Foreclosures

Did You Know: Illinois Charges an Unconstitutional Premium Foreclosure Fee to Homeowners Filing in Circuit Courts?

Neither did LIT. It’s appalling. But thank goodness the judges agree it’s unconstitutional. Now it’s on appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

LIT EXTRACT:

SUMMARY OF THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL FORECLOSURE PREMIUM FEE CASE

Plaintiffs-Appellees Reuben Walker and Steven Diamond filed a class action complaint challenging the constitutionality of the $50 fee for filing residential mortgage foreclosure complaints in circuit courts. See 735 ILCS 5/15-1504.1(a) (2018).

On cross-motions for summary judgment, the circuit court held that the fee, as well as the programs funded by it, see 20 ILCS 3805/7.30, 7.31 (2018), were unconstitutional under the Free Access, Due Process, Uniformity, and Equal Protection Clauses of the Illinois Constitution.

Defendant-Appellant Andrea Lynn Chasteen, in her official capacity as the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Will County, and Intervenors-Defendants-Appellants People of the State of Illinois ex rel. Kwame Raoul (“State”) and Dorothy Brown, in her official capacity as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (“Cook County”), appealed the circuit court’s order directly to this Court.

The circuit court granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on counts II and III, however, holding that the foreclosure fee violated the Illinois Constitution’s Free Access, Due Process, Uniformity, and Equal Protection Clauses.

The court noted that the Free Access Clause prohibits filing fees from being used for purposes unrelated to court operations, and found that, although the Foreclosure Prevention Program “might benefit the court system,” its benefits were “indirect at best.”

Describing the Abandoned Property Fund as “a litigation-tax funded neighborhood beautification plan,” the court also concluded that it was too remote from court operations.

For the same reasons, the circuit court held that the fees violated due process and equal protection principles.

As to the Uniformity Clause, the court ruled that there was “no real and substantial difference between plaintiffs seeking access to the court system in mortgage foreclosure cases, and those seeking access to the courts in non-foreclosure cases,” and the foreclosure fee did not “bear a reasonable relationship to the purpose of the tax”

Finally, the circuit court found that the statute imposing the foreclosure fee, 735 ILCS 5/15-1504.1 (2018), was not severable from the provisions of the Illinois Housing Development Act establishing the Foreclosure Prevention. Program and the Abandoned Property Fund, 20 ILCS 3805/7.30, 7.31 (2018), entered a permanent injunction prohibiting the collection of foreclosure fees throughout the State, and immediately stayed that permanent injunction to provide this Court with an opportunity to review its decision.

The court declined to enter final judgment, however, because issues remained pending, “such as [p]laintiffs’ request for the return of collected fees.”

On May 14, 2020, the circuit court found that there was “no just reason for delaying either enforcement or appeal” of its March 2, 2020 order under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a). The State, Cook County, and Will County each appealed that order directly to this Court and this Court consolidated all three appeals.

Reuben D. Walker et al., etc., Appellees, v. Andrea Lynn Chasteen, etc., Appellant (People State of Illinois ex rel. Kwame Raoul, etc., et al., Intervenor-Appellants)

Case No. 126086, 126087, 126088, cons.

Brief for Cook County defending $50 foreclosure fee premium as constitutional

FILED: DEC. 9, 2020

Reply Brief for Class Action Plaintiffs arguing $50 foreclosure fee premium as UNconstitutional

FILED: FEB 17, 2021

REPLY Brief for Cook County defending $50 foreclosure fee premium as constitutional

FILED: MARCH 3, 2021

Full Text of HB2256 – Illinois General Assembly

www.ilga.gov › legislation › fulltext
1, to counties other than Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry,. 2, and Will Counties. Grants … 20, complaint is filed fee of $50 for deposit into the. 21, Foreclosure … 22, is filed a fee for the Foreclosure Prevention Program Fund. 23, and the …

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Did You Know: Illinois Charges an Unconstitutional Premium Foreclosure Fee to Homeowners Filing in Circuit Courts?
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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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