We all knew that whether you have the original Mona Lisa or a copy matters. Now we know this matters with mortgage releases, too – even if the original may not exist. Sabina v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2016 ME 141.
In Sabina, the Law Court, in a 4-2 split decision, ruled that under the mortgage discharge statute, 33 M.R.S. § 551, a mortgagee who timely records a release of its mortgage and informs the mortgagor of its recording violates § 551 when the mortgagee sends to the mortgagor a copy of the recorded release, rather than the original recorded document. Send the copy and not the original, and the mortgagee (defined to include any servicer who receives final payment on a mortgage) faces exemplary damages of $500 per violation as well as court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in any action to enforce the statute.
Maine law requires a mortgagee to do