Implementing legislation that went into effect July 1, the Nevada Supreme Court has appointed 97 mediators in the state’s new home foreclosure mediation program, and expects to increase the number to about 400 mediators over the next year. The current group included 37 Supreme Court settlement judges, along with other retired judges, attorneys and existing mediators. Mediation sessions are expected to last between one and six hours, with mediators paid a flat rate of $400 split between the parties. The first mediations are scheduled for mid-September. Las Vegas Sun (August 28, 2009); News 3 (July 24, 2009)
Nevada’s new foreclosure mediation program began modestly, with only ten requests for mediation in the first weeks, although by mid-August 450 requests had been filed. Nevada officials still expect 1,000 or more requests per month once the program is under way. Nevada has the highest rate of home foreclosures in the country, followed by California and Arizona. Nevada set a record for foreclosures in July, with a 94% increase over July 2008. A former casino executive has been hired as Nevada’s program administrator. Review-Journal (Aug 10, 2009); Las Vegas Sun (August 14, 2009); 13 Action News (July 26, 2009); Las Vegas Sun (August 21, 2009)
The governor of Connecticut signed legislation making mandatory the state’s home foreclosure mediation program for all foreclosures after July 1. The state’s mediation program has helped over 2,000 borrowers stay in their homes – a 60% success rate – since it began in July 2008 as a voluntary program. In Connecticut, 10.8 percent of all residential loans are late or in foreclosure, compared to 13.1 percent nationally. The Connecticut Bankers Association had initial concerns about the mediation program, but now considers it a success. Hartford Courant (August 21, 2009); Los Angeles Times (August 21, 2009)
A Florida task force on residential foreclosures issued a report proposing mandatory mediation unless the borrower and lender agree to opt out. Mediation would be free to borrowers. Vacant and abandoned properties would be exempt from the mediation program, while properties occupied by tenants or other non-borrowers which could involve several parties in mediation would be considered on a case by case basis. The Move Channel (August 25, 2009)
New York state is considering expanding its foreclosure mediation program for subprime borrowers to include all homeowners, but faces challenges due to its legislature’s leadership crisis. New York Times (July 10, 2009)
A backlog of 46,000 foreclosure cases in Cook County, Illinois has caused the presiding judge to order a two-month suspension on initial court appearances by lenders in default cases. While Cook County judges grant individual mediation requests from the parties, an advisory committee is being formed to determine how to increase court-backed mediation.
Progress Illinois (July 1, 2009)
On the first anniversary of Philadelphia’s foreclosure mediation program, court officials say that the program has helped 1,400 people keep their homes and another 700 to postpone sheriff’s sales. Mercury (July 1, 2009)
The mayor of Providence, Rhode Island signed a city ordinance requiring lenders to mediate with borrowers prior to foreclosure. Boston Herald (August 6, 2009)
Keith L. Seat is a full-time mediator and arbitrator who can effectively assist parties in resolving a wide range of telecommunications, antitrust and other commercial disputes. With over twenty years of legal experience as a mediator, arbitrator, litigator, advocate before executive branch agencies, and key staffer in the legislative and judicial branches, Mr. Seat brings a wealth of experience to his work as a mediator and arbitrator to help parties reach successful resolutions of complex disputes.
Mr. Seat began his legal career in a federal clerkship with U.S. District Judge William H. Becker, and then litigated antitrust and commercial disputes for many years at a major Washington law firm, Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White, where he first worked on telecom and technology issues. In 1993, Mr. Seat was named General Counsel of the Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he served for four years, playing a significant role in the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Returning to the private sector in 1997, Mr. Seat rounded out his experience with a senior in-house counsel position at MCI, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications firms. At MCI, he gained a first-hand appreciation for the important perspective brought to issues and disputes by in-house decision-makers. Mr. Seat also deepened his knowledge of telecom issues and gained experience addressing competition-related issues in the corporate setting, as well as helping resolve disputes among large organizations.