In Southern California it is a fact of life; that no matter how ugly deceptive or predatory the mortgage loan; or unjust the foreclosure….. unless the homeowner has 50k or so sitting around to invest in affirmative action litigation the homeowner has not one whit of hope of prevailing against powerful bank interests or fighting back against their aggressive attorneys .
Lets face it; Homeowners and property owners with 50k or more in the bank would typically not choose to litigate, no matter what dirty tricks have been played, even if their property was being progressively devalued until it was upside-down.
It is another fact of life that our Southern California Judiciary; including our State Superior Courts and Federal Bankruptcy Courts and Federal District Courts are all notoriously pro-bank and will typically strike down even the strongest lawsuits filed against the foreclosing lenders by individual homeowners.
KCWP Review of the Kramer Kaslow mass joiner litigation (see notes below) makes it clear that like every predatory lending action brought in Southern California it may be quite a challenge; but a thorough analysis must also take into consideration that the firm of Kramer and Kaslow boasts at least 19 attorneys and scores of paralegals has in its possession the funds generated from the multiple consumers backing it, and in our opinion unless this lawsuit is derailed or sabotaged somehow by mortgage industry interests it will gain enormous public support and may very likely settle.
We feel the action’s weakest point may be its outright allegation that Countrywide caused the housing bubble; after all there were certainly numerous other mortgage industry players who are just as cupable; overall the joiner looks to be founded on solid and supportable facts and makes numerous allegations that are legally sound and can be further developed.
Now we must ask ourselves just how far mortgage industry interests can reach to make certain that this action is prematurely derailed ; for the purpose of ensuring that no more similar mass joiners may be brought by other law firms in the future!
Just to show how supportive our State of California lawmakers are to mortgage industry interests; the California Attorney General is has raided the attorneys of Kramer and Kaslow taken all their files into custody concurrently filing a complaint for redress therein seeking no less than $5 million in sanctions on behalf of consumers!
The AG accusations against Kramer and Kaslow do not seem to allege that the mass joinder at issue has been improperly brought, instead AG accusations are narrowly focused on methods that Kramer and Kaslow purportedly used to solicits client participation.
The California Attorney General action claims that the law firm Kramer and Kaslow is unfairly preying on desperate consumer homeowners in foreclosure by selling participation in bogus “mass joinder” lawsuits and “litigation settlement(s), the AG action states that “No settlements exist and in some cases no lawsuit has even been filed.”
(See to Courthouse News reports.)(link)
Attorney Phillip Kramer, has made it quite clear that his firm was not responsible for any inappropriate solicitation by stating on the record as follows.
“I became aware of the mass mailing piece bearing my firm’s name when I saw it on a public website. I immediately called the toll free number, was outraged to learn that the people handling the calls were falsely purporting to be with my firm, and I asked to speak with a supervisor”
“I confirmed that the mailer was prepared by and sent by a law firm that I know. The mailer was NOT approved by me. I did NOT authorize the mailer. I would NOT have authorized the mailer if I had been asked in advance.”
“My cases are progressing nicely, and I don’t need to mass market every homeowner. I’d rather organically grow my client base.”
“I’m not opposed to representing a large number of clients in my mass joinder cases. In fact, that is the idea of delivering economy of scale to clients and being able to properly litigate against banks. However, I am opposed to careless and aggressive marketing campaigns, and I never was asked, nor did I approve, that law firm to market under my name, and/or to pose as my law firm when speaking with prospective clients.”
“In fact, I have never marketed these mass joinder cases, I have not approved any marketing under my name, nor have I authorized anyone to pose as me or to solicit prospective clients under my name. As I become aware of people doing these things, I confront them and shut them down.”
“I know that Mitchell J. Stein feels the same way about people marketing under his name and he is also stopping offenders as he learns about them.”
“I know of no outbound calling. If asked, I would not approve of that. I knew that some law firms wanted to send out mailers. I have insisted that everyone comply with State Bar rules and that anything with my name must be pre-approved. As of this date, no one has submitted any proposed marketing for my review. That piece was done without my knowledge.
“I am happy to pay a referral fee to other law firms. I do not split fees, pay commissions, nor do I pay referral fees to non-lawyers. I do not use cappers, and have never authorized anyone to robocall, telemarket, spam email, or undertake any mass marketing on my behalf.”
KRAMER AND KASLOW WEBSITE ALLEGES AS FOLLOWS;
Kramer & Kaslow is now asserting your legal rights through “mass action” litigation to force the banks to do what they should have done voluntarily and pay for their predatory lending tactics. The old “loss mitigation” process may not be working any more, but we have a new and better approach, where we aim to force the banks to settle as they face multi-plaintiff “mass joinder” lawsuits of national scope that will seek to give you financial relief if not void your mortgage loan entirely.
KRAMER AND KASLOW MASS JOINDER- summary
KCWC Research shows it costs appox. $5,000 to participate in the mass joiner at issue. A close look at the claims against Kramer and Kaslow reveal that a Marketing Organization who may has been either retained by Kramer and Kaslow or retained by parties determined to shut down the mass joiner (depending on whom you listen to) circulated inappropriate flyers and used promises of settlement to procure clients.
