News

Ninth Judicial District Supreme Court Induction Ceremony

Ninth Judicial District Supreme Court Induction Ceremony

March 4, 2022

Congratulations to Hon. Thomas R. Davis, Hon. James L. Hyer, Hon. Christie L. D’Alessio, and Hon. Thomas Quinones.

Wendy Marie Weathers humbly participated in yesterday’s Ninth Judicial District Supreme Court Induction Ceremony presided by the Honorable Administrative Law Judge of the Ninth JD, Hon. Anne E. Minihan, A.J.S.C.. As the Immediate Past President of the Westchester County Bar Association, Wendy Marie Weathers to be invited to say a few words at the Ninth Judicial District Supreme Court Induction Ceremony along side her colleagues, Sharon Matthie, the Immediate Past President of the Westchester Black Bar Association, and Sherry Levin-Wallach, the President-elect of the New York Bar Association.

United States Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. stated, “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”  We are inspired and encouraged to appear before you and witness your administration of justice with the core principles of the judiciary in mind – independence, impartiality, integrity, fairness, equality, competence, and diligence. Congratulations! 

New york Consumer Credit Fairness Act

How the New York Consumer Credit Fairness Act Benefits Debtors

February 24, 2022

Massive blow to Debt Collectors- New York passes legislation that alters how collection lawsuits are filed.

New York Governor Hochul recently signed into law Senate Bill S153 also known as the Consumer Credit Fairness Act. The Act amends the provisions of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, also known as the CPLR, that significantly impacts debt collection lawsuits filed by creditors and third-party debt collectors.  

What changes were made by the Consumer Credit Fairness Act?

The key changes made by the Consumer Credit Fairness Act include the following:

  • For most debt collection lawsuits arising out of a consumer credit transaction, the statute of limitations is reduced from six years to three years.
  • A payment toward the debt or “written or oral affirmation” of ownership of the debt by a consumer does not revive or extend the limitations period.
  • A debt collector must attach to the complaint the contract upon which the action is based.
  • The complaint must also include, among other things, the name of the original creditor, the last four digits of the account number, and the date and amount of the last payment.
  • A debt collector must provide a completed “additional notice of lawsuit” to the court clerk when filing the proof of service for the complaint, which the clerk will then mail to the consumer.
  • If a debt collector seeks a default judgment, it must submit supporting affidavits from the original creditor, any prior assignors or sellers of the debt, and a witness for the collector who can verify the chain of title for the debt.
  • All debt collectors requesting a default judgment must also include an affidavit, stating that the statute of limitations to enforce the debt has not expired.

What benefits does the Consumer Credit Fairness Act give to debtors?

By reducing the statute of limitations for debt collection lawsuits from six years to three years, the Consumer Credit Fairness Act will significantly reduce the amount of debt involved in a lawsuit. Furthermore, the Consumer Credit Fairness Act will provide more transparency to what debt collectors are attempting to do once a lawsuit is filed how much debt collectors are allowed to take legal action for. By doing so, the Consumer Credit Fairness Act will target borderline exploitative debt collectors that attempt to circumvent the law. As stated by New York State Senator Kevin Thomas, “Abusive and exploitative debt collection lawsuits have become an epidemic across New York State. The consequences of these lawsuits—which often prey on the elderly, disabled, and low- and moderate-income New Yorkers—are devastating, especially at a time when New Yorkers are already suffering financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. The Consumer Credit Fairness Act will stop these abusive and often illegal debt collection practices in their tracks.”

Do the changes made by Consumer Credit Fairness Act apply immediately?

Apart from the reduction of the statute of limitations from six years to three years and the prohibition on revival or extension of the statute of limitations period which becomes effective on April 6, 2022, the other changes described above become effective on May 6, 2022.

The importance of hiring an Experienced Consumer Debt Defense Attorney:

These changes along with the changes made by the New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act, make it more important than ever to speak with an attorney that is experienced with consumer debt defense. Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC is an experienced Consumer Debt Defense law firm in New York . We negotiate with debt collection law firms and remove holds on your bank accounts or wages garnishments. 

