The federal government recently announced several changes to U.S. immigration legislation. Two key topics involve increased enforcement efforts of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and changes in request for prevailing wage procedures. 

Preparing for an I-9 Audit or Inspection
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has significantly increased its enforcement
efforts with respect to undocumented workers and Form I-9 recordkeeping. Employers must be prepared to quickly and effectively respond to an ICE-issued Notice of Inspection (NOI). ICE may review the employer’s files in as few as three days from the time the NOI is issued. Often enough, a prompt and complete response to the ICE office handling the investigation will end or significantly curtail their inquiry. In any event, a cooperative employer is far less likely to face fines or sanctioning. With that in mind, employers can prepare themselves for responding to a NOI by ensuring the availability of the following records:

Continue Reading Yes, The U.S. Immigration Laws Apply to the Real Estate Industry

In U.S. Bank National Association  v. Gullotta, 120 Ohio St 3d 399, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that multiple actions under the same note and mortgage are subject to the two-dismissal rule and res judicata preclusion. The decision could have far-reaching implications for lenders seeking to workout loans with troubled borrowers.   

The history of the case is important to understanding its impact. In June 2003, Giuseppe Gullotta entered into a note and mortgage with MILA, Inc., which assigned the note to U.S. Bank. In April 2004, U.S. Bank filed a foreclosure complaint for the total principal due on the note, plus interest from November 1, 2003. It voluntarily dismissed this complaint in June 2004. In September 2004, U.S. Bank filed a second identical complaint, except with interest running from December 1, 2003, which it also voluntarily dismissed in March 2005. In October 2005, U.S. Bank filed a third foreclosure complaint on Gullotta’s note and mortgage. After Gullotta filed a motion to dismiss, U.S. Bank amended its complaint to seek interest only from April 1, 2005 (the first missed payment date after its second dismissal).

Ohio Civil Procedure Rules state that “a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits of any claim that the plaintiff has once dismissed in any court.” A second dismissal is with prejudice and res judicata preclusion takes effect. Under a res judicata analysis, any claim “arising out of the transaction or occurrence that was the subject matter of the previous action” is barred. 

The Court held that each missed payment under the same note and mortgage does not give rise to a new claim, and therefore U.S. Bank’s two earlier dismissals precluded a third action. It premised this holding on four critical facts: 1) the underlying note and mortgage never changed, 2) the bank accelerated the payment upon initial default and demanded the same principal payment in every complaint, 3) Gullotta never made another payment after his initial default, and 4) U.S. Bank never reinstated the loan. 

Continue Reading Ohio Lenders Precluded from Bringing Third Complaint on Same Note