In property foreclosures, merely posting the scheduled property sales on a website isn’t enough, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
“While we understand the interest in using technology to conserve resources, we find that notice by Internet posting is more akin to publication in a newspaper, and due process demands more in this instance,” the court said. “While we are not holding that mail is the only form of notice that will satisfy due process…requiring a party to look at a website to find notice of the date, time and location of a sheriff’s sale is insufficient.”
The 7-0 ruling, which reverses a Middletown appeals court’s decision, focuses on a disputed 2010 Clermont County sheriff’s sale of a property that had gone through foreclosure. That legal process occurs when a borrower fails to make agreed-upon payments, and the lender, seeking to recover his funds, asks a court to order the property sold.
The case provides the latest example of courts and government agencies grappling with changes in information technology. Christo Lassiter, professor of law at the University of Cincinnati, says the Supreme Court made the right call. “You actually have to try to get notice directly to the people who are affected,” he said, when the matter is as important as a person’s property-ownership rights.
The Supreme Court’s decision overturns the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals’ ruling and remands the case back to Clermont County Common Pleas Court for further proceedings.