Attorney's Advocacy helps Stall Foreclosure
Staff Attorney Jennifer Meschino from Maryland Legal Aid's Lower Eastern Shore office recently assisted two clients in a foreclosure case with an interesting backstory.
Mr. and Mrs. C. are both disabled and live on Smith Island in the town of Tylerton--a secluded area twelve miles by boat to the nearest town on the mainland. For the past several years, Smith Island has been threatened by rising water and a decreasing population. Most of the residents work as watermen or provide services to tourists. There is no government or police force on the island.
For seven years, Mr. and Mrs. C. had been having difficulty paying their mortgage. When they received a notice from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department of Rural Development that their loan was being accelerated and foreclosure proceedings would begin, they turned to Maryland Legal Aid for help.
Jennifer had been attempting to communicate with the USDA to see if a more informal arrangement could be considered for Mr. and Mrs. C., when the C.'s received a denial of their request for a payment moratorium. Mr. and Mrs. C. requested a hearing, and a telephone hearing was scheduled before the local administrative judge in Aberdeen, MD. Jennifer submitted the evidentiary documents that she received from Mr. and Mrs. C., along
with the attached letter that explained their living situation.
Within a week of sending the letter to the administrative judge and to the USDA Central Servicing in St. Louis, MO, the foreclosure action was dismissed by the judge. The USDA has withdrawn the foreclosure on Mr. and Mrs. C.s' home, and Jennifer's advocacy, at least for now, has come to a successful end.