Took out a equity line of credit in 2005. As a result of financial hardship and the economy I have been unable to pay back the loan...last payment was 2008. I tried to contact Citibank to arrange payment in October 2010, but they told me they could not find my loan. Yesterday I received a "Notice of Voluntary Dismissal without prejudice" from Citibank Attorney. I am not sure what this means and what steps I need to take.
There is a case number and I was advised to check on line. 18th Judicial Circuit in and for Seminole County FL. However, I do not know where to start. Any advice would be helpful, I can not afford a lawyer.
Real Estate Attorney
A Notice of Voluntary Dismissal without Prejudice means that Citibank has dismissed the action that was filed against you but can file again in the future if they decide to further pursue collection for the debt and potentially a mortgage foreclosure. The fact that they "cannot find the loan" is interesting - if the lender cannot find the original promissory note and cannot establish the circumstances by which the note was lost, they will not be able to enforce the loan against you in a subsequently filed action.
I am assuming that the case number you refer to is the case number for the action that was dismissed. Under the circumstances, I would strongly suggest that you find some money to see a real estate attorney experienced in foreclosure law. It may be the best $500 you can spend considering that Citibank has already admitted that they have lost your loan. Good luck.
Residential Real Estate Lawyer
Citibank has sued you to foreclose on the property. It appears they are unable to proceed with the foreclosure and are dismissing the case, although it may be just a dismissal of unnecessary parties such as "unknown tenants" and the case is still pending. If they did dismiss the entire case, "without prejudice" means they can refile later if they find the loan docs. They have approximately 20 years to sue depending on if there is a specific maturity date or not in the docs.
This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at www.stagelaw.com.
Real Estate Attorney
A mere dismissal without prejudice does not mean that your problem has gone away forever, but it does buy you some time. Take advantage of it by exploring all options including loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure and bankruptcy. You do need to find a way to see an attorney.
Every Circuit Court Clerk in Florida is required to maintain its dockets on the internet. You can look up your case at http://seminoleclerk.org/CivilDocket/ and hopefully get a better idea of what is going on. If the case is closed, it means that, at least for now, the plaintiff has decided not to pursue litigation. It is impossible to tell from your question whether the case was a foreclosure or a debt collection case - most second mortgage companies are pursuing these as debt collection cases, since there is not enough equity in most properties in default in Florida for foreclosure of a second mortgage to make economic sense.
However, you should see an attorney to get a complete understanding of what is going on. If you have a lot of debts (likely due to the adverse economic situation you described) you might get major relief from a bankruptcy filing, but only a bankruptcy attorney can advise you whether this would be a good move or not.
Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.