STOPA: Retaining Foreclosure Defense Attorney After Post Judgment

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Retaining Foreclosure Defense Attorney After Post Judgment
Mark Stopa Esq. http://www.stayinmyhome.com

I had an awesome day today, as I was able to get a St. Augustine judge to grant a motion for rehearing, vacate a Final Judgment of Foreclosure, and cancel a pending foreclosure sale. The homeowner tried to defend himself, pro se, lost, and he got a lawyer involved just in the nick of time.

After the hearing, when I got back to the office, a staff member asked me why I don’t accept more foreclosure cases where a Final Judgment of Foreclosure has already been entered. I got this judgment vacated, so it was a legitimate question – particularly since we get inquiries for such cases on a regular basis.

Here’s the problem. No matter how erroneous a Final Judgment of Foreclosure may be, i.e. regardless of the existence of foreclosure-fraud, robo-signers, etc., there are certain procedures that must be followed to get a Final Judgment vacated, failing which it must remain in place.

Specifically, the homeowner has 10 days to move for a rehearing, 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal, and, generally speaking, 1 year to file a 1.540 motion (for things like fraud on the court).

If you don’t meet these deadlines, it doesn’t matter if you’re correct on the merits – you lose. (The only exception is if the judgment is void for something like improper service and that argument wasn’t waived, but that’s relatively rare). You can’t go to the appellate court on day 31; it’s too late. Unfortunately, this is what happens on a regular basis – the homeowner loses the case via entry of a Final Judgment of Foreclosure (having defended the case pro se or not at all), and the sale date is set 60 days out. On day 40 or 50, with the sale approaching, the homeowner realizes he better hire a lawyer. But by then it’s basically too late. Game over.

In theory, you could still file a 1.540 motion, but that’s typically the equivalent of a Hail Mary. And yes, you can still file a bankruptcy, take advantage of the automatic stay, and get the sale cancelled, but that’s basically just a stall – it’s not going to unwind the Final Judgment of Foreclosure.

Hence, as much as I want to help homeowners facing foreclosure, I’m not going to take their money when they essentially have no chance of winning, for procedural reasons. In other words, to answer my staff member’s question, this is why I don’t take many cases post-judgment – typically, the homeowner is procedurally barred from challenging the court’s ruling, even if it’s erroneous.

So what’s the lesson here? Don’t wait to hire a lawyer. Get one right away. Otherwise, it may be too late, even if your arguments have merit.

I don’t think I’ll ever see a better illustration of that than what I saw today.

At the summary judgment hearing, the pro se homeowner argued that summary judgment was inappropriate because discovery was outstanding (in particular his request for production and interrogatories). He was right, too – there are dozens of Florida cases setting forth this proposition of law – but the judge entered summary judgment anyway.

The homeowner hired an attorney, who quickly filed a motion for rehearing. Months later, when the sale got rescheduled, he hired me. I saw the motion for rehearing had been filed, and I like how the homeowner preserved the argument about outstanding discovery, so I took the case. Anyway, at the hearing, the judge made a point of saying that he was perturbed at how the homeowner was pro se and was filing papers that were inartfully drafted. He made a point of this, at length, before granting my motion.

Bear in mind, the argument I made, which the judge agreed with, was the exact same argument the homeowner made, pro se, which the judge rejected. I’d like to think I made the argument more eloquently than my client did, and I supported the argument with case law. But the judge was aware of that line of cases already. Hence, in a sense, I didn’t do anything different than the homeowner did, except he lost and I won.

If you think this is unfair, and the result shouldn’t be different simply because it is argued by a lawyer, I wouldn’t disagree with you. But here’s the point. Judges in foreclosure cases are, in my opinion, more likely to follow the law when a lawyer is arguing for the homeowner. The way I presented the argument, I made it clear to the judge, in a respectful way, that if he didn’t vacate the Final Judgment that I would procure that result in the appellate court. To illustrate, after showing him several cases which reversed judgments where discovery was outstanding, I asked the judge, as an alternative argument, to cancel the sale and stay the case pending appeal. Pro se homeowners just aren’t able to do that, and without the threat of appeal, judges are more likely to what they think is fair. Often, given how many judges feel about foreclosure cases, that is a Final Judgment of Foreclosure.

