Wednesday, March 30, 2011

JPMorgan Chase sues Ben-Ezra – Is it all about the money or some other reason why the lawyers won’t give their client back their files?

It was reported today that JPMorgan Chase Bank filed a lawsuit against foreclosure firm Ben Ezra & Katz. I wrote early last month that this same firm had been fired by Fannie Mae for alleged document process irregularities. Apparently, JPMorgan terminated a foreclosure servicing agreement with Ben Ezra earlier this month, which prompted JPMorgan to demand the return of all foreclosure filing and records in connection with JPMorgan cases. In the lawsuit, the bank is claiming that Ben Ezra has not complied and JPMorgan is now attempting to compel the return of thousands of foreclosure documents. Ben Ezra claims that the firm has been responsive and acting in good faith in response to JPMorgan's requests. The lawsuit complaint states that the law firm refuses to return the files because it claims it is owed $5 million. Notwithstanding the claim of money owed, this lawsuit peaks my interest. I'm interested to know if there are other reasons why Ben-Ezra won't turn over documents. Are there irregularities in these documents that Ben-Ezra doesn't want to JPMorgan to see? I will be watching this closely to see if this dispute will shed any new light on the behavior of the banks and their lawyers that will help my clients. We will see, at least I hope so.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HOA & Condo Association Foreclosure – Keep Making Those Payments

I'm currently representing a client that is being foreclosed on by their condo association. Typically it's the bank that is the foreclosing party. These days, when the association forecloses it is uncommon for anyone other than the association to bid on the unit, as whoever purchases the unit will take title subject to the mortgage. Taking subject to the mortgage means that the bank can subsequently come in and foreclose. One reason the associations goes through this process is because by taking title they are able to rent the unit and recover some of their losses until the bank goes through with their foreclosure. So you're probably asking, who is on the hook now for past unpaid amounts due to the association? Florida law provides that a new unit owner is on the hook for all unpaid assessments that are due before title was transferred. The answer is different if the mortgagee (the bank) takes title to the unit. They are only required to pay the lesser of three amounts specified in the law. Regardless, the association can remove you for not paying maintenance and assessments, so keep up with those payments.