By ABIGAIL FIELD Posted 4:30 PM 02/07/11
An awful lot of attorneys are in deep trouble, two companies will be destroyed, two more will be deeply damaged and a venture capital firm faces big losses, if the allegations in a lawsuit updated Monday are true.
Jonathan and Darlene Thorne accuse the companies, LPS Default Solutions and Prommis Solutions, and their attorneys of having an illegal and fraudulent business model through which non-attorneys secretly practice law and illegally share legal fees. Because many of these fees are for bankruptcy work and are ultimately paid by the debtor, the suit explains, the business model isn’t just illegal — it’s also a fraud on the bankruptcy court system in violation of the the bankruptcy code, rules and processes.
Although many of the basic allegations have been known since last October, when the original suit was filed, the new complaint contains far more detail about some of the companies involved, particularly Prommis Solutions and its venture capital funder, Great Hill Partners. The suit also adds detail about the time pressure LPS Default Solutions puts on its network attorneys, and how that pressure allegedly feeds document fraud in foreclosure filings, whether in state or bankruptcy court. Given LPS’s dominant market position, those pressures have widespread consequences.
LPS and Great Hill Partners have not returned requests for comment about this case. Prommis Solutions general counsel Richard Volentine says: “Our position is pretty much the same as it’s always been. We think the claims are without merit and will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”