Lawsuit to block foreclosures in Minn. dismissed

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2009 2:19 PM

A federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by a group of homeowners who sought to block foreclosures in Minnesota, but their attorney said the case led to significant progress anyway.

The lawsuit claimed the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, which helps struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages, failed to give people proper notice when they were rejected or the right to appeal.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery dismissed the case Monday, saying Congress did not make loan modifications an entitlement or establish due process requirements.

Mark Ireland, an attorney for the homeowners, said Tuesday that they're disappointed and will decide later whether to appeal.

But Ireland said the Treasury Department has adopted regulations since the homeowners filed the lawsuit in July that address some of the concerns they raised. He said Treasury now requires that loan servicing companies collect data on denials, provide written notices of denials within 10 days, halt foreclosures when homeowners challenge denials and provide homeowners with some of the data that went into servicers' decisions.

Still, he said, the process isn't as transparent as it should be.