Think about it this way – if you know your boss is looking over your shoulder while you’re working, aren’t you a little more cautious about crossing your Ts and dotting your Is? That’s my take on how judges are in this context. Judges often don’t want to let pro se homeowners live for free. They’ll often do so if the law requires, but if a lawyer isn’t there showing them the law, they’re more likely to do what they want.

In sum, if you’re wondering how a lawyer can help, remember this case. I made the same argument this pro se homeowner did, but he lost and I won. And if you’re wondering when to hire a lawyer, remember those procedural bars. This homeowner was lucky; many wait too long, and at that point, they’re out of luck.

Mark Stopa Esq.

http://www.stayinmyhome.com

30 Responses

  1. STOPA’s is full of it!

    There is NO statute of limitations on FRAUD in FLorida in 1.540 motion.

    WTF is he talking about? This article is full his measured opinions,and 1/2 truths by Stopa who has been abused by the Rocket Docket Judges in his district, and who seems more concerned about his firms PR than helping Homeowners.

    Hes also wrong about the BK Defense as well. This Guy left out all kinds of stuff like when “Winn Dixie” shows up as creditor on your Proof of Claim, and wants to lift the Stay? Hey Stopa, do you object, or just give up?

    What a tool!

  2. Unfortunately, even good FC defense attorneys are being attacked.

  3. @Faith

    I’ve created a t-shirt—for anyone that’s interested—in my zazzle.com store (you can customize color and style), that reads:

    (front)
    HOMEOWNER WARRIOR
    GOT M.E.R.S.?
    (back)
    livinglies.wordpress.com

    here’s the link: http://www.zazzle.com/homeowner_warrior_got_mers_t_shirt_women_men-235131489799966513

    I hope it’s okay with you, Neil…if not, let me know: cariemac9@gmail.com
    It’s a good way to get the word out…
    If anyone is interested in other items (like a bumper sticker, etc.), with similar wording (or even added artwork), for whatever reason, I would be happy to create them and make them available (there are quantity discounts), in my store—thanks and good luck to all of you!

  4. a) FAS 140 revised SFAS 140 -3

  5. […] STOPA: Retaining Foreclosure Defense Attorney After Post Judgment MOST POPULAR ARTICLES DISCOUNT FOR EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION RUNS OUT ON JUNE 22 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR 2 DAY GARFIELD CONTINUUM CLE SEMINAR GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS – CLICK HERE Retaining Foreclosure Defense Attorney After Post Judgment Mark Stopa Esq. http://www.stayinmyhome.com I had an awesome day today, as I was able to […] […]

  6. Make an investment in all our futures. Try to educate as many people as you can in your community. All of us here have some knowledge about what is happening.
    We are running in circles talking among ourselves.
    WE HAVE POWER IN NUMBERS.
    The media is not going to help.
    Have t-shirts made up that say livinglies-GOT MERS? home owners fighting back, something to get the conversation going.
    Wear them to the grocery store, walking the dog, going to work.
    Get the knowledge out !
    Offer to look up their mortgage online to see if they have MERS.

  7. I agree 1000% Indio007

  8. I disagree with his time limits. There is no time limit for cases that are void ab initio. There are many many many case that fall in that category. Namely cases in which there are no competent fact witnesses to support the judgment. An affidavit sworn “On information and belief” is not competent for a judgment it is only competent to file a complaint.

  9. Where do you think is the starting point for arguing a foreclosure defense.

    As an ex lender and not an attorney –I say the basis in arguments must be straightforward and aimed at the deed of trust. “Read the deed” for its prima facia for pleading. Next is the accrual ; try to discover the correct parties and entitlement under the IRS defined basis in assets.

