A decision by the 1st U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws into uncertainty what will happen with more than 700 foreclosure cases in federal court in Rhode Island.

The appeals court said last week that U. S. District Judge John McConnell did not follow the proper procedures when he instituted a unique order that prevented foreclosures until the homeowners and banks involved try to settle.

A lawyer who represents hundreds of families suing to stop from being foreclosed upon says he fears it puts into jeopardy a program that is helping people.

Three lawyers who represented financial institutions before the 1st Circuit declined to comment or did not return phone messages seeking comment on the potential impact of the decision.

Around 130 foreclosure cases have settled or been dismissed under the program.

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