El v. Nationstar Mortg. LLC, Court of Appeals Case No. 18A-MF-338

Docket NºCourt of Appeals Case No. 18A-MF-338
Citation108 N.E.3d 919
Case DateAugust 08, 2018
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

108 N.E.3d 919

Lisa M. EL, Appellant-Defendant,

Court of Appeals Case No. 18A-MF-338

Court of Appeals of Indiana.

FILED August 8, 2018

Attorney for Appellant: Preeti (Nita) Gupta, Indianapolis, Indiana

Attorney for Appellee: Kevin B. Connor, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Chicago, Illinois

Kirsch, Judge.

1] In this residential mortgage foreclosure action, Nationstar Mortgage LLC ("Nationstar") sought to foreclose a mortgage that it held on real property mortgaged by property owner Lisa M. El ("El"). After El failed to appear for a settlement conference that she had requested, Nationstar sought and obtained summary judgment against El, and the trial court entered an in rem foreclosure judgment in favor of Nationstar. El thereafter filed a motion requesting another settlement conference, which the trial court denied. El now appeals and raises the following restated issue: whether the trial court abused its discretion when it denied El's motion asking for a second settlement conference.

[2] We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[3] On June 8, 2017, Nationstar filed an In Rem Complaint on Promissory Note and to Foreclose Mortgage, seeking to foreclose a mortgage secured by real property in Camby, Indiana and naming El as a defendant. Appellee's App. Vol. II at 4. El was served with the complaint and summons, and the summons, among other things, stated:

You may be entitled to a settlement conference that will allow you to speak with your mortgage company and discuss alternatives to foreclosure. If you want a settlement conference, you must request it with the court within 30 days after you received this summons and Complaint.

Id. at 2. El also received with the complaint and summons a document notifying her that she "may be entitled to a court-ordered settlement conference with her lender to negotiate an agreement that could allow her to avoid foreclosure."Id. at 53. It instructed her that she needed to notify the trial court of her desire for a settlement conference, and it provided El with options as to how to do so. The document also told her:

You have the right to be represented by an attorney or assisted by a mortgage foreclosure counselor, either in person or by telephone, at the settlement conference. If you need a mortgage foreclosure counselor or an attorney contact the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network at 1-877-Get-Hope (1-877-438-4673), or www.877GetHope.org at least two (2) weeks prior to your settlement conference. The IFPN is a free, confidential service meant to assist homeowners like you.


[4] On July 14, 2017, El appeared, pro se, and filed a handwritten answer and a handwritten request for settlement conference.

[108 N.E.3d 921

Id. at 56-58. On July 21, the trial court granted her request, issuing a Notice and Order for Settlement Conference, which stated that the matter was set for a settlement conference on for September 14, 2017. Id. at 60-63. The trial court's notice for the settlement conference ("Notice") ordered El and Nationstar to appear in person and, if represented, with counsel. It directed Nationstar to bring specified payment records for the mortgage, and with regard to documentation, it directed El as follows:

(2) The Defendant must bring to the Settlement Conference and provide a copy to the Plaintiffs attorney no later than 30 days in advance of the Settlement Conference, the following documents needed to engage in good faith negotiations with the creditor:

a. Documentation of Defendant's present and projected future income, expenses, assets and liabilities, including pay stubs, bank statements, utility bills, tax returns.

b. The Defendant is encouraged to contact a mortgage foreclosure counselor, immediately. A mortgage foreclosure counselor and/or an attorney may be able to assist with this process and the presentation of the proper documentation at the Settlement Conference. (A list of counselors is attached.)

Id. at 60-61.


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