From Our Friends at Living Lies Weblog: CitiMortgage Must Face Class Action for False notarization of Documents in Foreclosures


CitiMortgage Must Face Class Action for False notarization of Documents in Foreclosures
https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/95852/posts/1614247594
Oct 3, 2017

Where is the prejudice in requiring the foreclosing party to prove its case with facts raather than presumptions?

There are two big takeaways: (1) Courts are getting more curious about what really happened in the mortgage meltdown and (2) this is one more example of how the TBTF banks are not entitled to any legal presumptions regarding their documents.

Research always shows that a fact is presumed in certain cases — but only in the absence of questions about the credibility of the party who proffers a document from which the legal presumption arises.
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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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see https://www.reuters.com/article/citimortgage-foreclosures/9th-circuit-revives-lawsuit-over-citimortgage-foreclosure-records-idUSL2N1MD245

What the banks have done is (1) create self-serving documents and then (2) fabricate other documents that rely upon the facts stated or implied in prior fabricated documents. The “greater weight” (piles of false documents) of the evidence falsely leads judges to presume that all that paper must mean something even when it is all trash.

Like other objections or motions in limine practicitioners should strive for a ruling that the foreclosing party must actually prove the facts that they want to be presumed. That includes the funding of the loan, the payment for the loan, and whether any so-called “transfers” were anything more than some words scratched on a piece of paper. They must prove facts not receive the benefit of a legal presumption or factual assumption.

Transfer documents (e.g., assignment of mortgage) and endorsements imply that a purchase took place. Whether such a purchase took place or not, the documents read the same. The error is in assuming the transaction took place when the source of the document has at least questionable credibility. Credibility questions arise whether it is Wells Fargo in creating fake financial accounts and then charging fees for them, Citi fabricating signatures and notarization, BofA or US Bank appearing as the injured party, or Chase claiming to own WAMU loans that not even WAMU had on its books. It’s obvious that the players are

Credibility questions arise whether it is Wells Fargo in creating fake financial accounts and then charging fees for them, Citi fabricating signatures and notarization, BofA or US Bank appearing as the injured party, or Chase claiming to own WAMU loans that not even WAMU had on its books. It’s obvious that the players are allin on the same “game,” to wit: keeping ivnestors and homeowners in the dark while the banks trade “paper.”

That includes the funding of the loan, the payment for the loan, and whether any so-called “transfers” were anything more than some words scratched on a piece of paper. They must prove facts not presume them. Transfer documents and endorsements imply that a purchase took place

Transfer documents and endorsements imply that a purchase took place because it is obvious that nobody goes around giving mortgage loans away. The “presumption” that the foreclosing parties want to use is that there must have been a purchase transaction in real life — facts — as opposed to the presumption that a transaction occurred in which one party purchased a loan from another party.

The presumption to the contrary in the context of hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of cases in which documents were fabricated, forged, robo-signed, and falsely notarized leads the courts to a false conclusion and the denial of the homeowner’s basic defense: this foreclosing party has no right, title or interest in my loan and doesn’t represent anyone who does have a right, title or interest in the debt, note or mortgage.

It is wrong for a court to ignore the 50 state settlement, the consent orders and the many cases in which borrowers were successful in undercutting the claim that the foreclosing party had legal standing.

Consider this: if the foreclosing parties really were acting legally, why wouldn’t they want to prove it? That would certainly discredit borrower defenses and send a message to foreclosure defense lawyers that these loans are real and the transfers were in fact purchases. Where is the prejudice in requiring the foreclosing party to prove its case with facts raather than presumptions?

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JPMorgan Chase Bank Fines Do Nothing to Them

I was working on something today, and saw that I needed to add some references (footnotes) to support what I was saying. It had to do with JPMorgan Chase Bank, and the fines for violations concerning robo-signing, lying, cheating, stealing homes, and the like. All related to foreclosures of course.

