A November 20th foreclosure ruling could decide TJ Fisher’s fate ahead of $70M jury trial vs. the bank
Bank of America’s ongoing alleged “bad faith” delay tactics and discovery stonewall in author TJ Fisher’s explosive $70 million lawsuit against the bank have stretched the case into four years. Now flat broke and $27 million in debt, former-millionaire Fisher faces the possibility of no roof over her head before a jury finally has the opportunity to pass judgment on the Too Big To Fail banking titan. The bank’s Motion for Continuance postponed the author’s hard-won August 18, 2014 jury trial against the financial giant. The headliner case remains off the jury trial docket. Now the bank foreclosure of Fisher’s ocean block home got slotted into the court calendar before her pivotal eye-pop saga of how Wall Street banking royalty broke all the rules to create an American horror story. Judge Catherine M. Brunson is assigned to both intertwined cases.
Ex-Baltimore Raven’s football player Michael McCrary’s 2007 $60 million lawsuit and subsequent Maryland default judgment of $33.3 million against Fisher goes to the heart of Fisher’s suit against Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). Fisher’s head-spin tale spans 15 courts between New Orleans and Palm Beach to rest with a 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida grand finale.
Judge Brunson is the longtime presiding judge in Fisher’s drawn-out battle against the bank and the judge who granted the jury trial continuance in the Fisher vs. Bank of America court proceedings. She is also now the adjudicator on the non-jury foreclosure case. Judge Brunson was assigned to hear Fisher’s foreclosure case by judicial rotation.
Fisher’s weird “movie of the week” sweeping legal and financial drama with McCrary began with Hurricane Katrina and 2006 core bank-rule-breaking limited liability company transactions between the bank’s Palm Beach Branch Manager and Vice President Peter Kafouros and Fisher’s spouse. The bank’s complicity in a conversion of funds is undisputed. The bank settled McCrary’s lawsuit against them in 2011, two months after Fisher hit the megabank with a negligence lawsuit for opening an undocumented account that allowed converted funds to funnel through her life.
In the wake of Fisher’s attorney Patrick W. Maraist, Esq. unearthing 100,000 pages of undisclosed relevant bank documents in her main case against the bank — key material yet to be produced in contempt of Judge Brunson’s court order to open records — Fisher fears the bank may never face a jury. “Bank of America obstructs discovery to stall and string the timeline into infinity. They have the money, might and influence to do it, to crush people and break them financially. The November foreclosure bench trial ahead of the jury trial against the bank jeopardizes my case,” Fisher says.
The flip-flop of court-calendar scheduling favors Big Banking. Resilient Fisher, who has lost everything, is still fighting. Her court pleadings lay out how Bank of America misconduct triggered a hornet’s next of litigation that imploded her life, setting in motion her inescapable plunge from a wealthy woman to penniless.
The unbelievable yet real-life Technicolor saga of Fisher’s smashed socialite storybook life boomerangs between the frayed fringes of a fantastical Southern gothic unraveling—no novelist could pen—and a carnivalesque-themed “Desperate Housewife” reality show. Fisher previously split her time between a Bourbon Street French Quarter residence and her longtime Palm Beach home and drove a big pink ‘59 Cadillac convertible.
If Fisher is foreclosed upon and forced into bankruptcy and her ultimate David vs. Goliath winning streak of negative rulings against Bank of America forfeited, a six-panel jury may never deliberate the evidence and consequential fallout of banking wrongdoing.
Fisher has documented her long and unlikely journey with a series of straight-talk YouTube releases. Her last video installment posted in August says it all: BofA Lawyers Push to Heave-Ho Socialite From Home Before $70M Jury Trial Against Bank.
Fisher’s sole-practitioner attorney Maraist has petitioned Judge Brunson to default Bank of America and hold the financial institution and its attorneys in criminal contempt for bad faith litigation tactics and willful discovery failures. The judge scheduled a November 12, 2014 three-hour default and contempt hearing against the bank one week before she hears the ancillary foreclosure case against Fisher’s home since the 90s — whereas the bank wears the opposite shoe as plaintiff not defendant.
Fisher has struggled to subsist for years to get to jury trial against the Wall Street banking titan, even selling her clothing to survive. At this juncture of a seven-year litigation nightmare, formerly well-heeled Fisher does not even have a vehicle. If forced from her home, she does not know where she would live while awaiting a jury trial.
