Disputing Blog by Karl Bayer, Beth Graham, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes
Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court rejected a non-profit organization’s request to examine records created as part of the state’s Foreclosure Mediation Program. Non-profit group Civil Rights for Seniors reportedly sought the records using the Nevada Public Records Act. According to the organization, the group planned on using the information obtained to contact homeowners who previously utilized the mediation program to conduct a survey regarding the program’s performance.
The Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program was created by the state Legislature in 2009 in response to a record number of home loan defaults. The program was designed to allow defaulting mortgagees across the state to negotiate with their lender and remain in their homes. Although the mediation program falls under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Supreme Court, it is operated by the Administrative Office of the Court.
Initially, the court administrator declined to provide much of the information requested by Civil Rights for Seniors citing privacy concerns. After the group filed a request for writ of mandamus, a district judge in Carson City agreed with the court administrator. In Civil Rights for Seniors v. Admin. Office of Courts, No. 60945, the Nevada high court affirmed the judge’s decision and stated a release of such highly sensitive information to the public “would have a chilling effect on open and candid Foreclosure Mediation Program participation, undermining the Legislature’s interest in promoting mediation.”
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