Foreclosures in Maryland

Maryland’s courts adopted a rule to make it easier for homeowners in foreclosure proceedings to challenge lenders’ documents that they believe are fraudulent.

The rule, approved by the Court of Appeals of Maryland today, can shift from homeowners to lenders the burden of proving documents are legitimate. Hundreds of inaccurate or fraudulent affidavits have turned up in Maryland foreclosures, Alan Wilner, chairman of the Court’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, told the court’s six-member panel.

Governor Martin O’Malley had asked the court’s chief judge to suspend foreclosures for 60 days to ensure people are not wrongfully thrown out of their homes. Robert Bell, the chief judge, said he didn’t have that authority and suggested that the rule be changed instead.

The rules committee has been “scrambling to find a way to deal with this national calamity,” Wilner told the panel.

Up to now, the courts have assumed the accuracy of the affidavits. Now, when asked by the court, the plaintiffs seeking foreclosure will be required to show why the affidavit shouldn’t be thrown out, ensuring only “genuine and valid” documents are used, according to Wilner’s report.

To contact the reporter on this story: William McQuillen in Annapolis at

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