For those of you who read our blogs often, you know that we often call a foreclosure trial victory sweet but this one is really sweet. This foreclosure client came to Loan Lawyers about 3 years ago after being sued by Nationstar. They had another foreclosure defense attorney in Broward who really botched the case. Their house was due to be sold in 2 weeks, that is until we got involved. We busted the bank with an obvious fraudulent affidavit. How the previous attorney did not see it is beyond me. We immediately filed a motion to vacate the final judgment and to cancel the sale which was granted. The bank had 30 days to amend their foreclosure complaint. They waited about one year. As it turns out, this was the client’s saving grace, as I will explain.
I have never seen a case where a bank flaunts the rules and court orders like this one and I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff. The bank never provided any documents to us despite our sending a Request for Production. They never responded to interrogatories nor did they respond to our Request for Admissions. A Request for Admissions is when we send a document to the bank requiring them to admit or deny certain factual allegations. If a party does not respond within 30 days, they are automatically admitted and the bank is prohibited from introducing testimony or witnesses that contradict the admissions. More on that soon.
So, not only did the bank not comply with the discovery rules and respond to our discovery requests, they jerked us around for 3 years on modifying the loan. This family was not looking for a free house or a free ride. The hit a temporary rough patch and got back on their feet. All they needed was a little cooperation from the bank and they could have began paying their mortgage. The bank played 3 years worth of modification games with us. They would take so long to review the modification that the documents would get a month or two old, so the bank made us update documents constantly. Finally, we had enough and we schedule a mediation so we could sit face to face with the bank and try to get things done. Guess what? The bank never showed up! (They finally showed up at the second one, but were unprepared). After three years, we finally get a response weeks before trial that we did not get documents in on time so they denied the mortgage loan modification. This was infuriating because we had proof they had the documents in time. This is a typical modification nightmare. That was the final straw, it was time for the gloves to come off. I have never seen a bank act this bad time and time again.
So, we were set for trial this week. Pursuant to the trial order, the bank had to produce its exhibits that they intend to introduce at trial. We send a request several weeks before trial, but the bank never responded. We followed up several times, again without a response. Finally, the afternoon before trial the bank started sending documents over. So after three years of foreclosure litigation, the bank first sent its evidence to us less than 24 hours before trial in violation of the trial order and the rules of civil procedure. To make matters worse, they even had the chutzpah to send more documents as I was literally driving on the way to trial. So much for giving a homeowner time to prepare. So, I get to court and ask the court to strike all of their evidence due to late notice. I really thought the judge would agree with me, but I thought wrong. The judge did not want to take such harsh action against the bank and told me I could have a continuance to get more time to prepare. I did not want the continuance because I felt I had the bank right where I wanted them even despite not having proper time to prepare.
Ok, back to the Request for Admissions. As we were walking up to court, the bank handed me their responses to the admissions. Remember, if the bank did not answer within 30 days, then by default they admit everything. So, the bank’s responses were 1 1/2 years late. Thus, their responses are a nullity unless the court allows the bank to file late responses, which I objected to. Fortunately, the judge had enough and although she did not strike their evidence, she did not allow the late response to the request for admissions. So, by default the bank admitted it did not have standing. Game over folks. The bank still wanted to go to trial for some reason. The judge looked at them and asked how in the world they plan on proving their foreclosure case. It was impossible now. After a brief recess and the bank lawyer and witness speaking about the case, Nationstar finally came to its senses and dismissed its foreclosure case. What’s great about this case is that it appears to be past the statute of limitations, thus the bank may NEVER be able to file another foreclosure action against our clients. After everything the bank put this poor family through, the bank deserves what they got. At the end, the bank is the victim of its own delay tactics and I could not be happier for our clients!
Ladies and gentlemen, if you are staring down the barrel of foreclosure, please do not go at it alone. At Loan Lawyers, we are a team of experienced litigators with all of the tools and knowledge necessary to properly defend you. Call our foreclosure defense attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. 1-888-FIGHT-13.
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