Nevada Supreme Court drafting foreclosure mediation rules

By Chris Rizo | Jun 5, 2009

James Hardesty

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)-The Nevada Supreme Court has begun drafting rules for mediating foreclosure cases, officials said Friday.

The state's high court's move comes on the heels of a new state law -- outlined in Assembly Bill 149 -- aimed at helping struggling homebuyers keep their homes.

"Nevada is in an economic crisis because of foreclosures, but the worst part is that many Nevada families are losing their homes," Chief Justice James Hardesty said. "I believe that through this new law and our meditations, we are going to save some homes and help ease the burden for some lenders."

Some homes inevitably will be lost to foreclosure, Hardesty said.

"Mediations are not a formal court process," he added. "In a mediation, the homeowner and the lender sit down with a trained mediator to try to reach a mutually agreeable resolution."

The new law only affects owner-occupied housing and will apply only to foreclosures filed after July 1, 2009. The law gives borrowers the right to seek mediation of a mortgage loan once a foreclosure has been filed.

"We knew that the bill likely would pass and we knew that the time frame would be short for creating a system to handle what may be an overwhelming number of cases," Hardesty said. "The Supreme Court proactively took steps to prepare for what is now a reality."

A statement from the court said a working group headed by Hardesty has been meeting for more than eight weeks to make recommendations to the Supreme Court about the rules and various operational needs for the new mediation program.

Already, more than 350 attorneys already have offered to be mediators, but they will require training.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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