During a recent court appearance, I was making an argument in an attempt to help save my client from foreclosure. My opponent, a talented and aggressive lawyer, told the court that I had created a cottage industry of defending people who were about to lose their homes to foreclosure. Although, I suppose I should have been flattered, this assertion was laughable to me, in light of the fact that opposing counsel worked for the biggest foreclosure "mill" in the tri-state area. A law firm that churns out about 1000 foreclosures a month. Worse yet and more ironic, my opponent was representing a subsidiary of Bank of America, a company that made headlines just the day before, because it was sued for a billion dollar fraud by the government. This came on the heels of Bank of America being sued, along with the four other big mortgage companies by the states' Attorneys General, which resulted in a large monetary settlement.
After we left Court, opposing counsel asked why we have to continue to litigate and why we can't resolve our cases. This was a curious question to me since my goal is to try and get a loan modification for my clients and I consistently communicate with this attorney's firm trying to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, during this process, the mortgage companies insist on continuing the litigation. Therefore, if we did not litigate, my clients would have judgments against them after a few months and then lose their homes in Sheriff's Sales shortly thereafter.
After I explained this to counsel, I also pointed out that counsel's clients have consistently stalled and delayed the loan modification process, making it extremely difficult to resolve our cases. In fact, most of the loan modifications I've gotten for my clients came as a result of intense litigation and winning at certain critical stages of the case.
Needless to say I was quite perplexed that I was even asked this question but, I believe that from opposing counsel's perspective, it was a sincere question. As I also pointed out, while this firm routinely communicates with me, its clients cannot be counted on to be so efficient and responsive with very little recourse for my clients. As a result, if the mortgage companies continue to stall, the litigation continues its course.
On a related note, although, I have been defending foreclosure cases for most of the past 23 years, the past two years or so has seen a decided increase in these cases. Most foreclosures are being initiated by either the large mortgage companies or securitized trusts, both groups now notorious for their fraudulent practices and dubious documentation. Unlike other states, our courts in Pennsylvania have, generally, been slow to recognize the defects in the documentation presented by the mortgage companies. It is a complicated and nuanced area to understand. Although, in a broad sense, foreclosures are, simply a matter of whether or not you paid what the mortgage company claim, new questions continually arise as to who owns the Note, who can proceed against my clients in a foreclosure and the accuracy of the entries made in account histories. Just try reading and deciphering one account history provided by the mortgage companies in litigation and you'll know what I mean. In fact, the mortgage companies do everything they can to limit what they turn over during litigation and, I believe, withhold information that we don't know they even have.
Fortunately, there are a few Judges that do understand the issues and, my hope is that this number will increase. I don't expect to uncover some deep, dark secrets that some of my clients hope to find. I am only looking for a fair shot at asserting our position and resolving these cases in a beneficial way for my clients.