New York's Chief Judge Outlines New Foreclosure Process, Announces Commercial Division Task Force
On February 14, the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, Jonathan Lippman, announced a new state foreclosure process that will involve special court parts designed to facilitate settlement conferences. Conferences will be calendared based on the identity of the lender, and each week of the month will be dedicated to a different lender’s cases. Lenders will be required to assign a representative with full authority to enter into mortgage modifications for the entire week of cases, which should reduce delays in the foreclosure process. The new program, which was announced in Chief Judge Lippman’s annual State of the Judiciary address, is a partnership between legal service organizations and several major banks. It will start in New York City, but statewide application is planned. The Chief Judge also announced the formation of a new task force to consider possible reforms to the Commercial Division in order to “create an even more hospitable environment for business.” The task force will consider (i) the process by which judges are selected for that division, (ii) options for better controlling dockets, and (iii) policies to manage the flow of cases and leverage non-judicial personnel and alternative dispute resolution.