Another Family Saved from Being Thrown Out of Their Home
Clients, husband and wife, came to our firm with just 3 weeks left before having to leave their home with their children. With having had their home already sold to the Bank, having the title of their home also now in the Bank’s name, and a Motion for Writ of Possession with no-where to go, the clients were hopeless. Our RESPA team immediately began to investigate and found that clients were involved in a loan modification, which after having taking over their loan a new servicer chose to ignore. With each passing month clients found the amount on their monthly statements swelling to larger than the month before it. Needless to say their modification in fact was not honored by the new servicer and the new servicer elected to sell the clients’ home at foreclosure auction. We discovered a litany of violations, and immediately sent a Notice of Error pursuant to RESPA’s §1024.35, to both the new servicer and the counsel representing them in the foreclosure action filed against clients. Within 3 days the Bank, cancelled the writ of possession hearing, filed a motion to vacate the sale, and final judgment, dismiss the foreclosure case, and revert the title to the clients’ names. Additionally, the clients are now being reviewed for modification at the same terms they were once approved prior to the fiasco, which almost left them homeless had G-D not brought them to Loan Lawyers to find and fight for their rights under the law.
Musings from Yesterday’s Trial Victory Against Citibank – Good Reading
Had a great trial yesterday against Citibank with a great result for our client in foreclosure. I had my 7 year old son with me, so maybe he was my good luck charm. While preparing for trial, I was not thinking that I had a great chance.
On of the necessary elements to obtain a foreclosure judgment is the bank needs to prove that the properly accelerated the mortgage by sending a letter to the borrower that contains all of the necessary elements. In this case, I realized during my cross examination of the witness that they made a huge blunder and send the notice to Unit #4 but my client lives in Unit #15. They were unable to prove that the notice was sent to the right address. Second, their letter stated that the outstanding late fees were $205.60. When I pressed the witness, she was unable to substantial this amount. She was only able to come up with $123.00 in late fees. She did not know where the additional amount in the letter came from. So, they had two major problems with their acceleration letter. First, they could not prove that it was sent to the correct address and second, they could not prove that the amount of the default as stated in the letter was accurate. Sounds pretty good right? Well it gets better.
The bank attorney showed the witness the proposed final judgment of foreclosure which stated the outstanding principle balance was $307,000 (roughly). The witness testified that she verified those numbers and they were accurate. During my cross examination, I confronted the witness with the payment history that was printed out last month that showed the principle balance was actually $268,000 (roughly). The bank was at a loss on how to explain this. It got ugly for the bank at this point. The bank attorney objected to my questioning because she alleged that I was badgering the witness. The judge disagreed and said that I was asking appropriate questions in the foreclosure trial.
The judge then turned to the bank and said (I am paraphrasing): “Your case has just gone down in flames. I am not telling you what to do, but you may want to consider dismissing this case because your proof is a disaster.” The bank asked for a recess and 30 minutes later they came back and dismissed their case rather than risk getting an adverse judgment.
I think the best part of this was the fact I overheard that one of the bank attorney laughing as I started questioning the witness. She was no longer laughing once she figured out where my questions were leading.
The moral of the story is that if you are facing foreclosure in Florida, you need a lawyer that knows how to fight and who knows how to win a trial. At Loan Lawyers, our lawyers are trained to fight the banks and have the experience and knowledge to get it done right. We offer free consultations for foreclosure defense in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach. Don’t let the banksters roll over you, know your rights and fight back!
Another Foreclosure Trial Win for Loan Lawyers
What a crazy day in last Thursday’s foreclosure trial in Broward County. Fortunately, our foreclosure attorneys won the trial. We went to trial against BSI Financial Services servicing the loan for some trust. The foreclosure trial lasted the entire day. Our foreclosure lawyers had the bank’s witness on the stand for hours. The loan is currently being servicing by BSI Financial Servicing. There were two prior loan servicers for this loan, Marix Servicing and Specialty Loan Servicing. BSI took over servicing well into the foreclosure process. The case was tried on two issue, standing and acceleration.
