Connecticut’s Foreclosure Dockets: Dignity On Trial
“Banks always win. They have the money. They write the notes and the laws that govern the notes.” -A law school professor.
In Connecticut’s foreclosure courts the issue is almost never whether or not the bank will be able to foreclose on the property. The issues usually resolved in court are when and how the foreclosure will take place.
Sitting in court as foreclosure cases are called is a moving experience.
Lots of times the homeowner doesn’t appear: perhaps they are afraid, perhaps in denial, or given up all hope.
Sometimes people about to lose their homes appear in court.
They often appear to be wearing a suit that has been taking up space in the back of their closet.
They stand when their case is called and nervously approach the counsel table.
They always have papers of some sort. Usually the papers are in a folder that once may have held a tax return.
They are usually nervous as evidenced by the shaking of the folder in their hands.
Some have consulted with an attorney but rarely do they have an attorney. They either couldn’t afford counsel or the the lawyer they consulted told them that nothing could be done.
They usually begin with an apology. Something to the effect of “I’m sorry, I don’t have a lawyer.”
They often write letters instead of motions to the court. They often know that they are going to lose.
The banks lawyers having been through this a thousand times before stands stoically. Often looking through a file at the next case that is going to be called.
Lawyers in the court room often listen with either great interest to what the homeowner is saying. The homeowner’s arguments are nothing short of touching.
The homeowner often tells the judge how they lost their house because a family member became ill or because they lost a job.
All of the judges that I have seen have been very respectful and sympathetic to the homeowner. They listen to what they have to say and respectfully explain the law. The judge usually has no choice but to order the foreclosure.
What I see in homeowners who represent themselves in foreclosure cases are proud hardworking people. For them, they are losing not only their homes but a sense of who they are.
I often wonder why they fight. As a lawyer, I often think that a fight you have zero chance of winning is a fight that’s not worth fighting.
That view of the world is too narrow.
Those homeowners are brave advocates fighting for their dignity.