Court of Special Appeals Further Limits Challenges to a Foreclosure Auction
On Tuesday the Court of Special Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Fisher v. Ward. This case is the latest in a long line of cases limiting the ability of owners facing foreclosure to challenge foreclosure auctions. In this case, the trustees handling the auction decided to attend the auction by phone as opposed to in person. The law requires a trustee to attend the sale. The borrowers challenged the sale on the basis that the trustees were required to actually attend the sale in person, in order to properly oversee the auction. Notably, the borrowers did not challenge that they were actually prejudiced by the lack of attendance by the trustees. In fact, the property was sold for more than it was worth. The court determined that in fact it was generally legal for a trustee to handle a foreclosure auction by phone, unless it actually hindered the sale. For instance, if a borrower or a bidder needed to show the trustee something and the trustee was unable to see it, it could be prejudicial and be unacceptable to the court.
It has always been our practice here at Huesman, Jones and Miles to attend all of the foreclosure sales in person. We would not suggest changing this practice. However, in an emergency, it would not be problematic to have us attend a foreclosure sale by phone.