Anytime there is a new loan servicer that took over after the loan went into default, the homeowner gains some advantage in the foreclosure because of complex evidentiary issues that I will not get in to here. Suffice it to say that it is a good thing from a trial perspective. In this case, I thought the testimony was going very well for us and the court would keep the documents out of evidence. Much to my surprise, the court was allowing the prior loan servicer’s records into evidence. I thought the foreclosure trial was lost at that point, but it only motivated me to try harder.
Well, I kept chipping away at the witness, getting more and more testimony that was helpful to my client. The bank kept digging their hole deeper and deeper. In fact, by the time I got done with the witness, SHE ADMITTED THAT SHE COULD NOT ATTEST TO THE ACCURACY OF THE AMOUNT THEY CLAIM WAS OWED. Truth be told, I had more cross-examination to go, but once she admitted this, it was time to sit down. Cross examination is an art and the questions you don’t ask are more important than the questions you do ask.
The bank finally rested its case with all of its foreclosure documents into evidence. I asked the court to revisit her rulings that allowed the documents in. She revisited the ruling, reversed herself, and took out the documents from evidence. What a score! She then entered a final judgment in our favor. What a roller coaster of a day. I switched between thinking we were losing and then winning and losing again, then winning again. At the end, we won, and that’s all that counts. Score another for the good guys.
If you are facing a foreclosure trial, do not go at it alone or with an attorney who does not know how to win these cases. Also, don’t wait to hire a lawyer until the trial is set. You have to make sure that all of the right defenses have been been raised and they have been properly preserved. I had a client recently who came to me a few weeks before trial and he did not have the right defenses. This is a problem.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach with one of our foreclosure lawyers.
Never Give Up
Bank did not File
Previously I have written about a client who came to us with a judgment and sale from 5 years ago. We vacated both against him. Oddly enough we are still fighting for him. However, that fight may have just come to an end. So here is the latest: I filed an omnibus motion to dismiss. I went after the Bank for a multitude of issues including merger, lack of subject matter jurisdiction, no personal jurisdiction, etc. The judge granted my motion but actually included in the order a right for the Plaintiff to file an amended Complaint. The Judge gave the Bank this right even though they never even requested it. Needless to say I was truly upset but with time, I waited. To my amazement the Bank filed a motion for extension of time, and a motion for rehearing. Rather than file a response I kept pushing and stayed on the Bank. We set the motion. The judge was livid that the Bank was requesting an extension after all this time to amend the Complaint. However, the Judge gave the Bank two days to file their amended complaint. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bank simply did not file anything. As such, I pray that this chapter of the saga is finally closed.
Another Great Day in Court – Another Foreclosure Dismissed in Broward County
I had a foreclosure trial today in Broward County. We were scheduled to start the trial at 9 AM. Much to my chagrin, there were about 50 cases set for trial at that time. Uggg. I don’t think that any lawyer said they were going to trial except for me. I told the judge the trial will take several hours. I had to wait until she cleared out all of the other cases so we could get the trial going. After waiting about two hours, I asked the judge if she would entertain my case for just a few moments because I had a motion to make that would eliminate the need for trial today if the court granted the motion. The judge agreed.
I asked the judge to strike the bank’s witness list and force them to proceed to trial with no witnesses. I pointed out that the order setting the trial required the bank to disclose their witnesses to me at least 30 days before trial. The order stated that the court would require strict compliance with the order and if either party did not follow the order, the court may strike pleadings, default a party, or any other remedy. The problem for the bank is that they did not follow the order. I did not receive the trial order until the day before the trial, not thirty days before the trial. As if that was not bad enough, the witness list had 26 different witnesses for the bank. I argued that there was no way that I could prepare for a trial when I get a list of 26 witnesses a day before the trial.
The judge asked for a response from the bank. They did not have much to say because the facts are the facts. They told the judge they would allow me to talk to the witness in the hallway to see what she would testify to. The judge asked me if that was sufficient. I explained that would not suffice. I do extensive research into the banks’ witnesses and I always try to find other trial transcripts or deposition transcripts and I would be denied the opportunity to do that.
