Foreclosure Court Case Update (KeyBank v. Keniston)

A decision has been reached in the case of KeyBank v. Keniston regarding foreclosure. Earlier this year, the League filed an amicus curiae brief at the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (commonly known as the Law Court) to weigh in on the case.

In KeyBank v. Keniston, the Law Court found in favor of KeyBank, noting that a foreclosure can go forward if the successor to the mortgage is named in the complaint—even if neither the deceased debtor nor her estate was named in the action.

Prior to their order, the Law Court invited the general public to file briefs to help answer questions about the case and inform their decision-making process. Attorney Dan Cummings of Norman, Hanson & Detroy filed the brief on behalf of the League. The amicus brief outlined some of the very points made by the Law Court in their opinion.

In KeyBank v. Keniston, the Trial Court dismissed a foreclosure action because the original debtor was deceased, and the case included neither the original debtor nor his estate. The Law Court determined that the bank could enforce the mortgage note when Keniston’s wife received full possession of the property on his death—despite not being a debtor on the note, vacating the Trial Court’s decision.

This case is one of two where the League submitted amici briefs. Both cases concern Maine’s foreclosure law. The opinion on the other case has not yet been published.

The Court’s latest action, especially when combined with some of its more recent decisions, may indicate a move away from the types of orders that came out of the 2008 recession and could bode well for future foreclosure actions.