    Last, read the admissions made in disclosures and extraordinary liberties taken by practioner for the opposition. Its side stepping and counter claim representations are material errors or nothing at all. Its not a violation of the law if the meaning and understanding for the notices are baseless and substituted in for something else.
    m.soliman
    expert.witness@live.com

  10. One other set of cases seems to suggest that a judgment loss or unfair settlement that might be set aside if procured by interference with either the judge or the homeowners’ attorney. I am guessing this relates to right of due process?right to redress grievances?

    Cerainly the writer is absolutely correct about getting an attorney and the relative attention paid by the system to an attorney that atually represents his clients with independence and zeal– however rocket dockets work both ways –defense attorneys may ride the wave—clients must keep an eye on the number of cases they handle and the ration of settlements to dismissals

    THE EASIEST WAY FOR THE SERVICERS TO SUBVERT THE SYSTEM IS TO BRING INTO THEIR CAMP THE supposed “defense attorneys”——unfortunately as we all have seen in diverse contexts these people have no boundaries that they consider sacrosanct including fixing defense counsel —subtly or overtly–the office of mediator is susceptible of use to abuse homeowners. Defense counsel become agreeable mediators for cases involving the servicers –this is a conflict of interest that really should be disclosed –especially if the sevicer is involved with that mediator or might be.

    You can all bet Lynn Syzmoniac, Bless her heart, will never be a likely approved mediator by any servicer in Florida, as an example.

    That big firm that recklessly dragged her son into that case is an example of cowboy litigation–“shoot em up” style that a few of us get—that “special touch” —it is impossible to see that as anything other than intimidation-it just gets worse when they add in the details.

    If that is not a tort of intentional infliction of distress on him it is hard to redefine the term. Apparently their view of her position is that it is appropriate to intentionally inflict distress against a civil defendant-Im not sure that would not be barred in criminal practice. When does zealous representation become abuse ?

  11. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED. WE NEED THE GOVERNMENT TO DO ITS JOB.
    The lawyers dont want to do it because they know the Government does not want to do its job. This in return costs lots of money. If the Government did its job the banksters would run for the hills.

    FBI INFORMS FAMILY THEY BOUGHT STOLEN HOUSE AFTER PAYING MORTGAGE FOR A YEAR.

    http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2011/06/17/fbi-informs-family-they-bought-stolen-house-after-paying-mortgage-for-a-year/

  12. It’s not that the homeowners don’t want a lawyer to help them out in these dire situations, is that if they don’t have enough money to make their mortgage payments, they certainly cannot afford a lawyer. And how many lawyers out there right now that are familiar with this type of financial fraud, really; not many at all! I really wish that enough lawyers or attorneys out there to study the foreclosure law and sep up and out and help as many home owners who are in need of your help. We need more lawyers who are informed, and we need them to be more understanding about the finances of the struggling homeowners. Mr. Stopa, we need you and many more lawyers like you, thank you for helping the homeowners who are facing foreclosures!

  13. Being Offensive is hard after the foreclosure suit is filed. My wife and I would have gotten an attorney. Except I couldn’t afford $6,500 up front to pay a qualified New York City attorney to BEGIN the case.

    So, when we received our FIRST THREAT, “acceleration of the loan” I filed a Small Claims suit for $20.

    My wife and I had applied for a home modification, which of course, this led to a foreclosure action beginning some 10 months later. We didn’t know this was “the usual” when we applied, but after 9 months and 250 calls, we had become well informed.

    I sued in small claims court, inspired by a San Bernidino County, CA BofA customer:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/04/homeowner-beats-bank-of-a_n_804171.html?view=print
    http://www.bigbeargrizzly.net/articles/2010/12/31/news/doc4d1a8b383a4b3903363097.txt

    A Small Claims suit got their attention in our case. BofA started to respond! THEY called US!!! They stopped the Foreclosure actions. They fixed our credit rating that THEY had trashed when they reported us “late” on our payments.

