April 5, 2016
by Mary Spitz
Anselmo Lindberg Oliver LLC – USFN Member (Illinois)
The First Judicial Circuit of Illinois (which includes the counties of Alexander, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, and Williamson) recently approved and implemented a Mandatory Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, effective April 1, 2016. The program, administered by the Dispute Resolution Institute, logistically bears a large resemblance to the mediation program in Champaign County, Illinois. Specifically, it is an opt-out program with an “Initial Intake Conference” that the lender and/or the lender’s counsel is not allowed to attend.
The program is limited to borrower-occupied residential property only; further, borrowers who are currently seeking relief in bankruptcy may not proceed with mandatory mediation. The program administrator will determine eligibility for mediation on a case-by-case basis at the initial intake conference, and will then set a pre-mediation conference date, which requires the appearance of lender and lender’s counsel (in person or by telephone).
If an agreement cannot be reached through participation in pre-mediation conferences, the program administrator may set a formal mediation. If the matter goes to a formal mediation, the lender’s counsel must appear in person, and the lender must be available in person or by telephone. Upon either reaching an agreement or determining that mediation is no longer helpful, the program administrator or the mediator will terminate mediation and the matter will return to the trial court for either dismissal of the action or further foreclosure proceedings.
When compared with the other mediation programs in Illinois, there is nothing of particular note or concern regarding this mediation program recently implemented in the First Judicial Circuit. It is much of the same that is seen in other Illinois counties.
Additionally, the counties within the First Judicial Circuit are located in the very southern-most tip of Illinois where the populations are very small. As a result, the volume of cases in these counties is also very small. Therefore, lenders should not anticipate a large number of mediations occurring in these counties moving forward.
© Copyright 2016 USFN. All rights reserved.