When I began adding the references for my allegations, I almost fell off my chair. I could not believe the fines and the violations, and yet, they continue on, to this very day. The only thing that Chase has learned from all the fines for violations, is that they make enough money, that the fines don’t matter. If anything else had come of it, as in, it hurt them financially, they would have quit with all the violations.
As it turns out, attorneys for these banks have gotten worse. It is ruining the legal profession. If the courts would stand up and make those that should be held accountable, accountable, the foreclosures would have ended. So, it has also ruined the court system for their failure to the citizens of the states and country.
http://s25.postimg.org/ze1twuhu7/is_CDBx_Oy_Hkyno_GSsgx_Oz_TCmykgo7_D_Dsbu_N6nx_ELu_AK48_h.jpgForeclosure hell has only taught the people that have lost their homes. And what pray tell did those people learn other than they will never be able to purchase another home? That you cannot trust attorneys, you cannot trust the courts, and by God you had better never trust the lender. In other words, the world around you is corrupt as hell, and no one, except you, the borrower is accountable for anything.

Just a sampling of fines levied against JPMorgan Chase Bank:
2008: Unpacking the JPMorgan Chase scandals; $30 billion in fines and counting — and this monster bank still got off lightly!: http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/articles/unpacking-jpmorgan-chase-scandals
June 2011: Misleading CDO Investments: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
July 7, 2011: Conduct in Municipal Bonds $228 Million: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
February 9, 2012: Foreclosure Abuses and “Robo-Signing” $5.29 Billion: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
November 16, 2012: $269.9 Million: More Mortgage Misrepresentations: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
January 2013: $1.8 Billion: Improper Foreclosures: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
October 25, 2013: $5.1 Billion: Fannie and Freddie Fines: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
Nov. 2013: JPMorgan agrees $13 billion settlement with U.S. over bad mortgages; http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jpmorgan-settlement-idUSBRE9AI0OA20131120;
November 15, 2013: $4.5 Billion: Mortgage Securities: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
January 2014: JPMorgan Chase Fines Exceed $2 Billion: http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/chase-a-6356;
January 06, 2014: Madoff Scandal: $1.7 Billion: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
November 11, 2014: Currency Manipulation (stock price): $1.34 Billion: http://www.dividend.com/dividend-education/a-brief-history-of-jp-morgans-massive-fines-jpm/;
March 2015: Chase has paid $38 Billion in 22 settlements from 2009 through March of 2015: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/07/16/fine-despite-fines.html;
July 2015: JPMorgan Chase fined $136M over how it collects debts: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/08/421277881/jpmorgan-chase-fined-136m-over-how-it-collects-debt;
July 8, 2015: Chase fined $216M over debt collection: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/credit-cards/chase-fined-216m-over-debt-collection/;
December 2015: JPMorgan Admits It Didn’t Tell Clients About Conflicts $300M: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-18/jpmorgan-pays-267-million-to-settle-conflict-of-interest-claims;
January 2016: JPMorgan Chase Fined $48Million for Failing to Comply With Robosigning Settlement: https://consumerist.com/2016/01/05/jpmorgan-chase-fined-48-million-for-failing-to-comply-with-robosigning-settlement/;

And it goes on. There are many that I missed, in my hurry to get this done.
And in the end, the buck stops with the Courts, U.S. Attorneys and District Attorneys for not throwing the lot of their asses in the clink!

SHEEPLE AWAKEN!!!

Once Upon a Time…. I Thought the Worst We Had To Face Was Foreclosure Hell, I WAS WRONG!

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Ya know, I used to think that Foreclosure Hell was the worst thing we in this Country had to face.  Wow, Was I Wrong!

I didn’t realize that just like in Japan, they will cook us to death with radiation, and not even bother to tell us.  I have condemned the Japanese for nuking the world and not telling us the truth about it, but fuck me, this country is doing the same thing.

While most people go about their daily business, they never think about the fact, that a pleasure of getting rained on is killing them.  We are the walking dead, and being asleep to the fact is just fucking us up more.

