Thursday, June 23, 2016

Foreclosed Connecticut Homeowner Who Lost All Her Worldly Possessions After Getting The Boot Scores "Six-Figure" Settlement After Judge Tags State Marshal w/ Liability For Illegally Disposing Of Victim's Stuff & Not Storing It In Designated Facility

In Bristol, Connecticut, The Connecticut Law Tribune reports:
  • A Superior Court judge said state law does not give state marshals the right to 'dispose of the personal property of the person subject to ejectment other than to store it in a designated facility.'

    Barbara McLoughlin had already suffered one devastating blow when she lost her home in Bristol to foreclosure. But then the state marshals came to evict her.

    McLoughlin was preparing to move and came home from work to find her car and everything she owned cleared out, said Ray Hassett, her attorney with Hassett & George. She was left without her home and bereft of everything she owned.

    The loss of all her personal property, including the uniform her father wore in World War I and her mother's jewelry, started McLoughlin on a legal quest that tested for the first time in Connecticut whether a state marshal has a duty to protect the property of the people they evict.

    On Oct. 26, 2012, then-Connecticut Marshal Jerome Martin alleged he was carrying out a court order to perform an ejectment at McLoughlin's foreclosed home. He said he found McLoughlin's personal property infested with fleas and abandoned.

    McLoughlin countered that Martin failed to follow the court order that he was supposed to notify her where her property would be stored. Instead, her property disappeared and she was only able to recover her vehicle.

    Martin also argued that McLoughlin did not have standing to bring a legal action against him and he did not owe a duty to protect her personal property during the execution of the judgment. State marshals are independent contractors appointed as public officers with the authority to enforce court orders, including the execution of ejectment orders.

    The law says marshals may remove the personal property of people who are being removed from their foreclosed homes. But once that decision is made, Hassett argued, the law requires the marshal to give notice to the homeowner and take the property to a municipal storage facility.

    In this case, Martin wrote on his ejectment order that McLoughlin's personal effects would be stored with the town. No phone number was listed on the order that would have enabled McLoughlin to track down her possessions. Instead, all her worldly goods disappeared, some apparently going to the town dump and others apparently taken by members of outside firms brought in by the marshal.
    Following the judge's decision, the case settled for a six-figure sum. Hassett would not disclose the full sum, but did say that the marshal had insurance and his client has been paid in full.
For more, see Judge Holds State Marshal Accountable for Evicted Homeowner's Missing Belongings (Judge says state marshals are accountable for evicted residents' belongings) (may require paid subscription; if no subscription, GO HERE, then click the appropriate link).

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