CitiMortgage v. Cotton (2012)

CitiMortgage v. Cotton (2012)

Mr. Ring successfully represented Mr. Cotton, a homeowner who was not properly served with process by his mortgagee, CitiMortgage, in a foreclosure proceeding. While Mr. Cotton was represented by a different attorney, the trial court confirmed the sheriff’s sale of Mr. Cotton’s home and denied his motion to quash service. Mr. Ring then took over the case and successfully appealed the trial court’s orders, vacating the sheriff’s sale and remanding the case for an evidentiary hearing. In a published opinion, the Appellate Court adopted in toto Mr. Ring’s argument that due diligence and due inquiry were two separate standards requiring different courses of conduct. Although CitiMortgage had been duly diligent in attempting to serve Mr. Cotton nineteen times at his residence, it had not conducted a due inquiry in attempting to find Mr. Cotton personally. As a result of Mr. Ring’s efforts, would-be plaintiffs, particularly landlords and mortgagees, are required to conduct a thorough, intensive investigation into the whereabouts of a putative defendant based on the factors laid out by Cotton prior to resorting to service by publication. The opinion expanded on the previous holding of Equity Residential Property Management Companies v. Nasolo, another case where Mr. Ring represented a putative residential defendant challenging improper service of process.

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