Chief Judge Evans bolsters Chancery Division to keep pace with rising foreclosure cases

Released On 09/19/2008

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced he has appointed Judge Lewis Nixon to serve as the Supervising Judge of the Mortgage Foreclosure/Mechanics Lien Section of the Chancery Division to succeed Associate Judge Clifford L. Meacham, who will retire November 14, 2008. Chief Judge Evans also announced that he has increased the number of judges assigned to that Section from 10 to 14 to allow for the creation of four additional mortgage foreclosure calendars.

The elevation of Judge Nixon to Supervising Judge is effective September 22, 2008. The four judges joining the Section, effective that day as well, will be Judge Margaret A. Brennan, Associate Judge Sheila King Devane, Judge John C. Griffin, and Judge Thomas R. Mulroy, Jr. Judges Devane, Griffin and Mulroy are currently assigned to the First Municipal District while Judge Brennan has been serving in the Fifth Municipal District.

The Mortgage Foreclosure/Mechanics Lien Section hears all matters initiated under the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Act and all those concerning the rights of property owners, contractors and sub-contractors under construction contracts. Mortgage foreclosure filings in Cook County have increased in recent years from 15,632 in 2004 to 32,651 in 2007. Chancery Division Presiding Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird noted that the court is on course for a record 42,000 foreclosure filings in calendar year 2008, adding, “We are grateful to Chief Judge Evans for the reallocation of judicial resources to meet this unprecedented mortgage foreclosure explosion.”

In explaining his appointment of Judge Nixon as Supervising Judge, Chief Judge Evans underscored Judge Nixon’s extensive experience with single and multi-family mortgage foreclosures while serving as the principal legal counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Chicago for nearly two decades.

“I am looking to Judge Nixon to lead the Section in a renewed approach to the hearing of mechanics liens and mortgage foreclosure matters that is both innovative and humane,” Chief Judge Evans said. “I have full confidence that his considerable expertise and strong administrative background will have a positive impact on court operations in that high volume Section.

“Judge Nixon will also benefit from the valuable guidance of Judge Meacham, who has been an outstanding supervising judge, during the transition,” Evans added.

Judge Nixon was first appointed a circuit judge in November 2001 to fill an unexpired term. He was elected a circuit judge in 2002. He initially served in the Traffic Section of the First Municipal District. In 2003, he was additionally assigned to the Chancery Division’s Mortgage Foreclosure Pilot Project. In 2004, he was transferred from the First Municipal District to the Chancery Division’s Mechanics Lien Section and remained there when the redesigned Mortgage Foreclosure/Mechanics Lien Section was created in 2005 by Chief Judge Evans in response to the dramatic increase in mortgage foreclosures.

Prior to becoming a judge, Nixon, 59, was Regional Counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1983 to 2001, supervising the legal staff of the six-state Midwest region. From 1980 to 1983, he was a trial attorney for the Burlington Northern Railroad in Chicago, handling litigation, trials and appeals involving FELA (Federal Employees Liability Act) matters in the state and federal courts in Illinois. From 1979 to 1980, he was an associate at the Chicago firm Conklin & Adler handling aviation litigation. He began his career as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, prosecuting cases from 1975 to 1979.

Judge Nixon received his J.D. from DePaul University School of Law in 1974 and a B.A. from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1971. During college and law school, he served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Judge Nixon has been an adjunct instructor at Roosevelt University’s School of Paralegal Studies in civil litigation and corporate law since 1989. He is a frequent presenter and panel member for seminars on mortgage foreclosure and construction fraud. He also taught trial practice for attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Legal Education Institute in Washington, D.C.





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