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GMAC LLC vs. LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN Battle it out in Federal Court

GMAC LLC vs. LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN Battle it out in Federal Court


Mortgage Fraud

GMAC Mortgage, LLC
Law Offices of David J. Stern

Action Date: August 12, 2011
Location: FT. Lauderdale, FL

GMAC Mortgage, LLC filed counterclaims in a federal court lawsuit brought against GMAC by its former lawyers, The Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. (“Stern”). The case, No. 11-CV-61526, was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, where Stern’s offices were located.

GMAC accuses Stern of gross legal malpractice, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act and Misrepresentation/Suppression. GMAC seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

GMAC alleges that Stern:

1. caused or permitted Stern employees to execute, witness and/or notarize assignments of mortgage that were back-dated;

2. caused or permitted Stern’s employees to witness and/or notarize assignments of mortgages, affidavits of indebtedness and/or other affidavits on a daily basis prior to and without actually witnessing execution of the document by the person whose signature was to be witnessed and/or notarized;

3. caused or permitted Stern’s employees to prepare and execute affidavits of indebtedness for submission to the foreclosure court that failed to follow appropriate professional practices and procedures;

4. caused or permitted Stern’s employees to sign the name of another person on various foreclosure-related documents without any indication of that fact on the documents;

5. charged GMAC substantial fees and costs for legal services that Stern knew or should have known fell below the minimum standard of professional care owed by Stern to GMAC; and

6. committed acts or omissions that have subjected GMAC to claims, losses and liabilities of third-parties.

Essentially, GMAC claims that Stern’s malpractice carrier should be held responsible for all of the allegedly fraudulent acts of Stern’s office manager, Cheryl Samons, and other Stern employees who signed mortgage assignments and affidavits to push through foreclosures at record-breaking speed.

On July 27, 2011, Stern filed its Answer to these GMAC claims including the following:

“ 9. GMACM’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the doctrine of unclean hands because of GMACM’s: breach of contract; failure to retain replacement counsel in a timely manner; signing inaccurate affidavits; affidavits that were not properly notarized; not confirming whether loan and mortgage documents were properly endorsed; assigned or in possession of the appropriate party; and other misconduct identified in the Consent Order entered on April 13, 2011 by Order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the FDIC, and because, to the extent DJSPA committed legal malpractice, which is expressly denied, any such malpractice was the result of GMACM’s own actions and/or instructions.”

Homeowners and investors are lost in this battle of the giants. Tens of thousands of Florida homeowners lost their foreclosure cases because of the fraudulent documents produced by GMAC.

These documents most certainly came from Stern, but they also came from GMAC’s own employees, including master-signer Jeffrey Stephan, and employees in many other major foreclosure mills used by GMAC. The Stern defense that “Everybody was doing it” is unfortunately true.

An important question for homeowners and investors is whether GMAC has instructed its new lawyers to advise the Courts and homeowners of these findings.

Malpractice insurance carriers throughout the country could not imagine a more ominous case. Copies of the Counterclaim and Answer are available in the Pleadings section of Fraud Digest.


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BREAKING NEWS | NY Appeals Court Allows Damages For Legal Malpractice Against Steven J. Baum, P.C.

BREAKING NEWS | NY Appeals Court Allows Damages For Legal Malpractice Against Steven J. Baum, P.C.


Decided on February 22, 2011

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

APPELLATE DIVISION : SECOND JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

A. GAIL PRUDENTI, P.J.
REINALDO E. RIVERA
PLUMMER E. LOTT
ROBERT J. MILLER, JJ.
2010-02591
(Index No. 16919/08)

[*1]U.S. Bank National Association, etc., plaintiff,

v

Alan C. Stein, etc., et al., defendants third-party plaintiffs- respondents, et al., defendants; Steven J. Baum, P.C., third-party defendant-appellant, et al., third-party defendant.

Miller, Rosado & Algios, LLP, Mineola, N.Y. (Neil A. Miller and
Christopher Rosado of counsel), for third-party defendant-appellant.
Babchik & Young LLP, White Plains, N.Y. (Marisa C.
Woolridge of counsel), for defendants third-
party plaintiffs-respondents.

DECISION & ORDER

In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for legal malpractice, the third-party defendant Steven J. Baum, P.C., appeals, as limited by its brief, from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (LaMarca, J.), entered December 10, 2009, as denied that branch of its motion, made jointly with the third-party defendant Steven J. Baum, which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the third-party complaint insofar as asserted against it.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

The plaintiff, represented by Steven J. Baum, P.C., and Steven J. Baum, commenced an action against, among others, Alan C. Stein, Gastwirth, Mirsky & Stein, LLP, and Law Office of Alan C. Stein, P.C. (hereinafter collectively the Stein defendants), to recover damages for, inter alia, legal malpractice in connection with the recording of a certain mortgage. The Stein defendants, who had previously represented the plaintiff’s predecessor in interest, commenced a third-party action against Steven J. Baum, P.C., and Steven J. Baum for contribution and/or indemnification. Subsequently, the third-party defendants moved pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the third-party complaint. The Supreme Court, among other things, denied that branch of the motion which was to dismiss the third-party complaint insofar as asserted against Steven J. Baum, P.C. We affirm the order insofar as appealed from.

“Upon a motion to dismiss [for failure to state a cause of action], the sole criterion is whether the subject pleading states a cause of action, and if, from the four corners of the complaint, factual allegations are discerned which, taken together, manifest any cause of action cognizable at law, then the motion will fail” (Maurillo v Park Slope U-Haul, 194 AD2d 142, 145; see Guggenheimer v Ginzburg, 43 NY2d 268, 275). “[T]he court must afford the pleading a liberal construction, accept all facts as alleged in the pleading to be true, accord the plaintiff the benefit of every possible inference, and determine only [*2]whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory” (Breytman v Olinville Realty, LLC, 54 AD3d 703, 703-704; see Morales v AMS Mtge. Servs., Inc., 69 AD3d 691, 692).

The Supreme Court properly determined that the Stein defendants stated a cause of action against the third-party defendant Steven J. Baum, P.C., by asserting, among other things, that Steven J. Baum, P.C., failed to timely correct the legal errors allegedly committed by the Stein defendants in their representation of the plaintiff’s predecessor in interest, despite having sufficient time and an opportunity to do. The third-party complaint alleged sufficient facts which, if true, would establish that Steven J. Baum, P.C., may be liable to the Stein defendants for causing or contributing to the plaintiff’s alleged damages (see Schauer v Joyce, 54 NY2d 1, 6; see also Frederick v Meighan, 75 AD3d 528, 532).
PRUDENTI, P.J., RIVERA, LOTT and MILLER, JJ., concur.

ENTER:

Matthew G. Kiernan

Clerk of the Court

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© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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