    Understand that we didn’t “WIN” the case. BUT, eventually we got a cash settlement, indemnification of the deed of trust and original note (because we were pretty sure that none of the big banks could find either). We discovered that BofA didn’t want to go INTO ANY COURT. In a nutshell, I told them we would move for Quiet Title or they could settle.

    They settled. Why? I believe they don’t want to be in a position to explain themselves in an offensive court action of any kind and settling is their fallback position rather than being inside a courtroom.’

    BofA could have moved the case out of Small Claims in a heartbeat and at that point I would be forced to find an attorney to handle the arguments in the higher court. I told them that they could move the case but, I would pursue the same arguments as I had shown them. Over a four month period, during which they repeatedly “continued” the case while negotiating with us mostly in good faith…for a change! We settled and dismissed the case in Small Claims.

    But TIMING is everything. You don’t want to be on the defensive without a real attorney who can do well in the courtroom…like our Hero Neal.

  14. Thank Heir Geithner for the lack of homeowner’s aid….he single handedly denied $75 billion bucks from TARP that was earmarked for legal aid/advocacy. This administration has done everything in its power to do nothing helpful for the citizenry, it’s all been for the corporate puppetmasters.

    Everyone who used to be embarassed can now remove the tin foil hat and start shouting to all within ear shot and beyond that theres’s not a single phase of this transfer of wealth from all of us to the elite that wasn’t engineered like a Swiss watch on steroids.

    Not just here, in what used to be the good old USA, but all over the world. And now they’re orchestrating what will be the final act after the great land grab, that is, the involuntary servitude of all of us and our heirs through reduced wages, increased taxation, and the selling off of what used to be our national treasures worldwide. Austerity for us, prosperity for them.

    They are hidden behind a web of corporate dodgeball, owning the banks and all of the Fortune 500. Their grasp is so firm as to have infiltrated every single nation’s government and central banks, bending them easily to their will. They won’t stop until we refuse to stay in their red hotels, stop spending their plastic faux money, stop dying in their wars, stop buying their worthless crap and eating their toxic food. All they know is power, money, and greed. Starve their excesses by cutting off the flow. Let THEM do without from now on. Jump You Fuckers! The world will be a much better place.

  15. I’m with you Judge

    That smug exposition is the best argument for revolution I’ve encountered: from my magic (“eloquent”) lips, he says, to the Great and Glorious Oz’ ears. And justice is truly just an illusion in this strange land.

  16. Carie

    I am so in agreement. And it is not only people in foreclosure. Some have already gone broke paying their mortgages and are just now entering the vortex. I have been told by attorneys who supposedly get it they won’t talk to you unless you are willing to file for bankruptcy, your loan is less than 3 years old (TILA), you have not or are not willing to apply for modification, don’t wish to short sale and so on. And they charge a mint to give that advice. Fight? Sue the lender? For what? Quiet Title? What’s that? “Any litigation is very expensive and you can’t afford it”. “How were you harmed?”. There is no case.” The ones who don’t get it are stuck on keep paying as agreed or get out. In my town they only take very big paying clients. We don’t need Hamp. We need legal aid. There needs to be training for legal aid attorneys specific to illegal pretender mortgages and illegal pretender foreclosures. Govt doesn’t want the precious prentenders challenged though. Rewritten new paper, new fine print contracts as in pretender modifications or “graceful exit” for homeowners is what even our govt agencies want. Very frustrated in a non judicial state. So are we supposed to go pro se and be laughed out of court? Find a template online and try that? More homeowners in this nation than not even if not for long. Maybe we should all just stop paying and make our voices heard.

  17. This sooooooooooooooooooooooo stupid. Of all the people (most of them, anyway), who DON”T HAVE ANY MONEY FOR LAWYERS, it’s the people being foreclosed on! All those “homeowner advocacy groups” should be helping all the victims of this crap. Instead, they try to help them get a “loan mod”…GIVE ME A BREAK!!! I know lawyers need to make a living, too, but for God’s sake, it is impossible for the most in need of help to afford help!!!

