Foreclosure Sales Under the UCC During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Digirolamo, Matthew

Under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), “every aspect” of a foreclosure sale must be commercially reasonable. The traditional commercial reasonableness standard was tested during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the unprecedented circumstances imposed by state restrictions prompted increased judicial scrutiny of UCC foreclosure sales. This occurred most prominently in the context of commercial property mezzanine loan foreclosures. A mezzanine loan is a property loan secured by a pledge of equity interests in the property-owning entity rather than a security interest in the property itself. As state mortgage foreclosure moratoriums restricted lenders’ abilities to foreclose on commercial property, mezzanine lenders initiated UCC foreclosures to circumvent this barrier and take control of their collateral. 
This Note argues that courts adopted a more probing and holistic analytical approach to commercial reasonableness analyses during the first year of the pandemic. This approach more closely analyzed the procedures employed by foreclosing lenders and contextualized fair price considerations within wider market and societal concerns. This Note then proposes ways for secured creditors to protect their foreclosure sales during future periods of market uncertainty. Although secured creditors cannot fully insulate their foreclosure sales from fair price challenges in a market downturn, they should employ additional procedural safeguards to deflect commercial reasonableness challenges aimed at the alleged procedural irregularities of such sales. 


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December 7, 2022