I would apologize for my slang, no, crude language, but something needs to wake these sleeping zombies up!

So, they are not only going to take every house they can get their grimy paws on, but they are going to continue the slow kill of humankind from the planet.  

It is not the kids growing up now that will suffer so much, it is like the butterfly test in Fukushima.  It is the children’s children that will be riddled with deformities. 

No matter what they try to tell us, we cannot be stupid, and believe that radiation is ok.  The thought of believing that, well, it is, stupid.  The sheeple that make up this country now, is amazing.  If the government says the radiation is not hurting us, we’ll just believe them.  Because the government says so?  Yall need to get out from under the rock, and out of the sun, cause damn!  You been drinking too much water with fluoride in it, for too long, and it has made you dumb!  I take that back, it has made you dumber than dirt!

For years, they have been doing things with the weather, with our food, with our prescriptions, our health!  They have taken healthy human beings and turned them into out of shape, fat slugs that have lives that are meant for cattle.  Chemtrails is no lie either.  What about HARP?  I guess that you also believe that 911 was not an inside job.

No, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I believe in taking what is put before me, studying it, seeing it for what it is, listening to scientists, listening to experts, and deducing my own opinion.  You see, we woke up.  We quit drinking the tap water.  We quit watching the regular news.  The news media is brainwashing you sheeple, which is not hard for them to do.

Terrorists are here, they are going to get you, so we have to militarize the Police forces.  These false flag shootings, are to outrage you sheeple, so that you will agree that guns are bad, and they can confiscate our guns.  We are told that our rights have to be taken, so that we can be protected from the terrorists, etc.,

If you are so blind you cannot see your nose on your face, you will not notice that Fannie Mae, and the banks are throwing our elderly out on the street.  Right now, in Goodyear, Arizona, an 83 year old woman and her 86 year old husband are being thrown out of their home.  No one cares.  In Colorado Springs, CO, an 82 year old woman is being thrown out of her home.  No one cares.

What the hell is wrong with you sheeple?  It’s not you, so it is Ok?  The Bank With the Most Homes in the End Wins, Get Used to It!!!

Sheeple Awaken!

Neil Garfield Telling It As It Is…”Bullying As An Acceptable Way of Life – Covered By A Corporate Shell Game!

By Paul Craig Roberts – Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals, (Explained to Where Even Sheeple Can Understand!)

A MUST READ FOR EVERY AMERICAN!

From:  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/09/16/police-are-more-dangerous-to-the-public-than-are-criminals-paul-craig-roberts/

Latest Book

 PCR’s new book, HOW AMERICA WAS LOST, is now available:In Print by Clarity Press and In Ebook Format by Atwell Publishing

 

Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals — Paul Craig Roberts

The goon thug psychopaths no longer only brutalize minorities–it is open season on all of us –the latest victim is a petite young white mother of two small children

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36211.htm

Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals

Paul Craig Roberts

The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government.

At the federal level the threat is a seventh war (Syria) in 12 years, leading on to the eighth and ninth (Iran and Lebanon) and then on to nuclear war with Russia and China.

The criminal psychopaths in Washington have squandered trillions of dollars on their wars, killing and dispossessing millions of Muslims while millions of American citizens have been dispossessed of their homes and careers. Now the entire social safety net is on the chopping bloc so that Washington can finance more wars.

At the state and local level every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheel chairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs, and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.

The American police perform no positive function. They pose a much larger threat to citizens than do the criminals who operate without a police badge. Americans would be safer if the police forces were abolished.

The police have been militarized and largely federalized by the Pentagon and the gestapo Homeland Security. The role of the federal government in equipping state and local police with military weapons, including tanks, and training in their use has essentially removed the police from state and local control. No matter how brutal any police officer, it is rare that any suffer more than a few months suspension, usually with full pay, while a report is concocted that clears them of any wrong doing.