  18. @tnharry,

    Your points are well taken. I wouldn’t suggest sitting idly by by any means. I’m in a non-judicial state, I’ve seen on numerous occassions where the “pretender lender’s” apparent fraud does not become evident until a “credit bid” is made and then assigned to a “REMIC TRUST” that closed years earlier. To make matters worse the “pretender lender”, then files a Notice to Vacate in their name, inconsistent with the fact that their interest had already been assigned to the “Remic Trust”. When the Notice to Vacate is challenged, the Remic Trust appears in court as the Note Holder not the PURCHASER. I believe this is an example of facts where the “pretender lender”, who was granted the judgment,standing can be challenged. What are your thoughts?

    I would hope no one in their right mind would be disruptive in a courtroom, you’re right, that would be counter productive. The point is to be a body in the courtroom to keep judges honest. From my personal own experience, the courtroom starts out full, but once my motions come on for hearing, the courtroom is completely empty b/c I’m ALWAYS heard last. I wonder why??? And its not only b/c I’m pro se, other pro se litigants are being heard before me on matters different from foreclosure. So I believe peaceful “spectators” in the courtroom will assist anyone, pro se or attorney, with a judge following the law on the bench.

  19. Rebecca: I feel the same way. I know some don’t have the money to fight and have to do what they can on their own and I do say good for them. I hired an attorney and it isn’t cheap, but I just think of it as making trial payments again (like I did in HAMP), only this time its for my own trial. I’d be paying rent somewhere and throwing the money away or I can stay in my home and fight. I also have seen pro se prejudice in the courtroom and it is not something I would want to be on the receiving end of. I especially feel there are too MANY landmines for the unititiated to try to maneuver in BK court and you have a better chance with a competent attorney representing you. Just my opinion here, don’t mean to piss others off.

  20. @make it happen – I think your idea that the true identity of a pretender lender rendering a judgment void ab initio when the identity comes to light later may have problems. The homeowner can’t simply sit idly by and watch the proceedings hoping to attack after the fact because they may be bound by estoppel issues, laches, and finality of judgment issues. Failure to plead all defenses may come back to bite you after the fact.

    Not sure about the strength in numbers issue. Within reason it may be effective. But if it approaches mob level or there is any sort of disruption in the courtroom, then it quickly becomes counter-productive. I would always recommend hiring an attorney. If that’s not possible, sometimes hiring a court reporter to attend the hearing and make a record has the effect of keeping the judge and opposing counsel more “honest”. In many of the trial level courts, reporters are not provided by the court automatically and transcripts of proceedings are left to the litigants to maintain by the hiring of private court reporters.

  21. 100 % i agree with you. if you do it as pro se, it is so hard to win even if you have merits in your case. I have been to that road and sometimes it is so funny to argue in the court in front of the judge and defendants lawyers.

    the judge wont’ read your complaint if you are a pro se, judge decision were based on defendants argument that you are a deadbeat homeowners. regardless, of the outcome homeowners who represented themselves are always the loser. but in my case, i never give up. san francisco judges are more up to date on foreclosure cases compare to san mateo county judges. the only recourse for pro se is to file an appeal to Appellate Court.

    Mark, where you from? are you in California? attorneys here in California are very expensive.

  22. You must not let this article deter you from doing something Pro Se if you cannot afford the attorney…This case would have been appeal able, because of the preservation of the appeal by objecting to the summary by the Pro Se. The appellate court is where we are going to get our justice I believe because these Judges are looking for application of case law and not whether or not it was “inartfully” (not even sure that is a legitimate word), articulated in the motion.

  23. This is a point I’ve made a countless number of times…This is why homeowners MUST MOBILIZE and use strength in numbers. With numbers come attention, with attention comes a stricter adherence to the law. I don’t believe this a case where a lawyer should be bragging, but should take proper measures to assure those on the bench are following the law no matter who’s in front of them.

    Again, I suggest that homeowners, whether in foreclosure or not, should fill the courtrooms whenever a foreclosure matter is being heard. