Massachusetts bankruptcy attorneys trying to help clients mired in the mortgage mess of the last few years are increasingly turning their attention to the notion of good service.
By this I don’t mean fawning over clients or judges, but simply sending (“serving” in legal lingo) important court papers to the right recipients.
As a prime example of how frustrating this formerly simple task can be, take a look at what happened in the Weiss v. GB Mortgage case, decided by bankruptcy judge Melvin Hoffman on April 4, 2013.
There, the bankruptcy trustee was actually trying to sue the mortgage holders on the debtor’s house. But the lawsuit papers kept coming back — the “authorized agent” was out of business, or was no longer authorized to accept legal papers, the companies themselves had been through a welter of name changes, closures, and combinations and so on.
It was only when the trustee succeeded in getting default judgments issued that the company left holding the bag — GMAC Mortgage — complained. The end result was that one of the default judgments was removed, but the other one stuck.
My prediction is that from here on in, finding the right company to sue in bankruptcy court is going to be more and more of a shell game nightmare — but with the sizable stakes involved in many mortgages, one that will have played skillfully and with determination.
By Doug Beaton