Title Curative

Milstead & Associates, LLC, provides a complete suite of title curative services.  Our experienced team of litigation professionals drives the curative process from title review and issue discovery through judicial or non-judicial resolution, record correction, and perfection.  Our services include:

Review and Analysis of Title Documents
Barriers to clear title are initially set forth by a claim made against a title insurance policy.  Our first task upon referral is to validate each issue listed in the claim and review all available title documents for additional issues not listed.  State laws are widely divergent; an issue clouding title in one state may not cloud title in another.  Our clients and claimants are geographically dispersed, relying upon us as experts in determining real issues and real solutions tailored to the jurisdictions we service.

Establishment of Communication and File Creation
Once satisfied that we understand the service requested, we communicate this back to the claimant in the form of an acknowledgement letter.  This letter additionally requests any documents we believe may be necessary to resolve the issues presented under a variety of legal theories.  We developed this list with the goal of reducing unnecessary burden upon the claimant while providing the best chance for success in any contest.
If the matter may be resolved by cooperation from involved parties, we advise the parties of this in the form of a demand letter, invoking the errors and omissions, or corrections agreement, executed at closing.  Borrowers are often confused by the myriad of special terminology and agreements executed in conjunction with a home purchase or refinance.  Our experience has shown that if we are able to establish communication at this time, litigation can often be avoided by simply explaining the situation, the laws involved, and the type of cooperation required.

Commencement of Litigation
If we are unable to obtain cooperation, we invoke the equitable powers of the court to provide the relief required to clear title.  This is accomplished by substituting in as counsel in an existing foreclosure action, or commencing a new traditional or summary civil action by filing a complaint.  Upon receipt of the filed pleading, we record notice of lis pendens as necessary to prevent transfer or other jeopardy of our client’s or claimant’s interest or security in the property while our matter is pending adjudication.

Service and Investigation
Barriers to clear title can arise from complex issues and events many years prior to our retention.  For example, estate settlement, faulty conveyance, or other past events may unwittingly leave individuals as parties in interest to a common property, but spread throughout the country and unaware of lingering interests.  We retain investigators who specialize in tracking down these individuals, and we deploy service agencies capable of serving in all fifty states.

Contested Litigation
If a responsive pleading is filed, we analyze the contesting defendant’s response for necessary action.  Responsive pleadings are typically filed by a prior lien holder or a judgment creditor.  We analyze the substance and merit of the answer filed to determine our course of action.  Typically, a phone call to the defendant’s attorney is enough to determine where any real dispute exists.  If we determine that a contesting defendant is likely to succeed on the merits, we advise our client and claimant, and the file is usually referred internally for settlement.  If a contesting defendant is not likely to succeed on the merits but nevertheless persists in contest, we estimate litigation fees and advise accordingly.  If directed to continue in contested litigation, we prepare necessary pleadings, prepare and respond to discovery requests, prepare and file motions and supporting documentation for summary judgment, attend hearings and case management conferences, and appear as trial counsel.  Contest is rare and costly, but our curative group draws upon the resources of the firm’s highly experienced trial lawyers to ensure expediency of resolution.

Default Proceedings
The vast majority of litigation is not contested.  After perfecting service upon all defendants, court rules provide a certain period of time for defendants to file a responsive pleading.  Upon expiration of this time to plead, we follow jurisdictional rules for obtaining an entry of default—acknowledgement by the court of the time to plead having expired without a responsive pleading having been filed—against the defendants.

Entry of Judgment
After default is entered in accordance with court rules, we file a motion for entry of judgment in the form of an order granting the relief necessary to clear title.  This step requires intimate familiarity with individual county procedures, as the slightest divergence in language could result render the order meaningless.  Different jurisdictions grant our motion for entry of judgment in different ways, and we may be required to appear at a hearing on the motion.

Summary Action
In certain circumstances, we are able to proceed with an expedited type of action, reducing the time required for litigation by as much as 60% in uncontested matters.  To commence this type of matter, we draft a complaint and submit it to the client or claimant for review.  Client or claimant then executes a document verifying the facts alleged in the complaint.  We submit the complaint to the court with a count requesting an order to show cause why matter should not proceed as a summary action.  If the defendants file no answer to this matter by the date set forth in the order, the case proceeds directly to entry of judgment.

Perfection of Title
Having obtained judgment in our favor, we are able to effect the changes necessary to clear title.  This may entail recording an unrecorded document or reforming an existing document.  We forward recorded original documents to either client or claimant, release our notice of lis pendens, and serve notice of judgment as required by court rules.

Additional Services
Title curative services inherently invite nonstandard issues, and complex and novel legal requirements.  We approach and develop our legal strategies under a theory of continuous process improvement.  Our clients have come to rely upon this evolutionary approach as it fosters a broad base of experience and facilitates an ability to rapidly adapt to changing conditions and requirements.  As such, we are able to provide an expanded variety of legal services, including, for example:

  • Negotiation and execution of mortgage subordination agreements through our relationships with every major lending institution operating in our areas of operation
  • Document drafting, review, and execution
  • Advising as to legal merit prior to matter referral
  • Land surveyor deployment
  • Investigation into probate, family, and other courts, to avoid costly litigation where possible
  • Analysis of legislative activity and novel judicial trends, and development of client bulletins advising as to the potential implications thereof