In America today, police murder with impunity. All the psychopaths have to say is, “I thought his wallet was a gun,” or “we had to taser the unconscious guy we found lying on the ground, because he wouldn’t obey our commands to get up.”

There are innumerable cases of 240 pound cop psychopaths beating a 115 pound woman black and blue. Or handcuffing and carting off to jail 6 and 7 year old boys for having a dispute on the school playground.

Many Americans take solace in their erroneous belief that this only happens to minorities who they believe deserve it, but psychopaths use their unaccountable power against everyone. The American police are a brutal criminal gang free of civilian control.

Unaccountable power, which the police have, always attracts psychopaths. You are lucky if you only get bullies, but mainly police forces attract people who enjoy hurting people and tyrannizing them. To inflict harm on the public is why psychopaths join police forces.

Calling the police is a risky thing to do. Often it is the person who calls for help or some innocent person who ends up brutalized or murdered by the police. For example, on September 15 CNN reported a case of a young man who wrecked his car and went to a nearby house for help. The woman, made paranoid by the “war on crime,” imagined that she was in danger and called police. When the police arrived, the young man ran up to them, and the police shot him dead. http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/15/justice/north-carolina-police-shooting/

People who say the solution is better police training are unaware of how the police are trained. Police are trained to perceive the public as the enemy and to use maximum force. I have watched local police forces train. Two or three dozen officers will simultaneously empty their high-capacity magazines at the same target, a minimum of 300 bullets fired at one target. The purpose is to completely destroy whatever is on the receiving end of police fire.

US prosecutors seem to be the equal to police in terms of the psychopaths in their ranks. The United States, “the light unto the world,” not only has the highest percentage of its population in prison of every other country in the world, but also has the largest absolute number of people in prison. The US prison population is much larger in absolute numbers that the prison populations of China and India, countries with four times the US population.

Just try to find a prosecutor who gives a hoot about the innocence or guilt of the accused who is in his clutches. All the prosecutor cares about is his conviction rate. The higher his conviction rate, the greater his success even if every person convicted is innocent. The higher his conviction rate, the more likely he can run for public office.

Many prosecutors, such as Rudy Giuliani, target well known people so that they can gain name recognition via the names of their victims.

The American justice (sic) system serves the political ambitions of prosecutors and the murderous lusts of police psychopaths. It serves the profit motives of the privatized prisons who need high occupancy rates for their balance sheets.

But you can bet your life that the American justice (sic) system does not serve justice.

While writing this article, I googled “police brutality,” and google delivered 4,100,000 results. If a person googles “police brutality videos,” he will discover that there are more videos than could be watched in a lifetime. And these are only those acts of police brutality that are witnessed and caught on camera.

It would take thousands of pages just to compile the information available.

The facts seem to support the case that police in the US commit more crimes and acts of violence against the public than do the criminals who do not wear badges. According to the FBI crime Statisticshttp://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/summary in 2010 there were 1,246,248 violent crimes committed by people without police badges. Keep in mind that the definition of violent crime can be an expansive definition. For example, simply to push someone is considered assault. If two people come to blows in an argument, both have committed assault. However, even with this expansive definition of violent crimes, police assaults are both more numerous and more dangerous, as it is usually a half dozen overweight goon thugs beating and tasering one person.

Reports of police brutality are commonplace, but hardly anything is ever done about them. For example, on September 10, AlterNet reported that Houston, Texas, police routinely beat and murder local citizens.http://www.alternet.org/investigations/cops-are-beating-unarmed-suspect-nearly-every-day-houston?akid=10911.81835.yRJa7d&rd=1&src=newsletter894783&t=9&paging=off

The threat posed to the public by police psychopaths is growing rapidly. Last July 19 the Wall Street Journal reported: “Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment–from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers–American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the US scene: the warrior cop–armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

The Wall Street Journal, being an establishment newspaper, has to put it as nicely as possible. The bald fact is that today’s cop in body armor with assault weapons, grenades, and tanks is not there to make arrests of suspected criminals. He is there in anticipation of protests to beat down the public for exercising constitutional rights.

