AARP Opposes HUD’s Motion to Dismiss HECM Lawsuit

Two months after filing a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, AARP is moving forward with legal proceedings, according to AARP legal counsel.

Early in April, HUD filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit after it rescinded guidance from 2008 regarding its recourse interpretation. There is remaining uncertainty about the policy, and how it will impact reverse mortgage borrowers, their heirs and spouses.

In the latest preliminary actions in the suit, which targets HUD guidance concerning HECM borrowers who are currently facing foreclosure on their homes, AARP filed an opposition on Friday to HUD’s recent motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The most recent proceedings are to be expected, say lawyers familiar with the case, although AARP legal counsel indicated that the process is moving a bit quicker than most.

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“We’re pleased with the schedule we have,” AARP co-counsel Craig Briskin, of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, told RMD. “We also realize that the matter is very urgent. This is considered a pretty expedited schedule in federal court.”

A reply brief will be due on May 12, at which point the court will schedule a hearing.

“We are hopeful that the Court will issue a favorable decision for us that will move the case toward a resolution of the plaintiffs’ claim that the HECM statute protects spouses from losing their homes after the death of their spouses,” said Jean Constantine-Davis, AARP counsel and a senior attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation in an emailed statement to RMD.

With regard to the timing of the lawsuit and its process, the suit may take a long time to resolve, said James Milano, of Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider PC, who serves as National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association legal counsel. “This is procedural, but there is some substance in these arguments. We’re still in the very early stages here, and could last a long time.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • Neither HUD nor AARP can afford to back away from their relative positions at this point. Either Congress needs to step up to the table and fund the consequences of 12 USC 1715z-20(j) or stricken it from the US Code recognizing the validity of all endorsements on HECMs which do not reflect this provision.

    Atare is correct. The reason why this provision is alive and well in the US Code is because the legal staff at HUD somehow believed it could administratively override a clear Congressional mandate with no consequence.

    HUD had decades to address this issue in all kinds of legislation including budgets, continuing resolutions, HERA, as well as many other pieces of legislation. Because of this and several Mortgagee Letters, I cannot believe I am even suggesting this but the legal opinions of HUD should administratively come under the formal review of the legal staff at the Department of Justice.

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