AFSA Files Amicus Brief in Massachusetts Mortgage Case
The American Financial Services Association (AFSA), along with several other trade associations, submitted an amicus brief in Thompson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank on January 22, a case currently being heard in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).
In March 2019, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case. The court determined that when sending foreclosure notices, banks must strictly comply with mortgage language. The homeowners never argued that the notice they received was defective or inaccurate, or prejudiced them in any way. The court however, concerned with creating binding precedent, determined that “it is enough that some hypothetical mortgagor could have been misled by the inaccurate pre-foreclosure notice” and held that the foreclosure notice did not specify the time requirement for the homeowner to cure as contained in the mortgage was defective.
Following the decision, Chase requested a rehearing on the matter. Chase also requested, as an alternative to reconsidering the case’s merits, that the SJC consider the state law issues in the case. The SJC agreed to answer certain questions and provide its interpretations for the First Circuit.
The joint trade amicus brief states, “Amici curiae and their members are committed to ensuring that Massachusetts consumers receive clear communications about non-judicial mortgage foreclosure proceedings. But deference to plaintiffs’ erroneous interpretation and treatment of the 35A Notice and the Uniform Mortgage would confuse and harm consumers and threaten to cloud title in a vast number of foreclosed-on Massachusetts properties, including those purchased by third-party homebuyers.”
January 28th, 2020 by Dan Bucherer