First Call Pilot Project
April, 2014: Springvale and Lewiston Courts
December, 2013: Aroostook County Courts
August, 2013: West Bath District Court (Sagadahoc and Lincoln Counties)
April, 2013: Portland Courts
January, 2013: Ellsworth Courts
July, 2012: Bangor and Rockland Courts
SIMPLIFY THE PROCESS AND SHORTEN THE TIMELINE
The "First Call" Pilot Project of the Foreclosure Diversion Program (FDP) simplifies the mediation process, making it easier and quicker for homeowners and lenders to meet and discuss options to foreclosure. The Pilot changes both the timing and the expectations for the first mediation session. It eliminates the six-week waiting period between the Informational Session and the first mediation. When a homeowner initially requests mediation, the court clerk schedules the case for an Informational Session and first mediation session to be held the same day. On the scheduled day, as a group, homeowners attend an Informational Session, where both a judge and a housing counselor explain the court process, what to expect at mediation, and how to find help with foreclosure at no charge.
In the Pilot, all cases at the Informational Session proceed to mediation that same morning. Homeowners make one trip to court to attend both an Informational Session and their first mediation. Homeowner assistance counselors are available to provide services. Lenders may have cases grouped together in one morning and will not be expected to have performed a review of a borrower's file at that time. Any law firm with more than four cases scheduled is requested to provide additional attorney coverage. Immediately following the Informational Session, homeowners attend their first mediation sessions, case by case, in separate mediation rooms. Lenders and their attorneys are required to attend only the mediation sessions.
Multiple mediators are available, and mediators call the cases from the list, with the goal of completing all mediation by lunchtime. The plaintiff’s financial form (FDP-02A) is due by the first mediation. Homeowners complete and submit a financial information form (FDP-02B) while awaiting mediation. At mediation, homeowners discuss their situations and clarify their goals. Lenders discuss the status of the loans, any documents to be submitted, and whether any options to foreclosure may be available. The mediator facilitates the parties’ agreements on a specific plan going forward, then writes a clear report of next steps and timelines. The first mediation session is expected to take 30 to 45 minutes. Additional mediation may be scheduled.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL LAURA PEARLMAN, MANAGER, FORECLOSURE DIVERSION PROGRAM 207-822-0706 OR EMAIL FDMP@courts.maine.gov.