The judge was rather frustrated with the bank at that point. She found that the bank violated the court order and that my client was prejudiced. So, she granted my motion and struck their witness list forcing them to trial without any witnesses. So, the bank dismissed the case! Not too bad.
Here’s the moral of the story, the banks and their lawyers make many mistakes and if you have a lawyer that knows how to spot those mistakes and assert your rights, you have a better chance of beating the bank. At Loan Lawyers, our lawyers are litigators. That means we go to court, we take depositions, and we go to trial if we don’t reach a settlement with the bank. We have helped thousands of clients over the years. Loan Lawyers is large enough to have the resources to fight your foreclosure and sue the bank to assert your rights, but small enough to give your case the attention it deserves.
Call Loan Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation with a foreclosure attorney today in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach. Offices in Plantation / Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, North Miami Beach, and Coral Gables. (844) 344-4813
No Response – Time to Pay
Fees Waived and Damages Paid
Marie was deeply concerned with her mortgage account. Each month she continued to see her account climb and climb in what the bank claimed were accurate fees and costs associated with her mortgage. We investigated, sending out a qualified written request (QWR) to her mortgage servicer. Although the servicer received the inquiry, they did not respond. We sent them a follow-up correspondence for Marie. After that too yielded no result, we sent her servicer one final letter advising they were in violation of federal law. Unfortunately, the servicer’s lack of response continued unabated. We were left without an option and we filed a lawsuit against Marie’s servicer in federal court. The counsel for the servicer advised they were willing to waive the fees, pay her the statutory damages amount and pay all of her attorneys’ fees. I called Marie, who advised that to have her loan current, and some money in her pocket after her servicer gave her so much trouble, she feels a true debt of gratitude. This is all part of the team of Loan Lawyers and the blessing of being part of the Mortgage Servicing Division.
Loan Lawyers has saved over 1,500 homes in South Florida from foreclosure, eliminated over $100 million dollars in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact Loan Lawyers to find out how we may be able to help you.”
** Results may not be typical. You may not have as beneficial a result.
Another Incredible Result!
2 Homes Saved
Frank G. (real name withheld for privacy) came to Loan Lawyers with a problem on his homestead property, and wanted help to get a loan modification. He had fallen behind on his mortgage payments and had been served foreclosure papers. We immediately got to work on defending his foreclosure and working on his loan modification. Frank also had a second property that he wanted us to help him with. The second property, a condo, was with another law firm, but Frank felt they were not making any progress and knowing that Loan Lawyers handles all aspects of debt issues, decided to move that case to our Firm as well. He was trying to do a short sale on the condo and he owed over $208,000 and the condo was only worth about $80,000. He was also now in foreclosure on this property as well. Going through his case on the condo, we discovered through a title search that both mortgages for the condo and his homestead property were encumbering the condo, thereby barring him for being able to sell it. Frank had bought both properties days apart with the same lender many years before, and unbeknownst to him, the condo had two liens one of which should have never been there. Frank had repeatedly tried to work with the bank before hiring us, but the bank would not work with him. While Loan Lawyers was defending both foreclosure cases, we diligently tried to work with the bank to rectify the issues on both properties; however, the bank refused to help our client and only wanted to foreclose. In 2014 the trial was set on the condo case. After a highly contested trial Loan Lawyers won the case. Not only did we successfully defeat the bank but we got a judgment in favor of our client. Because we were the prevailing party, the bank also had to pay for our client’s attorney fees, meaning that every penny Frank paid Loan Lawyers to fight his foreclosure was returned to him. Being that the bank refused to help our client this was a sweet victory. But there was more to come.
Trial was then set on Frank’s homestead property in 2015. Once again instead of doing the right thing and working with our client, Loan Lawyers took the bank to trial to fight for our client’s rights. Once more we were successful and defeated the bank with the Court entering an order that the bank had failed to prove their case. After a long and hard struggle with the bank Loan Lawyers had won both of Frank’s cases. If it wasn’t for Loan Lawyers dedication and commitment to fight for our clients’ rights and take the banks to trial when they refuse to cooperate, Frank could have lost both his houses. Unfortunately many consumer lawyers never go to trial, and Frank could have wound up in a bad situation if he didn’t choose us to represent him.
