruptcy court’s order denying confirmation of a...more

Can a Foreclosure be “Wrongful” if the Debtor is Underwater?

In most successful “wrongful foreclosure” cases (challenging an already-completed trustee’s sale), the debtor’s most obvious source of damages is the lost equity in the wrongfully sold security property....more

Should Underwater Junior Liens Survive Bankruptcy?

On March 24th, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the consolidated appeals of two decisions from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Bank of America v. Caulkett and Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona. The appeals...more

BofA Underwater Mortgage Cases Hit Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear two cases brought by Bank of America regarding whether a second mortgage on an underwater property can be voided during Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Both cases involve Florida homeowners who sued to...more

11th Affirms Dismissal of FDCPA Class Action Based on Law Firm Collection Letter

The Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action brought under the FDCPA, 15 USC § 1692, against a law firm for sending a letter to a homeowner in default. Specifically, the letter did the...more

Contamination, Underwater Mortgages, and the IRWA Annual Education Conference

Along with my colleagues Brad Kuhn, Ben Rubin, and Katherine Contreras, I'm here in Hartford at the IRWA Annual Education Conference. It's been an interesting few days as we discuss eminent domain issues in the shadow of New...more

CFPB, State Authorities Settle with Ocwen

On December 19, CFPB and 49 states and the District of Columbia filed a proposed court order requiring Ocwen Financial Corporation, the fourth-largest mortgage servicer in the country, to provide $2 billion in principal...more

New York Proposes Shared Appreciation Mortgages For Underwater Borrowers

On December 10, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed regulations that would authorize and encourage “shared appreciation” mortgage modifications in that state. The DFS explained that under a shared...more

FHFA Launches HARP Education Campaign

On September 23, the FHFA launched a nationwide campaign to educate borrowers about HARP. The FHFA explains that the campaign is designed to encourage homeowners who have been making their mortgage payments, but who owe more...more

City of Richmond, California Backs Plan to Use Eminent Domain to Seize Bad Mortgages

Richmond, California’s leaders approved a controversial plan earlier this month to become the first municipality in the nation to use eminent domain to rid itself of underwater mortgages. The plan was approved by the Richmond...more

Condeming Underwater Mortgages: Another Look at the Legality of it

OK, I'll admit it. A year ago I thought this whole condemnation-of-underwater-mortgages thing would die off pretty quickly. I predicted we'd never see any large-scale condemnation effort. So far, I've missed badly on the...more

Editorial: How Fair Is The Florida Fair Foreclosure Act?

The purpose for the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, which became effective in July, was to speed up the residential and commercial foreclosure process in Florida, where a foreclosure could take more than two years from start to...more

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