Indiana Supreme Court
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste. 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Lilia G. Judson, Esq.
David J. Remondini, Esq.
Chief Deputy Executive Director
The Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project (MFTCAP) is a joint effort between the Indiana Lieutenant Governor, the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) and the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration (STAD) to assist trial courts in scheduling and conducting mortgage foreclosure settlement conferences. The MFTCAP utilizes trained facilitators and logistical coordinators to bring borrowers and lenders together to discuss all available options to foreclosure.
On this website, you will find general information about the Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project, as well as step-by-step guidance and resources for courts wishing to structure their own settlement conference programs.
This program is funded through a $50.00 filing fee on all mortgage foreclosure cases filed between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012.
Any attorneys, judges, or mediators who seek further guidance, or who wish to assist with the MFTCAP, should contact Elizabeth Daulton, Project Manager of the Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Evaluate Your County/District Foreclosure Rate and Local Resources
Step 2: Review Current Pilot Project Models/Procedures
Step 3: Staffing Your Settlement Conference Program
Step 4: Download/Customize Necessary Settlement Conference Forms
Step 5: Implementation!
There are currently several different settlement conference models being used in the various pilot counties. The differences in these models are largely based on the differences in the number of foreclosure filings and local foreclosure-prevention resources.
There are benefits and drawbacks on both ends of the spectrum. Smaller counties generally have fewer foreclosure filings, which makes settlement conferences easier to organize and schedule. However, these smaller counties will also generally have fewer pro bono attorneys, housing counselors, and other resources that can assist in the settlement conference process. Meanwhile, larger counties—while possessing more of the aforementioned resources—will have greater numbers of foreclosure filings than smaller counties, making outreach to borrowers much more time-consuming.
Before beginning a settlement conference program, take stock of your local needs and resources. For example, how does the foreclosure filing rate compare with other case filings? Do you have any senior judges who would be interested in mediating settlement conferences? Could active judges in your court facilitate these conferences?
If you are planning to hold settlement conferences at your courthouse, how many conferences can your court accommodate per day or per week? Is there sufficient parking? Is there telephone, internet, and fax access? If you cannot hold settlement conferences at your courthouse, is there another location that would be appropriate?
It is also a good idea to determine what courts your project will cover. Will all courts handling mortgage foreclosure cases take part? If not, would it be easier to transfer all mortgage foreclosure filings to one judge? (If so, see St. Joseph County Temporary Order, below). While not all judges or courts in a particular county will need to take part in order for a project to be successful, be aware that some lenders may try to file or refile foreclosure actions in non-settlement-conference courts in order to expedite the cases.
After your court has taken stock of its local needs and resources, it is time to decide which settlement conference model would be the best fit. Below are several documents detailing the different Pilot Project models and procedures that may assist with this decision.
|Mortgage Foreclosure Project Outline: Policies, Procedures, and Best Practices|
This document gives a broad overview of the Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project, as well as more detailed pilot county procedures.
|Settlement Conference Flowchart (Allen Superior Court)|
This flowchart is a visual depiction of the settlement conference process used by Allen County Superior Court, from the filing of a mortgage foreclosure action to the settlement or eventual foreclosure.
|Settlement Conference Flowchart (Default)|
This flowchart is a visual depiction of the “default” settlement conference model. This is the model currently used in most pilot counties.
Facilitators are responsible for reaching out to foreclosed borrowers shortly after a foreclosure case has been filed, discerning whether the borrower is eligible for and would like to request a settlement conference, overseeing the settlement conference and exchange of documents, and reporting conference results to the trial court. Facilitators should at least be licensed attorneys with some foreclosure training or experience, and registered mediators are preferred. Some courts choose to combine the Logistical Coordinator and Facilitator positions – allowing the facilitators to handle both the logistical arrangements and scheduling of the conferences, as well as conducting the conferences. Facilitators acting in this dual role will receive slightly increased compensation.
A good place to begin searching for facilitators s the registry of 90 mediators who took part in 2009’s Back Home in Indiana training. Updated trainings are available and will be periodically posted on the "Upcoming Events" calendar on the main page.
In addition, your District’s Pro Bono Plan Administrator can be an invaluable resource in helping set up and staff a foreclosure settlement conference program. These Plan Administrators have access to all attorneys who have expressed their interest in performing pro bono work, as well as information on the specific attorneys who have received foreclosure prevention training. Forming a partnership with your District’s Plan Administrator can help expedite the staffing process.
While settlement conference facilitation duties are likely too much to ask of any one person to perform on a daily basis, spreading these duties among several facilitators and scheduling multiple settlement conferences in one day can help alleviate this burden.
Senior judges are also a valuable, often under-utilized resource for facilitating settlement conferences. There are currently 92 former judges certified as senior judges in Indiana. Because of their wealth of experience, senior judges who have taken part in the "Back Home in Indiana" program are ideal candidates for facilitating settlement conferences. A senior judge who is not being compensated under the Senior Judge statute would be permitted to serve as facilitator and be paid for this service by STAD (at a rate of $75 per every conference conducted). However, this senior judge would not receive “credit” toward the required 30 days or be paid under the Senior Judge statute. If a senior judge serves as a settlement conference facilitator as part of his or her senior judge service to a court, such service would count against the total number of days awarded to the trial court. Hendricks and Steuben are two counties choosing to utilize a senior judge to facilitate settlement conferences under this program.
After you have determined which conference model you’d like to implement, and begun seeking out staff for this project, download and customize the forms you’ll need:
|Sample Notice from the Court|
This Notice is sent out to all individual borrowers in mortgage foreclosure actions (using the addressed, stamped envelope provided pursuant to the above Order). It informs the borrower of his or her right to a settlement conference and includes a tear-off “Request for Settlement Conference” to be remitted to the Court.
|Order for Telephone Conference|
This Order is issued after the borrower remits the “Request for Settlement Conference” and indicates that s/he would like to request a settlement conference. It requires the lender to initiate a telephone call to the borrower and Logistical Coordinator on a certain date/time to discuss and schedule the settlement conference.
|Order for Settlement Conference (with a list of required documents)|
This Order sets forth the events of the telephone conference, the time/date of the settlement conference (if scheduled), and the documents needed from each party (if a settlement conference was scheduled).
|Order After Settlement Conference|
This Order sets forth the events of the settlement conference, whether a settlement was reached, and whether any follow-up work is required. If settlement was reached, this Order requires the lender to stay or dismiss the foreclosure proceeding within seven (7) days.
|Frequently Asked Questions for Settlement Conferences|
|“Back Home In Indiana” – Mortgage Foreclosure Training Session Materials |
These materials can be used to train additional attorneys/judges/mediators in your county, or for those who have previously received training to “brush up” on their foreclosure prevention skills.
|Facilitator & Logistical Coordinator Invoice/Data Collection Form|
This form is to be submitted to the Division of State Court Administration for settlement conference billing and data collection purposes. For questions about this form, please contact Elizabeth Daulton at email@example.com or (317) 234-7155.
Once your court has decided on a specific settlement conference model, has downloaded and created the proper forms, has contacted and coordinated with local resources, and has lined up local logistical coordinators and/or facilitators, settlement conference scheduling can begin!
Any questions, comments, or requests for further information or assistance may be directed to Elizabeth Daulton, Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.