In our opinion if marketers and telemarketers were indeed retained by Kramer and Kaslow to screen clients; and paid a finders fee for each client it is very likely that salesman being salesman and determined to make a commission; unacceptable solicitation was bound to occur.
After all similar salesmanship of predatory Sub-Prime Mortgage loans to the unsophisticated consumer borrower is exactly how the Housing Crises was facilitated in the first place. Apparently these same consumers’ are similarly being sold participation in the lawsuit below for $5,000.00.
The core case used in the Kramer and Kaslow mass joinder lawsuit is: Ronald vs. Bank of America. Which accuses Countrywide (subsequent cases being filed include Citibank, One West, GMAC/Ally Bank, and perhaps others) created a fraudulent scheme through massive sale of questionable and unsustainable sub-primes immediately sold downstream through line of credit securitization intentionally perpetrating a massive fraud upon homeowners by use of knowingly inflating appraisals, always intending to create a bubble the bank knew would pop and leave homeowner equity devastated, enabling a second level of profit through foreclosure, always planning that real estate values would drop to insure bank profits.
Here’s an overview of what the third amended complaint says in its Introduction section:
2. This action seeks remedies for the foregoing improper activities, including a massive fraud perpetrated upon Plaintiffs and other borrowers by the Countrywide Defendants that devastated the values of their residences, in most cases resulting in Plaintiffs’ loss of all or substantially all of their net worths.
6. Hand-in-hand with its fraudulently-obtained mortgages, Mozilo and others at Countrywide hatched a plan to “pool” the foregoing mortgages and sell the pools for inflated value. Rapidly, these two intertwined schemes grew into a brazen plan to disregard underwriting standards and fraudulently inflate property values – county-by- county, city-by-city, person-by-person – in order to take business from legitimate mortgage-providers, and moved on to massive securities fraud hand-in-hand with concealment from, and deception of, Plaintiffs and other mortgagees on an unprecedented scale.
7. From as early as 2004, Countrywide’s senior management led by Mozilo knew the scheme would cause a liquidity crisis that would devastate Plaintiffs’ home values and net worths. But, they didn’t care, because their plan was based on insider trading – pumping for as long as they could and then dumping before the truth came out and Plaintiffs’ losses were locked in.
9. It is now all too clear that this was the ultimate high-stakes fraudulent investment scheme of the last decade. Couched in banking and securities jargon, the deceptive gamble with consumers’ primary assets – their homes – was nothing more than a financial fraud perpetrated by Defendants and others on a scale never before seen. This scheme led directly to a mortgage meltdown in California that was substantially worse than any economic problems facing the rest of the United States. From 2008 to the present, Californians’ home values decreased by considerably more than most other areas in the United States as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ scheme set forth herein.
This massive fraudulent scheme was a disaster both foreseen by Countrywide and waiting to happen. Defendants knew it, and yet Defendants still induced the Plaintiffs into their scheme without telling them.
10. As a result, Plaintiffs lost their equity in their homes, their credit ratings and histories were damaged or destroyed, and Plaintiffs incurred material other costs and expenses, described herein. At the same time, Defendants took from Plaintiffs and other borrowers billions of dollars in interest payments and fees and generated billions of dollars in profits by selling their loans at inflated values.
14. Since the time Plaintiffs filed the initial Complaint herein, Defendants’ improper acts have continued, including, inter alia: (i) issuing Notices of Default in violation of Cal. Civil Code §2923.5; (ii) misrepresenting their intention to arrange loan modifications for Plaintiffs, while in fact creating abusive roadblocks to deprive Plaintiffs of their legal rights; and (iii) engaging in intrinsic fraud in this Court and in Kentucky by stalling in addressing Plaintiffs’ legitimate requests to cancel notices of default and for loan modifications, and by refusing to respond, in any way, to Plaintiffs’ privacy causes of action.
Our review of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s online records database we find these events have transpired to-date or are set for the near future…
1. Original complaint was filed in March 2009.
2. First amended complaint was in June of 2009.
3. Second amended complaint March 2010.
4. August 2010: the banks try to remove the case to federal court, but fail.
5. Third amended complaint was filed July 7, 2010.
6. The defendant’s demurred.
7. Status conference set for Thursday, February 3rd, 2011.
8. There is also a hearing date scheduled for March 29, 2011.
Summary of the mass joinder’s causes of action.
First Cause of Action… Fraudulent Concealment –
Second Cause of Action… Intentional Misrepresentation –
Third Cause of Action… Negligent Misrepresentation –
Fourth Cause if Action… Invasion of Constitutional Right to Privacy –
Fifth Cause of Action… Violation of California Financial Information Privacy Act –
Sixth Cause of Action… Civil Code 2923.5 –
Seventh Cause of Action… Civil Code 1798 –
Eighth Cause of Action… Unfair Competition Against All Defendants –