Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pennsylvania lawyer sues foreclosure firm employees for unauthorized practice of law.

Many thanks to my friend in Pennsylvania for alerting me to this interesting state court case, Loughren v. Bair, where the employees of a foreclosure law firm are being sued for their alleged unauthorized practice of law.  Here is a copy of the complaint,  or here.  If you have access to the docket system for the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas, input the case reference GD-10-021437, and you will find the entire docket.

The Amended Complaint details the allegations of the Plaintiff, a Pennsylvania lawyer, against more than a dozen firm employees who are processing foreclosures.  Among the allegations is reference to deposition testimony in a federal lawsuit, Robinson v Countrywide, 08-cv-01563,where a law firm partner admitted during deposition that foreclosure complaints were processed and even signed without attorney oversight. The testimony is recited along with facsimiles of various lawyer signatures made by the non-lawyer firm employees.  The federal case is plodding through discovery, with a recent court order requiring disclosure of portions of attorney/client fee agreements to the Plaintiff.  Use PACER to access the full docket of the federal case, which is now plodding through discovery and motions.

The state court complaint goes on to allege that foreclosures filed by the law firm violate FHA regulations, primarily because there was no oversight or review to determine whether the regulations had been satisfied before filing.  The amended complaint also collects several citations to federal court cases where non-lawyer signatures on foreclosure documents are discussed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program for Maryland homeowners.

 I am sharing important information for my friends in the title industry.  We all encounter borrowers who need assistance.  Here is information that can be shared by all.  It is re-posted, without any edits, as written by Ms. Gipspon of St. Ambrose.  These are her words:

I am actively engaged in getting the word out about Maryland’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) Program.   This program is designed to meet the needs of homeowners facing foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment or who have experienced a loss of income due to medical condition.  A homeowner may receive up to $50,000.00 in either arrearage or forward payments or both.  The borrower must be at least 3 months behind and less than 12 months in the arrears.  The arrears will be paid and going forward payments toward the mortgage can last for up to two years not to exceed $50,000.00.  The borrower’s income must fall within 120% of HUD Area Median Income FY 2010 Limits and the only real estate that they can own is their principal residence.  The loan is interest free and, if certain conditions are met (i.e., the borrower resumes making the full mortgage payments), the loan will be extinguished by the end of the fifth year that the borrower resumes making his or her full and timely mortgage payments.   Please share this information with your clients as it is a quick way to save their properties from foreclosure.  As a prime partner for this program we are accepting applications for submission to DHCD.  This program, at least at our agency, has not had the overwhelming response that we had anticipated.  The good news for your clients is that funding is still available.  The bad news is that this is still time sensitive and time limited program.  For those of you affiliated with groups interested in learning more about the program, I am available to come meet with your organization.  Please let me know how we can work together to get the word out about this fantastic program.     Please feel free to contact me at the numbers below or have your clients contact our EMA HOTLINE to apply for this program 410-366-6091.

Thank you,

Ms. Vickie Gipson, Esq.
Director, Foreclosure Prevention Division
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Inc.
321 E 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
410-366-8550, ext. 235

St. Ambrose’s EMA Hotline # 410-366-6091.