Forest for the Trees

360117_originalThe Recession was not pretty, its effects have been lingering since it was declared officially over.

It led to the spate of foreclosures clogging courts across the U.S. that, according to the latest reports, won’t peak for another two years. Depending on when you think the ‘downturn’ started, that’s at least ten years of misery for a significant percentage of Connecticut homeowners.

These ten years also happen to coincide with the most prolific, almost instantaneous, exchange of information in human history.

So, it’s no surprise that the Internet is alive with conspiracy theories – conspiracies involving banks, mortgage lenders, government entities, brokerage firms, real estate investment companies, hedge funds, foreclosure law firms, and a host more.

Many – many – of the sites proffering these also offer a vast array of solutions, many start out free, then . . . well, you know.

This may seem of little concern to most people, but it’s widespread and it obscures legitimate issues in the foreclosure process.

Case in point, a large foreclosure firm filed against a homeowner in southeastern Connecticut about a year ago. The homeowner skipped a response in state court and went straight to Federal District Court with a complaint that the court kindly referred to a ‘somewhat repetitive, verbose, and dense.’

The homeowner’s complaint was straight off the web and it attacked the forest while foregoing the trees. The district court was not unsympathetic to some piece of the argument, tried several times to direct the homeowner toward something legally solid (the court, in fact, did everything except use highlighter over the relevant passages) failed each time as the plaintiff merely regurgitated their first – and only – argument.

The homeowners missed the golden opportunities offered by the court; the foreclosure firm made a half a dozen procedural errors in their pursuit of the state foreclosure action that the homeowners – guided by the web-based conspiracy crowd – ignored in their attempt to slay the giant.

After a long and tortuous process, the 89a3c0192640c5b0f17b47e53441975dhomeowners lost; the foreclosure firm touted it as a notable, precedent setting win on various industry web sites. (Every side is entitled to their own illusions).

The thing is, maybe there was (and is) a conspiracy (s), certainly a lot of really bad things happened to take down the economy. None of that matters – the foreclosure process is not the place to blow the lid off of it. It’s the place to work to keep your home or stay in it as long as possible while you rearrange your life.

These websites and self-help programs offer a narrative for a confusing, stressful time. They do not offer the solutions you can find in court.