To suppress public protests is also the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security Police, a federal para-military police force that is a new development for the United States. No one in their right mind could possibly think that the vast militarized police have been created because of “the terrorist threat.” Terrorists are so rare that the FBI has to round up demented people and talk them into a plot so that the “terrorist threat” can be kept alive in the public’s mind.

The American public is too brainwashed to be able to defend itself. Consider the factthat cops seldom face any consequence when they murder citizens. We never hear cops called “citizen killer.” But if a citizen kills some overbearing cop bully, the media go ballistic: “Cop killer, cop killer.” The screaming doesn’t stop until the cop killer is executed.

As long as a brainwashed public continues to accept that cop lives are more precious than their own, citizens will continue to be brutalized and murdered by police psychopaths.

I can remember when the police were different. If there was a fight, the police broke it up. If it was a case of people coming to blows over a dispute, charges were not filed. If it was a clear case of assault, unless it was brutal or done with use of a weapon, the police usually left it up to the victim to file charges.

When I lived in England, the police walked their beats armed only with their billysticks.

When and why did it all go wrong? Among the collection of probable causes are the growth or urban populations, the onslaught of heavy immigration on formerly stable and predictable neighborhoods, the war on drugs, and management consultants called in to improve efficiency who focused police on quantitative results, such as the number of arrests, and away from such traditional goals as keeping the peace and investigating reported crimes.

Each step of the way accountability was removed in order to more easily apprehend criminals and drug dealers. The “war on terror” was another step, resulting in the militarization of the police.

The replacement of jury trials with plea bargains meant that police investigations ceased to be tested in court or even to support the plea, usually a fictitious crime reached by negotiation in order to obtain a guilty plea. Police learned that all prosecutors needed was a charge and that little depended on police investigations. Police work became sloppy. It was easier simply to pick up a suspect who had a record of having committed a similar crime.

As justice receded as the goal, the quality of people drawn into police work changed. Idealistic people found that their motivations were not compatible with the process, while bullies and psychopaths were attracted by largely unaccountable power.

Much of the blame can be attributed to “law and order” conservatives. Years ago when New York liberals began to observe the growing high-handed behavior of police, they called for civilian police review boards. Conservatives, such as National Review’s William F. Buckley, went berserk, claiming that any oversight over the police would hamstring the police and cause crime to explode.

The conservatives could see no threat in the police, only in an effort to hold police accountable. As far as I can tell, this is still the mindset.

What we observed in the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing suggests that the situation is irretrievable. One of the country’s largest cities and its suburbs–100 square miles–was tightly locked down with no one permitted to leave their homes, while 10,000 heavily armed police, essentially combat soldiers armed with tanks, forced their way into people’s homes, ordering them out at gunpoint. The excuse given for this unprecedented gestapo police action was a search for one wounded 19-year old kid.

That such a completely unnecessary and unconstitutional event could occur in Boston without the responsible officials being removed from office indicates that “the land of the free” no longer exists. The American population of the past, suspicious of government and jealous of its liberty, has been replaced by a brainwashed and fearful people, who are increasingly referred to as “the sheeple.”

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About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

Corrupt Attorneys Being Held Accountable, Finally!

Courts

Judges Slam More and More Plaintiffs’ Attorneys for Corruption

March 13, 2014

Peasants in Leon, Nicaragua, march in 2007 to denounce the use of harmful pesticides at banana plantations

Photograph by Miguel Alvarez/AFP via Getty Images

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-13/judges-slam-more-and-more-plaintiffs-attorneys-for-corruption#p1

Peasants in Leon, Nicaragua, march in 2007 to denounce the use of harmful pesticides at banana plantations

