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Wednesday
Oct272010

Foreclosure Litigation—James Kowalski

 

The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer's gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment.

Lillian and Robert Jackson stopped paying on their home in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004 when business dropped off at their cleaning company. Eviction might have seemed inevitable when they faced a foreclosure hearing two years later.foreclosure3

But their lawyer, James Kowalski, had the idea of taking a deposition from the signer of the mortgage papers. When a document processor for GMAC Mortgage admitted she routinely signed such papers without being familiar with details of the loans, she was tagged as one of a species now known as robo-signers.

It was a first step in the growth of a legal sub-specialty called foreclosure defense that has sown confusion and turmoil in the housing market. Lawyers in the field now commonly use a technique more identified with corporate litigation: probing depositions, designed to uncover any lapses in judgment, flaws in a process or wrongdoing. In the 23 states where foreclosures entail a court hearing, the bank may be ordered to pay the homeowner's legal bill if a lawyer can convince a judge that the bank has submitted false documents, such as affidavits saying employees personally reviewed the details of loans when they didn't.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal

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Reader Comments (1)

When did it become ok to avoid paying your mortgage for 6 years. It is a sad situation when americans believe that families should remain in homes that they are not paying for, no matter what hardship caused the situation. I was in the same situation and lost my home to foreclosure, but when i realized i could not pay, i called and told them they would need to foreclose. I moved into an apartment with my family half of the size of my home and got by.
October 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConcerned

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