“You want to call it God, you can call it God,” Mr. Eng said. “You want to call it luck, you can call it luck. We just followed the system, and thank God the system worked.”
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: January 10, 2011
With judges looking ever more critically at home foreclosures, they are reaching beyond the bankers to heap some of their most scorching criticism on the lawyers.
In numerous opinions, judges have accused lawyers of processing shoddy or even fabricated paperwork in foreclosure actions when representing the banks.
Judge Arthur M. Schack of New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn has taken aim at an upstate lawyer, Steven J. Baum, referring to one filing as “incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous.”
But New York judges are also trying to take the lead in fixing the mortgage mess by leaning on the lawyers. In November, a judge ordered Mr. Baum’s firm to pay nearly $20,000 in fines and costs related to papers that he said contained numerous “falsities.” The judge, Scott Fairgrieve of Nassau County District Court, wrote that “swearing to false statements reflects poorly on the profession as a whole.”
More broadly, the courts in New York State, along with Florida, have begun requiring that lawyers in foreclosure cases vouch for the accuracy of the documents they present, which prompted a protest from the New York bar. The requirement, which is being considered by courts in other states, could open lawyers to disciplinary actions that could harm or even end careers.
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