Notice to the Borrower
Client Jack and Sharon Scialabba came to us to help defend against a re-file by CitiGroup/CitiMortgage. This is the second case we’ve successfully defended for them. Citi re-filed their complaint on 2/24/15. The complaint properly alleged standing, included a copy of the prior modification and alleged that all conditions precedent had been complied with.
The case issues itself are fairly run of the mill – Plaintiff was able to prove standing and damages without much issue, however conditions precedent was the main area of contention. The property and notice address is listed as 9486 S. Military Trial #15, Boynton Beach, FL 33436. The Demand Letter is address to 9486 S. Military Trial #4, Boynton Beach, FL 33436. Arguably, unit 4 and unit 15 are the same. A simple search on the property appraisals website shows unit 4 being connected to unit 15. Because the property is a condominium, the confusion of the street address and unit numbers likely were at play. However, the burden still rests with Plaintiff to prove substantial compliance with their condition precedent.
At trial, the Plaintiff put into evidence the Demand Letter and the collection notes, both which show the Demand Letter being mailed to the unit 4 address. I thought for sure the Plaintiff would put into evidence anything else to corroborate that unit 4 and unit 15 are the same, however they failed to do so. I purposefully made an issue of standing (despite one not really existing) and made some minor issues about damages and their Power of Attorney. This tactic seemed to pay off, as Plaintiff spent a lot of their time focusing on defending these issues and not on the notice address discrepancy.
After Plaintiff rested, I moved for involuntary dismissal because of the wrong notice address. The Plaintiff tried to argue that the Court could take judicial notice of the complaint, which included a copy of the modification (which was never formally introduced into evidence), however the Judge declined to extend judicial notice that far. Plaintiff’s position was that the modification included an acknowledgment that unit 4 and unit 15 are the same. Since the modification was not put into evidence and no other documents were before the court to show unit 4 and unit 15 were the same, the Court granted our involuntary dismissal. This is the second dismissal for this client, concerning the same issue. The client was beyond thrilled.
Another Incredible Result!
Mortgage Reduced and Loan Modified
We first met Allen B. (real name withheld for privacy) in bankruptcy court where he was representing himself. He filed his bankruptcy in order to stop the scheduled foreclosure trial on his home. Allen was surrounded by four creditor attorneys who were objecting to his proposed plan. Despite his best efforts, his case was eventually dismissed, which is often the case when consumers try to represent themselves.
Allen called Loan Lawyers and asked if we could take a look at his foreclosure matter. Upon review of the bank’s complaint and supporting documents, we felt that the bank had not met the required threshold in successfully prosecuting its case. However, despite the bank’s objectionable supporting documents, the court granted judgment in the bank’s favor. Believing that the bank had not met its burden, we filed an appeal so that an appellate level court can review the matter which we felt the court had erroneously ruled upon.
This time around we filed the bankruptcy on our client’s behalf in order to stop the foreclosure sale of his home. There were four secured creditors who claimed to have an interest in the home. The first mortgage had a claim of over one million dollars, the second mortgage had a claim of $150,000, there was a master homeowner’s association lien for $14,000, and a junior homeowner’s association lien for $12,000. Because the value of Allen’s home was less than the balance of his first mortgage, we were successful in stripping off his second mortgage and both homeowners’ association liens.
Removing the second, third and forth liens on the property allowed us to focus on the first mortgage’s million dollar judgment lien. We immediately applied for a loan modification, and used our strong position on the appeal to force the bank to come to the negotiation table. Knowing that there was a good likelihood that we would prevail on appeal, we made it clear to the bank that if they were to offer a generous loan modification for our client, we would drop the appeal. After several months of negotiations, we were able to not only get our client a loan modification with very favorable terms, but we also got the bank to completely eliminate $584,117.61 from his mortgage balance.