The bank has waged a war of attrition against Fisher since 2011 to deprive her of a jury via a Motion to Strike Jury Demand but the court granted Fisher a jury trial this year. The bank also recently lost their 11th hour Motion for Summary Judgment against Fisher, filed just days before her main case was set to go to trial.
Ticktin Law Group attorneys Tim Quinones and Michael Vater represent Fisher in the bank’s tangled foreclosure action. The firm’s former Managing Partner Jessica Ticktin recently won a 15th Circuit Court judgeship to commence in January, however Judge Ticktin has not personally represented Fisher in any court proceeding.
Maraist believes Bank of America has “unclean hands” in the foreclosure action and the foreclosure should be stayed until Fisher’s $70 million main case is heard at jury trial. Otherwise Fisher’s case against the bank is prejudiced and impeded, possibly derailed.
Banker Kafouros opened and handled $11 million of authorized account deposits for Fisher’s husband, including inter-account transfers and wires. He also secured bank financing on Fisher’s home, Fisher says. A recent Bank of America 39-page “privilege log” reveals the bank had a 226-page discussion regarding a Fisher property mortgage.
“Bank of America doesn’t want to ever get to jury trial. They fight tooth and nail every step of the way, with a bottomless checkbook,” Fisher explains. “They hope I’ll fade into the twilight. The bank’s bigwigs are taking a gamble I can’t survive a life like in a horror movie to defeat them. Their laughing lawyers already promised to overturn any lower court (trial court) jury verdict award at the appellate level.” Fisher has become a reluctant heroine for others burnt by banks.
She says she remains determined to seek some semblance of justice for her financial devastation and personal ruin. Fisher has nothing left from her “former life” except eight-figure debt obligations. All her assets and personal belongings are gone, just a few personal documents, photographs and a Bible remain. Yet she has lived to tell the tale of impossible circumstances and says others view her as an inspiration. Her indomitable spunk and sense of humor remain in tact. People admire her strength and fortitude in the face of awfulness.
To her, for Bank of America to escape accountability and liability and skate out the side door unpunished for the torment and misery unleashed by improper Big Banking transactions in this blockbuster saga would be an ultimate travesty.
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Florida proceeding with a federal judge and trustee at the helm would likely not force the titan financial institution to jury trial. Although jury decisions are often unpredictable, Fisher says experts believe a jury will relate to this unfathomable but genuine human-interest drama and return a verdict against the megabank. Fisher seeks to recover financially, move forward to rebuild her life away from the shadow of scorched earth litigation and keep a roof over her head.
“Banks dread juries,” Fisher says, “with good reason. Why? The truth comes out and they can’t stop it. Can’t seal it up.”
Award-winning author and “voice” Fisher says, “I want to get back to writing books not fighting lawsuits.” She adds, “Those who thought they could grind me dust were wrong. I’m still here. And I will not be silenced.”
Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi first called “Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail” in his darkly telling 2012 exposé. Bank of America has paid and agreed to more than $77 billion in settlements to resolve legal issues related to the financial crisis, more than any other U.S. bank.
Fisher wonders, will her story have a happy ending? She offers a warning about the dangers inbuilt in truth telling and trying to get to jury against the banking industry. “Big Banking intends to discourage those watching from the sidelines from ever trying to take them to court,” Fisher says. “They believe they can prevail.”
Fisher vows she will not be detoured from her frustrating path against one of our country’s largest banks until she has been vindicated with compensation in-hand. “I will continue to shine a light on Bank of America banking practices. While not pretty—it must be exposed how a bank’s recklessness can ruin people’s lives. They strip you dry down to bone marrow, leave you holding the empty bag, surviving on scraps, while they run for cover. The banking industry’s employee behavior and bad decisions shower down toxic fallout.”
Bank of America shed their ironic 2007 “Bank of Opportunity” slogan campaign to rebrand their public image away from the mire of economic and credit-crisis era bad publicity. The general public is familiar with the bank’s TARP bailout program, toxic mortgages messes, consumer complaints, investor loses, state law enforcement agencies and U.S. Department of Justice lawsuits. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financial markets were among those taken in by the bank’s failure to disclose accurate information and violations of the law.
Fisher still believes in the administration of justice and punishment for the accountable. She accepts as true a simple David’s stone and slingshot can beat a Big 4 bank’s powerful shield and sword, before a jury. In a day of reckoning before unbiased fact finders, bigger is not necessarily better.
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Direct link: http://www.prnewschannel.com/2014/10/23/bank-of-americas-dark-secrets-unwind-southern-authors-life/SOURCE: TJ Fisher
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