News + updates + recent press
In a unique move, that mimics the rules of Federal Procedure, The Texas Supreme Court has made some of the biggest discovery changes to occur in Texas State trial courts in the past two decades. Attorneys and staff will need to take to learn and fully understand all the changes in order to properly implement new procedures as they apply to all cases filed on or after January 1, 2021.
In accordance with the 86th legislature and Senate Bill 2342 the Texas Supreme Court has approved amendments to Rules 169 and 194 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 169 governing expedited actions has been amended to apply to suits in which all claimants, other than counter-claimants, affirmatively plead that they seek only monetary relief aggregating $250,000 or less excluding interest, statutory, or punitive damages and penalties, and attorney’s fees and costs. This amendment has effectively raised the statutory limitation for expedited actions from $100,000 to $250,000. This will essentially promote the prompt, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of civil actions filed in courts of law in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $250,000. Further, certain actions will remain exempt from Rule 169’s application by statute. See e.g. Tex. Estates Code Sec. 53.107.
The most important changes to be aware of however have been made to the rules of discovery. Per the new amendments, discovery and production will no longer be optional.
Effective as of January 1, 2021 Rule 194 has been amended as follows:
194.1 Duty to Disclose; Production
In a decision that will be deemed as a big win for creditors, litigators, or really anyone who has ever dealt with evasive defendants, the State of Texas has decided to enter into a new age and territory when it comes to dealing with service of process.
The Supreme Court of Texas in accordance with the 86th Legislature and Senate Bill 891 has approved amendments to Rule 106 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 106 has been revised in response to section 17.033 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which calls for rules to provide for substituted service of citation by social media.
CARES ACT: Foreclosure mratoriums legislated by the CARES Act expired as of May 17, 2020. However, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and VA have each issued additional directives extending the moratoriums until June 30, 2020, excluding Vacant and Abandoned Properties. Access our complete Coronavirus Response blog, #PadgettPrepared, for more pandemic-response information.
FNMA has extended the suspension of foreclosure-related activities through June 30, 2020. “During the period of the extension, servicers may not, except with respect to a vacant or abandoned property, initiate any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process, move for a foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or execute a foreclosure sale. This suspension does not apply to mortgage loans secured by properties that have been determined to be vacant or abandoned.”
Freddie Mac has extended the suspension of foreclosure-related activities through June 30, 2020. “During the period of the extension, servicers may not, except with respect to a vacant or abandoned property, initiate any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process, move for a foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or execute a foreclosure sale. This suspension does not apply to mortgage loans secured by properties that have been determined to be vacant or abandoned.”
HUD has placed a moratorium on occupied FHA mortgages through June 30, 2020, which applies to the “initiation of foreclosures and to foreclosures in process”. The moratorium does not apply to vacant and abandoned properties.
VA has placed a moratorium on occupied FHA mortgages through June 30, 2020, which applies to the “initiation of foreclosures and to the completion of foreclosures in process”. The moratorium does not apply to vacant and abandoned properties.
Moratorium extended to June 30, 2020. Does not apply to vacant and abandoned properties. Read more here.
Recently, several national title insurance companies have sent out bulletins to their agents regarding their company's position on how the CARES Act is affecting the industry. Specifically, some of the title insurance companies are requiring additional steps in order to insure properties related to foreclosure sales held during the moratoriums imposed by the CARES Act. At least one title insurance company has decided to not insure any property related to a foreclosure action during the timeframe that the CARES Act applies, whether the Act covers that property or not. These measures from the title insurance companies will apply to any foreclosure sale held between March 18, 2020 through May 17, 2020 during the current period the Act is in place. Of note, these restrictions and additional requirement also apply to any post-foreclosure conveyances and REO transactions. This will affect any conveyance to HUD or the VA since title insurance policies are required to be submitted along with the title packages. The CARES Act continues to have an impact on the industry, so it is important to understand the potential challenges with obtaining title insurance for post-foreclosure processes including conveyances and REO. PLG has been diligent in working with multiple national title insurance companies to ensure our clients' post-foreclosure needs are met. We have a plan in place in order to issue the title insurance policies in compliance with the requirements set forth by the title insurance companies so our clients' sales subject to conveyance and REO transactions can move forward. PLG is also continuing to stay connected to the local title insurance underwriters for any changes in their requirements as the industry moves forward during these unique times.
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