For additional questions regarding the consumer debt defense process, we invite you to contact Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC by calling 914-472-6202. We look forward to hearing from you.

New York Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act

New York Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act

February 17, 2022

The New York State Legislature is currently reviewing Bill S5473D that relates to the rights of parties involved in foreclosure actions and provides additional details regarding the commencement and termination of certain actions related to real property.  The title of this Bill is the Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act.

What is the Purpose of the Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act?

The Purpose and Intent of the Bill is to address the ongoing problem with abuses of the judicial foreclosure process in New York and lenders’ attempts to manipulate statutes of limitations, which problem has been worsened by recent court decisions which, contrary to the intent of the legislature, have given mortgage lenders and loan servicers opportunities to avoid strict compliance with remedial statutes and manipulate statutes of limitation to their advantage.

Specifically, there is a recent decision of the Appellate Division in Citi Mortgage, Inc. v. Ramirez, 192 AD3d 70 (2020), which effectively gives mortgagees a second bite of the mortgage apple, permitting actions to be instituted on a note after a foreclosure action based on the same debt has already been adjudicated to be barred by the statute of limitations.

Furthermore, the bill seeks to amend CPLR Sec. 3217 as it concerns the discontinuance of mortgage foreclosure actions and is a direct response to the Court of Appeals recent holding Freedom Mtge. Corp. v Enge1, 37 NY3d 1 (2021). 

What is the Statute of Limitations for bringing a foreclosure action?

New York law has a six-year statute of limitations concerning contracts. See NY CPLR § 213. Because a mortgage is a contract, this limit applies to mortgage foreclosure as well, with each payment becoming its own cause of action, time-barred six years after its due date.

How will this bill help New York homeowners in foreclosure defense?

As a direct result of these judicial decisions, thousands of New York homeowners who secured closure of their cases by operation of longstanding statute of limitations principles are at risk of an onslaught of successive foreclosure actions that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations under longstanding statutory and case law.  This will cause the loss of countless homes and will burden the Courts with cases that should be barred by the statute of limitations and with excessive motion practice now that the foreclosure moratoriums have ended. This bill levels the fields for all homeowners and ensures the statute of limitation applies to all parties equally without exemption

There are several defenses to foreclosure. Most of the defenses are related to the lender making a mistake.  Some examples of foreclosure defenses are lender’s noncompliance to RPAPL Article 13, lack of standing, improper affidavits and statute of limitations.  

Does this Bill Apply to all Foreclosure Actions?

The legislature is seeking to apply this bill to all actions governed by CPLR 213 (4) in which a final judgment of foreclosure and sale has not yet been enforced.  

Have Questions About Foreclosure Defense? 

Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC are proven foreclosure defense attorneys and we continue to monitor this ever-changing foreclosure landscape in New York for our clients. For additional questions regarding the implications of these decisions and the most current foreclosure laws, we invite you to contact Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC by calling 914-472-6202. We look forward to hearing from you.

new york forcelosure moratorium proceedings

New York Foreclosure Moratorium has Ended – Now what?

January 21, 2022

The hardship stays provided under New York’s COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (CEEFPA) officially ended on January 15, 2022. 

How CEEFPA affected foreclosure proceedings?

The CEEFPA was the legislature’s response to protect New Yorkers affected by a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic from the threat of immediate foreclosure or eviction. The CEEFPA provided a mandatory stay of any foreclosure or eviction proceeding in which a borrower or homeowner filed a hardship declaration with the court. 

The CEEFPA protections initially took effect on December 28, 2020, were extended by Governor Cuomo in May 2021, and were further extended by the legislature in September 2021. Despite calls for an extension of the hardship stays and protests by housing groups in Albany, the last extension expired on January 15, 2022.

CEEFPA has expired, foreclosure proceedings can now “resume in the normal course”

In response to the expiration of the hardship stay, New York’s Office of Court Administration (OCA) issued a memorandum to judges and non-judicial staff along with Administrative Order 35/22 on Monday. For the first time in almost twenty-two months since the pandemic began, the OCA stated that residential and commercial mortgage foreclosure proceedings can now “resume in the normal course.”

