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Quicken Loans, Inc. v. Walters: A Case of Unambiguous Ambiguity

In the case of Quicken Loans, Inc. v. Walters, all five justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia agreed that West Virginia’s “illegal loan” statute was unambiguous.  While one might think that agreement on that point would be followed by a unanimous ruling in favor of one of the parties to the…

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Buyer Beware: The Thorny Problem of Belongings Left Behind On Property Purchased At Foreclosure Sale

For a number of reasons, real property usually sells for less at foreclosure than it would in an arms-length negotiated sale.  A June 29, 2017 decision by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals provides an example of the kinds of unknown risks foreclosure sale purchasers, including lenders, may face that dictate that they not pay…

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Mortgage Lender Wins the Battle But Loses the War in the Third Circuit

In a June 6, 2017 opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with mortgage lender, AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union, that bankruptcy courts have the authority to impose limits on future bankruptcy filings by Chapter 13 debtors who move to dismiss their cases voluntarily.  Unfortunately for AmeriChoice, the Third Circuit’s decision…

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Purchasers of Distressed Consumer Debt Must Obtain Collection Agency Licenses to Foreclose In Maryland

The Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Act, codified in the Business Regulations Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, requires any person who “does business as a collection agency in the State” to obtain a license from the Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Board.  Maryland’s second highest court, the Court of Special Appeals, held in 2013 that…

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Changes in Maryland Quiet Title Procedure Strengthen Judgments

Until 2016, quiet title actions in Maryland had proceeded based on common law and the results were confusing, inconsistent, and unreliable. The Maryland Land Title Association, along with other industry organizations such as the Maryland Bankers Association and the Maryland Association of Realtors, recognized the haphazard process that resulted and successfully lobbied the state to…

End of HAMP Heralds New Era in Loan Modification and Loss Mitigation for Lenders

Launched in response to the financial crisis of 2008, the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) officially ended on December 31, 2016, with approximately 2.8 million homeowners having been granted permanent modifications to their mortgage loans. Recent reporting from the Treasury Department heralded HAMP as having been a success in many ways, and its conclusion…

A Rose By Any Other Name Might Not Smell As Sweet After All

A former U.S. President was widely ridiculed for saying that the answer to a question depended “on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”  In its April 27, 2017 decision in Under Armour, Inc. v. Ziger/Snead, LLC, the Maryland Court of Appeals demonstrated that the Executive Branch does not have a monopoly when it comes to…

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Supreme Court Reverses Approval of Structured Dismissal That Violates Fundamental Bankruptcy Priority Distribution Scheme

In a May 2015 opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit approved the “structured dismissal” of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Jevic Holding Corporation.  In Jevic, the secured creditors paid $2 million into an account to be used to pay the attorneys’ fees of Jevic and the Official Committee of…

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Ricketts v. Strange “Strange” How Simply Checking For a Bankruptcy Filing Can Provide a Complete Defense To a Lawsuit

Parties other than those who file for bankruptcy and discharge their obligations to creditors generally view a bankruptcy filing as a bad thing.  The filing of a bankruptcy case prevents creditors from foreclosing on collateral or suing to recover money owed to them and generally results in creditors being paid much less than they are…

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