On March 7 a California appellate court upheld a trial judge’s finding that what had been billed as a watershed liability verdict against Dole Food over pesticide use in Nicaragua was actually the product of a conspiracy by corrupt plaintiffs’ lawyers. That decision came only three days after a federal judge in New York ruled that a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment against Chevron (CVX) in 2011 was so tainted by bribery and coercion that it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Meanwhile, in Texas, a prominent class-action injury lawyer faces mounting woes because of allegations that he faked thousands of damage claims against BP (BP)related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. When you combine these cases with the criminal convictions several years ago of plaintiffs-bar titans Mel Weiss, Bill Lerach, and Dickie Scruggs—all of whom served time for corrupting the civil justice system—it’s hard to deny that there’s deep dysfunction within a powerful portion of the legal profession that claims to fight corporate abuse on behalf of the little guy.

A look at the Dole ruling illustrates the point. The California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles affirmed dismissal of one of a series of suits filed against Dole, alleging the company’s use of pesticides in Nicaragua left banana workers sterile in the late 1970s. In all, these suits resulted in billions of dollars in judgments against Dole.

The case at issue in the March 7 ruling, known as Tellez, went to trial in 2008 and produced a multimillion-dollar verdict for workers. That verdict was thrown out when Dole’s attorneys proved that many of the plaintiffs never worked for the company and weren’t, in fact, sterile. Witnesses and investigators were intimidated in Nicaragua, and plaintiffs were coached to concoct false stories. One supposed victim testified that he was instructed to memorize and repeat phony evidence “like a parrot.”

 

Plaintiffs’ lawyers and law firms are major political contributors, particularly to Democrats

The California appellate court said the trial judge correctly sent the Tellez plaintiffs packing. The ruling was a win for the Los Angeles firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which has engineered the negation of multiple pesticide verdicts against Dole. That accomplishment prompted Chevron to hire Gibson Dunn to fight back against a $19 billion oil-contamination judgment imposed by an Ecuadorean court in 2011. In the Chevron case, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of New York ruled on March 4 that plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Donziger turned his Ecuadorean lawsuit against the oil company into a racketeering scheme, complete with extortion, bribery of judges, and fabrication of evidence. Donziger has denied wrongdoing and vowed to appeal.

Mass-tort and class-action securities-fraud suits reached their apogee in the 1990s, fueled in part by the energy and ingenuity of an elite fraternity of plaintiffs’ firms and individual lawyers, some of whom became phenomenally wealthy as a result of their success. There’s nothing necessarily wrong, of course, with plaintiffs’ attorneys doing well along the path to doing good, just as there’s nothing necessarily improper with corporate-defense lawyers getting richly paid.

But as the plaintiffs’ bar achieved lucrative triumphs in asbestos litigation and the tobacco cases, some of its leaders lost their bearings. Scruggs, who earned a fortune in both of those arenas, pleaded guilty in 2008 to crimes related to a judicial bribery scheme. Weiss and Lerach, impresarios of securities-fraud class actions, went to prison for paying kickbacks to shareholder plaintiffs-for-hire. Last year the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the disbarment of Stanley Chesley, a scourge of the pharmaceuticals and chemicals industries, among others. Chesley allegedly sought “unreasonable” fees in the settlement of a diet drug class action against Wyeth, now part of Pfizer (PFE).

Mikal Watts of San Antonio ranks among the nation’s most feared mass-injury lawyers. In the wake of the BP oil spill four years ago, his firm filed some 40,000 claims on behalf of deckhands and others alleging economic harm from the disaster that killed 11 rig workers and sullied the Gulf Coast. Last December, BP hit back, accusing Watts of seeking to shake down the company by filing claims for thousands of “phantom” clients who didn’t fit his description of them or didn’t exist at all. Then, in January, another well-known mass-tort attorney, Danny Becnel of Louisiana, filed a separate suit against Watts on behalf of Vietnamese American fishermen and business owners who say Watts used their names without authorization. Watts last year resigned from the plaintiffs’ steering committee helping to direct the litigation against BP after media reports that federal agents had searched his offices in connection with the phantom-claims scandal. The federal criminal probe is continuing. Watts, a major fundraiser for the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, has denied any wrongdoing—civil or criminal. His lawyers have said all his filings against BP were made in good faith.

