Can’t Read or Write English? Not An Excuse in a Foreclosure Proceeding

foreclosure defense lawyerJustice Thomas Whelan, sitting in the Supreme Court of Suffolk County, was recently presented with a case involving a litigant who could not read or write in the English language, and also did not understand what was involved in the service of process in starting a foreclosure lawsuit against him. One West Bank brought a foreclosure proceeding against Navaro. They took this action because Navaro did not pay her mortgage obligations. Navaro brought an application to the court seeking to dismiss One West’s lawsuit against her. One West had moved for a default judgment within a year of the case being removed from the foreclosure conference mediation part. One West was able to establish even though they had delayed for approximately a year, they had a reasonable excuse for the delay and their claim in foreclosure was valid.

Ignorance of the Law – No Excuse

Navaro brought a cross motion. She sought to remove the default. She claimed a reason for failing to submit a written answer to the summons and complaint after being served was because she could not read and write in the English language. In addition, she claimed she did not understand her responsibility to submit a written answer to the summons and complaint served upon her in the foreclosure proceeding. The court denied Navaro’s cross motion. Justice Whelan held confusion or ignorance of the law and/or the legal process did not in and of itself constitute a reasonable excuse for failure to answer the summons and complaint or appear in court regarding the case. The court granted One West’s motion to obtain a default judgment and to appoint a receiver to compute the amount owed and subsequently thereafter sell the house.


If you get served with a summons and complaint and you are not sure what you need to do, hire a foreclosure defense lawyer. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse in a foreclosure proceeding.helping homeowners stay in their homes

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