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Foreclosures for Servicemembers- SCRA is a Kevlar Vest with Protections for Servicemembers!

mattweidnerlaw.com | June 11, 2014

By Matthew D. Weidner, Esq

Far too many members of the military that have served our country are suffering abuses at the hands of the banks. The worst thing about this is, there are important protections in place that provide absolute defenses to protect them….but only if they’re used properly:

From the national expert in SCRA, John Odom:

Members of the military rely on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to prevent foreclosures, evictions, and default judgments while on active duty. It is your client’s biggest weapon if you know how to harness its power.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is the principal federal statute that protects members of the military in civilian legal matters—from evictions to nonjudicial foreclosures to installment contract termination. In one form or another, the statute has safeguarded servicemembers since the Civil War. In many respects, the SCRA alters the terms of conventional obligations, and some attorneys and judges unfamiliar with it may initially refuse to accept that your arguments have any basis in statute or case law.

It takes a strong advocate to carry these cases to a successful conclusion, but in recent years, more courts have been enforcing the SCRA. You must learn the ins and outs of the statute before you can protect your client’s rights.

The starting point for any argument in SCRA-related matters is Le Maistre v. Leffers and Boone v. Lightner. In both cases, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the statute “must be read with an eye friendly to those who dropped their affairs to answer their country’s call,” and you should reiterate this—always urge the court to construe the act liberally in your client’s favor. For years, almost every SCRA violation suit was met with a motion to dismiss alleging that the statute did not allow a private cause of action. Fortunately, servicemembers succeeded in persuading many courts that Congress would not have enacted a comprehensive set of protections only to have violators escape liability for encroaching on their rights while they were on active military duty. In 2010, Congress amended the SCRA to specifically recognize a private right of action for damages, declaratory or equitable relief, and attorney fees and costs.

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Back to June 2014 Archive

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