Update on Home Foreclosure Mediation
This is another in a series of updates on the development of Foreclosure Mediation throughout the United States by Mediate.com's Mediation News Editor Keith Seat.
- Mediation programs addressing home foreclosures are well under way in Florida, but the groups administering the programs often have trouble getting through to distrustful homeowners who may not recognize the court-sponsored program and receive many letters and calls from other groups seeking to sell services. While 5,700 mediations have been completed in the Miami-Dade program since it began in May 2009, fewer than half of eligible homeowners participate in mediation. Mediation is free to homeowners in Florida, with lenders paying the entire $750 mediation fee. The mediation program in Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit began on July 1 and has received about 200 referrals. Miami Today News (September 9, 2010); Ocala.com (September 24, 2010)
- Connecticut reported statistics for its Foreclosure Mediation Program showing that in the last fiscal year about 21,000 cases were eligible for mediation, but homeowners chose to proceed with mediation in just under 10,000 or 47% of them. Program Statistics; KarlBayer.com (September 22, 2010)
- Cuyahoga County, Ohio launched a free home foreclosure mediation program two years ago and reports a 72% success rate. The program has assisted about 3,800 homeowners with settlements. A new mediation program in Holmes County, Ohio is also showing good results after half a year, not only with home foreclosures, but civil and domestic cases as well. The Homes County program relies on private mediators, with the parties covering the mediators’ fees. WKYC.com (October 22, 2010); The-Daily-Record.com (September 30, 2010)
- Foreclosure mediation is off to a slow start in Maryland under the state statute which took effect July 1. In the first three months only 130 borrowers took advantage of the program, while the state expects more than 4,000 mediations in the first year. Requests began to pick up in September, just as national banks began temporarily halting foreclosures due to documentation problems. Washington Examiner (October 12, 2010)
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is requesting county courts in the state to consider adopting mediation programs to help deal with the large number of home foreclosure cases in the courts. Philadelphia and eight other counties in the state already have foreclosure mediation programs in place. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts expects the foreclosure problem in the state to get worse before it improves. The Philadelphia Inquirer (September 13, 2010)
- Utah will consider legislation this year that would give homeowners facing foreclosure the right to request mediation with their financial institutions in order to seek a loan modification or other relief. Utah is among the top ten states with the highest foreclosure rates in the country. ABC4.com (September 28, 2010); KSL.com (October 11, 2010)
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.
Additional articles by Keith Seat