In August Judith contacted us regarding her flooded basement. Her insurance was refusing to pay for repairs after a flood.
Judith and her husband Howard (pseudonyms) both in their 80s, had lived in their home for many decades. Howard had severe health issues, leaving Judith to manage the finances for the first time. JUF’s clinic matched them with volunteer attorney Michael Strom, who is adept with insurance matters. He agreed to represent them regarding their basement.
While preforming his due diligence, Mr. Strom discovered
(a) the home has been foreclosed
(b) it is scheduled to be sold at sheriff sale in less than a month!
But how?! The mortgage was paid off many years ago. The owners were totally ignorant that they were on the verge of losing their home.
The couple had hired two companies to remediate the basement after the flood. Judith thought she had paid all the bills, but she had only paid one company.
The unpaid company filed for a mechanic’s lien on the house and moved to force a sale to get paid.
Mr. Strom did not shrink from these unexpectedly high stakes. Rather, he rallied clinic forces. JUF volunteers Richard Levy and Selwyn Skevin stepped up to assist in strategy, procedure, and document prep while Mr. Strom took the reins of negotiating a settlement.
With a flurry of emails and conference calls the pro bono posse saved the day and an elderly couple’s home, pulling it from the brink of sheriff’s sale.
Mr. Strom is still working on patching up the basement situation, which happily is still a possibility.
Originally posted in JUF Evelyn R. Greene Legal Services Newsletter