First Call Pilot in Bangor and Rockland Courts
EFFECTIVE JULY 12, 2012
BANGOR AND ROCKLAND COURTS SIMPLIFY THE PROCESS AND SHORTEN THE TIMELINE
The "First Call" Pilot Project is designed by the Foreclosure Diversion Program (FDP) to simplify the mediation process, making it easier and quicker for homeowners and lenders to meet and discuss options to foreclosure. This Pilot project eliminates the six-week waiting period between the informational session and the first mediation. It changes both the timing and the expectations for the first mediation session, resulting in shorter, earlier mediations. All cases at the informational session will proceed to mediation that same morning. Homeowners will make one trip to court to attend both an informational session and first mediation. Lenders will have first mediations grouped in one morning and will not be expected to have performed a prior review of a borrower's file. Homeowner assistance programs will have an opportunity to provide services to many individuals in need.
Once a homeowner initially requests mediation through the FDP, the court clerk schedules the case for an informational session and first mediation session to be held the same day. Notice will be sent to all parties. On the scheduled day, homeowners, as a group, attend an early morning FDP informational session, where both a judge and a housing counselor explain the court process, what to expect at mediation, and how to find help at no charge. Immediately following, homeowners attend their first mediation sessions, case by case, in individual mediation rooms. Lenders and their attorneys are required to attend only the mediation sessions.
After the informational sessions, mediators will call cases in turn from lists posted outside the mediation rooms. Multiple mediators will be available, with the intent that all the mediation sessions will be held by lunchtime. Lender's counsel will attend with the Plaintiff's Foreclosure Mediation Information form, and lender will attend in person or on the phone. Mediators will allow parties to enter the mediation room when all participants are available. At mediation, homeowners will discuss their situation and clarify what they hope to accomplish. Lenders will discuss the status of the loan, any documents submitted, and whether any options to foreclosure might work. The mediator will help parties agree on specific goals and plans going forward, then write a clear report of next steps and timelines to be signed by all. This first mediation session is expected to take 30 to 40 minutes. If further mediation is needed, the mediator will schedule it. If not, the mediator's report will be final, and the clerk will return the case to its original court for dismissal or further scheduling.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL LAURA PEARLMAN, MANAGER, FORECLOSURE DIVERSION PROGRAM 207-822-0706 OR EMAIL FDMP@courts.maine.gov.