California Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Title Insurance Company After Insured Conveyed Its Interest in the Property at Issue

The California Court of Appeals recently affirmed a lower court’s decision granting summary judgment to a title insurance company after the insured voluntarily conveyed the property to a third party.  See Fid. Nat’l Title Ins. Co. v. Butler, 2017 WL 2774337 (Cal. Ct. App. June 27, 2017), reh’g denied (July 21, 2017).  In the case, plaintiffs purchased a parcel of property in 1980 and obtained a title insurance policy from defendant title insurance company.  Among other conditions, the policy stated that “[t]he coverage of this policy shall continue in force as of Date of Policy, in favor of an insured so long as such insured retains an estate or interest in the land.” 

The Not So Short “Short Sale”: New Legislation in New Jersey Helps Expedite the Short Sale Process

The New Jersey Legislature recently amended New Jersey’s Fair Foreclosure Act to require loan servicers on residential mortgages to engage in consultations on short sales with prospective buyers, and to respond to short sale offers from buyers within certain periods. See A2060. Under the bill, which will take effect on September 19, 2017, a mortgage loan servicer is required to respond to a good faith offer from a seller, seller’s agent, or authorized third party to purchase the property through a short sale within 60 days of the date of the offer.

Texas Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Title Insurance Company on Equitable Subrogation Grounds

The Court of Appeals of Texas recently affirmed a lower court’s decision granting summary judgment to a title insurance company, among others, holding that the insured lender’s deed of trust had been equitably subrogated to a first lien position and, accordingly, the insured had not suffered any damages as a result of an intervening lien.  See First Bank Texas, SSB v. W. D. Welch, P.C., 2017 WL 2443132 (Tex. App. June 5, 2017). 

New Jersey District Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Class Action Complaint Without Prejudice, Finding Collection Letter on Time-Barred Debt Does Not Violate FDCPA

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently granted defendant debt collector’s motion to dismiss a class action complaint alleging a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq.  Judah v. Total Card, Inc., 2017 WL 2345636 (D.N.J. 2017).  At issue in the case was a certain letter sent by defendant to plaintiff attempting to collect a debt (the “Collection Letter”).  The Collection Letter offered to settle plaintiff’s debt through a single payment or through six monthly payments but also stated, “[t]he law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, [the owner of the debt] will not sue you for it, and [the owner of the debt] will not report it to any credit agency.” 

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Borrowers’ Attempt to Rescind Under TILA

In a case brought by plaintiffs under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) to rescind their mortgage loan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant lender and servicer (collectively as “defendants”), finding that plaintiffs’ conclusory affidavits could not rebut the presumption that they received the required notices under the TILA and that the disclosure statements received by plaintiffs were within TILA’s allowable margin of error. 

Pennsylvania Superior Court Finds Ambiguity in Title Insurance Policy’s Description of the Insured Property Precludes Summary Judgment

In an action arising out of a failed real estate transaction, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania vacated an order from the Court of Common Pleas denying appellant-insured’s motion for partial summary judgment and granting a cross-motion for summary judgment by appellee-title insurance company on appellant’s claims.  See Michael v. Stock, 2017 PA Super 99 (Super. Ct. 2017), reargument denied (June 13, 2017). 

New Jersey Appellate Division Affirms That Refinancing Mortgage Should Be Granted Priority Over Life Estates Under the Principles of Replacement and Modification

In a decision approved for publication on July 10, 2017, New Jersey’s Appellate Division held that if a lender holds a priority lien on a property and replaces it with a new mortgage via a refinancing, that new mortgage is entitled to priority regardless of the lender’s knowledge of other encumbrances so long as the intervening lienors are not materially prejudiced. See Ocwen Loan Servs., LLC v. Quinn, 2016 WL 6156209 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Oct. 24, 2016), cert. denied, 2017 WL 658798 (N.J. Feb. 13, 2017).

New Jersey Chancery Division Holds That Courts Cannot Appoint Custodial Receivers in Foreclosure Actions of Single-Family Residential Dwellings

In a noteworthy decision that was approved for publication on June 29, 2017, the New Jersey Chancery Division held that the appointment of a custodial receiver in a foreclosure action of a single-family home or condominium would run counter to the purpose of the Fair Foreclosure Act (“FFA”) (N.J.S.A. 2A:50-03 et seq.) and the FFA’s required notices and other procedures providing homeowners with opportunities to cure foreclosure defaults and keep their homes.