Despite the egregiousness of the plaintiffs’ bar abuses, there’s little chance that Congress will enact tort reform anytime soon, says Victor Schwartz, a lobbyist for business on the issue and a partner in Washington with law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Plaintiffs’ lawyers and law firms are major political contributors, particularly to Democrats, who have fought attempts to cap settlements in big corporate liability cases and class actions. Lawyers spent about $135 million in 2012 helping to elect Democrats, compared with $56 million for Republican candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money. “There have been no major business civil justice victories [in Congress] for almost a decade,” Schwartz says. Likewise, President Obama has shown little interest in taking on attorneys who invested $28 million in his reelection effort in 2012, more than twice what they gave Mitt Romney, according to the center. And bar associations and state attorneys general rarely seek to prosecute litigation fraud, which is expensive to pursue and politically fraught. As a result, says Sherman Joyce, president of the corporate-funded American Tort Reform Association, “too many plaintiffs’ lawyers believe there’s not much risk in filing fraudulent suits.”

The bottom line: Dole and Chevron have won major court victories after federal judges ruled that plaintiffs’ lawyers engaged in fraud.

Barrett_190
Barrett is an assistant managing editor and senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek. His new book, Law of the Jungle, which tells the story of the Chevron oil pollution case in Ecuador, will be published by Crown in September 2014. His most recent book is GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun.

Never Ending Foreclosures

      Foreclosure filings were reported on 124,419 U.S. properties in January 2014, an 8 percent increase from December but still down 18 percent from January 2013.  Foreclosure filings were reported on 1,361,795 U.S. properties in 2013, down 26 percent from 2012 and down 53 percent from the peak of 2.9 million properties with foreclosure filings in 2010.  But still, 9.3 million U.S. residential properties were deeply underwater representing 19 percent of all properties with a mortgage in December 2013, down from 10.7 million homes underwater in September 2013.[1] 

            In 2006 there were 1,215,304 foreclosures, 545,000 foreclosure filings and 268,532 Home Repossessions.  By 2007 foreclosures had almost doubled – up to 2,203,295 with 1,260,000 foreclosure filings and 489,000 Home Repossessions.  2008 saw an even further increase to 3,019,482 foreclosures, 2,350,000 Foreclosure filings and 679,000 Home Repossessions.  In 20093,457,643 foreclosures, 2,920,000 foreclosure filings, and 945,000 Home Repossessions.  2010:  3,843,548 foreclosures, 3,500,000 foreclosure filings, and 1,125,000 Home Repossessions.  2011:  3,920,418 foreclosures, 3,580,000 foreclosure filings, and 1,147,000 Home Repossessions.  Then January to September 20121,616,427 foreclosures 1,382,000 foreclosure filings and 572,844 Repossessions.  The remainder of 2012 – September through December saw an additional 2,300,000 foreclosures, 2,100,000 foreclosure filings and 700,000 Repossessions.  In other words, from 2006 through 2012, there were a total of  21,576,117 foreclosures; 17,637,000 foreclosure filings; 5,926,376 Home Repossessions.  The foreclosures added to the repossessions is equal to:  27,502,493[2].  The numbers are staggering.

            Many of the homes have been wrongfully foreclosed upon, where either the party had not been in default, or the foreclosing party lacked standing to foreclose.  It has become almost as lawless as the wildwest, or comparable to a shark feeding frenzy.


[1] All of the foreclosure figures came from RealtyTrac:  http://www.realtytrac.com/content/foreclosure-market-report

[2] http://www.statisticbrain.com/home-foreclosure-statistics/Statistic Verification  Source: RealtyTrac, Federal Reserve, Equifax

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