Preserve your mental health – fight your foreclosure

21 May Preserve your mental health – fight your foreclosure

On my way to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Convention in California last week, I read a disturbing article in the USA Today, which discussed people who have committed suicide as a result of their pending foreclosure.

According to the story, last October 23rd, Raymond and Deanna Donacas closed all their home’s doors except the one to the garage and left their 1981 Cadillac Eldorado running. Toxic fumes filled the home. When sheriff’s deputies arrived at about 1 p.m., they found the body of Raymond, 71, on the second floor along with three dead dogs. The body of Deanna, 69, was in an upstairs bedroom, close to another dead retriever.

“It is believed that the Donacas committed suicide after attempts to save their home following a foreclosure notice left them believing they had few options,” the Crook County Sheriff’s Office said in a report.

It was one of the most disturbing news stories that I had ever read. Suicides are all too common in modern society, but they are usually the result of mental illness or impending doom. Mr. and Mrs. Donecas methodically ended their lives because they were humiliated and unsure of what to do next. They probably saw their solution not as suicide but as euthanasia.

The saddest part of the story is that Mr. and Ms. Donecas could have fought their foreclosure. Shortly before the Donecas’s double suicide, I had filed my very first Motion to Dismiss a pending foreclosure against Deutsche Bank.

I had been toying with the idea of fighting foreclosures for a while, but I finally jumped into the fray when a current client came to me with the foreclosure complaint. She had just been divorced, and her ex-husband was the only person on the mortgage note. Even though she was the only person living in the home, the mortgage servicer refused to speak to her about the past due balance created by her ex.

About a month before, I had attended the much publicized Max Gardner Bankruptcy Boot Camp, which is 4 day intensive litigation seminar at Max’s North Carolina ranch. For these four days, we sliced the underbelly of the mortgage industry and dissected its parts. Like any dissection, the process was smelly, distasteful and eye-opening.

I returned to Jacksonville eager to join the battle against an abusive mortgage industry, and I have not looked back since. My recent trip to the NACBA Convention in Los Angeles filled my head with new and exciting ways to beat foreclosures. Yes, that’s right. Consumer lawyers are not just fighting the mortgage industry, we are winning.

If you are facing a pending foreclosure, time is critical. Do not just sit there and accept the inevitable conclusion because you are wrong. You can create leverage for yourself. You can force the mortgage company to deal with you. You can fight your foreclosure, and you can win!

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Chip Parker is the managing partner of Parker & DuFresne, P.A., where he represents Northeast Florida businesses and consumers facing bankruptcy, and homeowners facing foreclosure. His firm files more homeowners in the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program than any other law firm in Northeast Florida. Parker is the recipient of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid's prestigious Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service. Mr. Parker is an active member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.
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