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Taking On a Second Mortgage to Pay the Foreclosure Lawyer

Taking On a Second Mortgage to Pay the Foreclosure Lawyer


By DAVID STREITFELD
Published: November 6, 2010

For some Florida residents, the price of getting out of foreclosure will include taking on a second mortgage — payable this time to their lawyers.

The new mortgage, which takes effect only if the foreclosure is dismissed and the homeowner’s debt to the bank is reduced, is controversial among defense lawyers, some of whom call it “creepy” and “crass.” Yet even they acknowledge it offers a solution to a vexing question: How do they get paid?

After recent revelations that banks were sloppy in processing many foreclosures and in some cases lack standing to seize a house, potential clients seeking to challenge their lenders are flocking to lawyers. But while these distressed homeowners might have a case, they generally lack the resources to pay legal fees. Being in foreclosure usually means being broke.

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we use a bit of ingenuity to find an affordable way to represent them?’ ” said Peter Ticktin of the Ticktin Law Group in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “It’s a new model, a new paradigm.”

Foreclosure defense is a new legal specialty whose strategies and techniques are still being worked out. Mr. Ticktin, who has some 3,000 foreclosure clients, says his plan to collect fees by taking another mortgage on his clients’ properties has already been copied by other firms.

The Ticktin mortgages resemble the loans that the clients originally got from Countrywide, GMAC and other lenders. Each will be a contractual obligation with the law firm, labeled as a mortgage and structured like one, too, with the client paying a certain sum every month and using the house as collateral.

Unconventional payment structures are becoming popular in the foreclosure hotbed of Florida. Whether they yet have caught on elsewhere is unclear. Certainly, Mr. Ticktin is far from the only lawyer being forced to innovate.

“We can put in $100,000 of our time but over the length of a case be paid only $6,000 in monthly fees,” said Thomas E. Ice of Ice Legal in Royal Palm Beach.

Mr. Ice, Mr. Ticktin and many other Florida foreclosure lawyers typically receive a few hundred dollars a month from each client. To supplement that, they seek legal fees from the banks they successfully challenge as well as contingency fees.

Contingency fees are standard in cases in which the client has little money but there is the possibility of a large payout. A slip and fall on a store’s wet floor or a medical malpractice claim are classic contingency cases. If the plaintiff wins, insurance companies ultimately foot the bill.

In foreclosure cases, however, the client pays the contingency fee. While such an approach is sometimes used in commercial litigation, this is a first for consumer cases, said Lester Brickman, a professor at Cardozo Law School in New York.

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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FL 4th DCA COURT OF APPEALS REVERSES SUMMARY JUDGMENT: ALEJANDRE v. DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY

FL 4th DCA COURT OF APPEALS REVERSES SUMMARY JUDGMENT: ALEJANDRE v. DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY


JUDITH ALEJANDRE and SERGIO TERRON, Appellants,
v.
DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS

f/k/a BANKER’S TRUST COMPANY, as TRUSTEE
and CUSTODIAN FOR NATIXIS 2007-HE2, Appellee.

No. 4D09-2280.

October 13, 2010 –

Joshua Bleil and Jessica Ticktin of The Ticktin Law Group, P.A.,
Deerfield Beach, for appellants.

No brief filed for appellee.

Judith Alejandre and Sergio Terron (Alejandre) appeal the summary judgment of foreclosure in favor of Deutsche Bank Trust Company. Alejandre asserts that the trial court erred in granting the summary judgment and that they had asserted affirmative defenses which were not denied by Deutsche, dealt with during the hearing on the motion for summary judgment or addressed in the final judgment. We agree and reverse.

Deutsche filed an amended complaint with the necessary documentation alleging that it was entitled to foreclose on the property in question. In Alejandre’s answer to the amended complaint, they asserted as affirmative defenses, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and unclean hands. In moving for summary judgment, Deutsche attached an affidavit stating that it had advanced to Alejandre, and is owed by Alejandre, the sum of $337,567.26. In its motion, however, it did not address any of the pending affirmative defenses. Nonetheless, the trial court granted Deutsche’s motion for summary judgment, prompting this appeal.

“The standard of review of the entry of summary judgment is de novo.” Craven v. TRG-Boynton Beach, Ltd.,925 So.2d 476, 479 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006). Further, [t]he law is well settled in Florida that a party moving for summary judgment must show conclusively the absence of any genuine issue of material fact, and the court must draw every possible inference in favor of the party against whom a summary judgment is sought.” Id. at 479-80. “Summary judgment cannot be granted unless the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file together with affidavits, if any, conclusively show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Frost v. Regions Bank,15 So.3d 905, 906 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).

When a party raises affirmative defenses, “[a] summary judgment should not be granted where there are issues of fact raised by [the] affirmative defense[s] which have not been effectively factually challenged and refuted.” Cufferi v. Royal Palm Dev. Co.,516 So.2d 983, 984 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). Thus, “`[i]n order for a plaintiff . . . to obtain a summary judgment when the defendant asserts affirmative defenses, the plaintiff must either disprove those defenses by evidence or establish the legal insufficiency of the defenses.’” Id. (quoting Bunner v. Fla. Coast Bank of Coral Springs, N.A.,390 So.2d 126, 127 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980)). In such instances, “[t]he burden is on the plaintiff, as the moving party, to demonstrate that the defendant could not prevail.” Id.

In Frost, a bank/mortgagee filed a foreclosure claim against a mortgagor. In response to that complaint, the mortgagors filed an answer that contained the affirmative defense of notice and opportunity to cure. The bank filed a motion for summary judgment. In opposition to that motion, the mortgagors did not file any papers or affidavits. At the hearing, the mortgagors contended that summary judgment was improper because the bank failed to address their affirmative defense. The trial court granted the bank’s motion for summary judgment. Frost, 15 So. 3d at 906.

On appeal, this court reversed. We stated that the bank failed to refute the mortgagors’ affirmative defense of lack of notice and opportunity to cure. The bank failed to meet this requirement because “[n]othing in the bank’s complaint, motion for summary judgment, or affidavits indicate that the bank gave the [mortgagors] the notice which the mortgage required. The bank also did not establish that the [mortgagors’] lack of notice and opportunity to cure defense was legally insufficient.” Id. at 906. This Court held that “[b]ecause the bank did not meet its burden to refute the [mortgagors’] lack of notice and opportunity to cure defense, the bank is not entitled to final summary judgment of foreclosure.” Id. at 906-07.

In the instant case, as in Frost, the trial court’s entry of summary judgment was improper. Here, as in Frost, Deutsche moved for summary judgment, but in that motion, it failed to address affirmative defenses raised by the mortgagor, Alejandre. Because Deutsche failed to address Alejandre’s affirmative defenses, it did not carry its burden on summary judgment. Therefore, the trial court’s entry of summary judgment was erroneous. We do not pass upon the merits of the affirmative defenses, as that is a matter to be addressed in further proceedings.

Reversed and Remanded for Further Proceedings Consistent with this Opinion.

TAYLOR and CIKLIN, JJ., concur.

ALEJANDRE v. DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY

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© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in deutsche bank, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, reversed court decisionComments (3)


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