What does this mean for borrowers once protected by CEEFPA that are now facing foreclosure in New York?

The courts can now begin processing all active foreclosure matters. This includes:

  • Deciding motions that are fully briefed and were previously submitted to the court for a decision;
  • Scheduling oral argument or issuing briefing schedules for motions that have not yet been submitted to the court for a decision;
  • An increase in the scheduling of settlement conferences pursuant to CPLR 3408; and
  • Scheduling foreclosure sales.

Banks will be moving swiftly to get the cases back on the calendar.

Since many foreclosure matters have been stayed or stagnant since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks will be moving swiftly to get the cases back on the calendar.

Experienced foreclosure defense attorneys can ensure the rights of homeowners in mortgage default are protected.

If you receive any notices in the mail from the courts or from the banks, it is not too late to know your options. Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC help borrowers facing financial difficulties save their homes and protect them from lender abuses.  We understand the complex problems and issues faced by homeowners in mortgage default.

There are options available at every stage of a foreclosure action and only an experienced attorney in foreclosure defense can ensure that all of your rights are protected.

Clair Gjersten & Weathers PLLC has over 30 years of experience in foreclosure defense.  For additional questions regarding the foreclosure defense process, we invite you to contact Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC by calling 914-472-6202. We look forward to hearing from you.

consumer debt defense credit card

A Win For Consumer Debt Defense – The New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act

January 6, 2022

New York passes legislation reducing interest rates on judgments involving consumer debt to two percent.

In response to the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, New York Governor Hochul signed into law Senate Bill S5724A also known as the New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act. The Act amends the provisions of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, also known as the CPLR, to reduce the amount of interest on judgments involving consumer debts against natural persons from 9% to 2%.  The goal of the Act is to reduce hardships on individuals caused by the statutory judgment interest rate that has only intensified during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

What is Consumer Debt?

Consumer Debt is defined in the New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act as “any obligation or alleged obligation of any natural person to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” Examples of these types of obligations would be: 

  • Credit Card Debt
  • Mortgages
  • Medical Debt
  • Auto Loans
  • Student Loans
  • Utility Bills and 
  • Cell Phone Bills. 

What is Statutory Judgment Interest?

Interest is allowed on almost all judgments entered in New York State Courts from the date of judgment until it is paid in full and satisfied. As such, when a consumer debt creditor wins a lawsuit against a debtor, the New York State Legislature authorized the creditor to collect additional interest on the judgment itself to compensate creditors for the cost of any delay in repayment by the debtor.   

Does the New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act only apply to existing judgments?

Even though the date that this New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act becomes effective is April 30, 2022, the Act applies retroactively to consumer debt judgments entered before April 30, 2022, as long as the judgments themselves are not yet fully paid and satisfied. 

What benefits does the New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act give to consumers?

The New York Fair Consumer Judgment Interest Act will reduce mounting debt for countless individuals as they continue to try to pull themselves out of the economic turmoil that was caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.   Having a reduction in statutory judgment interest will allow individuals to pay off their outstanding debt quicker and move on to the next chapter of their lives.   

The importance of hiring an Experienced Consumer Debt Defense Attorney:

Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC are experienced consumer debt defense attorneys. We negotiate with debt collection law firms and remove holds on your bank accounts or garnishments on your wages.  For additional questions regarding the consumer debt defense process, we invite you to contact Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC by calling 914-472-6202. We look forward to hearing from you.

westchester womens bar association

Wendy Marie Weathers Featured In Westchester Women’s Bar Association

January 4, 2022

Wendy Marie Weathers was featured in the December 2021 / January 2022 issue of the WWBA news.

Wendy has been an active member of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association since 2010.

In the featured interview, Wendy discusses her activities and positions held within the WWBA, her legal career, how the pandemic has made the association’s role even more important, advice she has for up-and-coming lawyers, and much more.

Click here to read the full interview.

Click here to read the December 2021 / January 2022 issue of the WWBA news.

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