Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law an amendment to CPLR Rule 3408, which, at new subsection (m) thereof, effectively eliminates defaults in foreclosure actions as currently understood. Interestingly, the amendment is made to CPLR Rule 3408, which is the CPLR Rule titled “Mandatory settlement conference in residential foreclosure actions,” and not to CPLR Rule 320, which is the CPLR Rule titled “ Defendant’s appearance,” or to CPLR Rule 5015, which is the CPLR Rule titled “Relief from judgment or order,” or to CPLR §3012(d), which is the CPLR subsection titled “Extension of time to appear or plead.” This choice of placement raises questions about how the amendment will be effective in practice. Further questions are raised because the amendment includes superfluous language in expressly stating that the “default shall be deemed vacated” while also referencing the “reasonable excuse” language from both CPLR Rule 5015 and CPLR §3012(d). Still further, the new subsection does not eliminate the need for a defendant to formally answer, but only extends the time to answer, which presumptively will remain a problem for a foreclosure defendant to accomplish at a later date. These question marks need to be ironed out by practitioners and the courts after new subsection (m)’s effective date of December 20, 2016.
Read the full article published in The Suffolk Lawyer by Andrew Lieb, Esq. and Jay Sheryll, Esq. here.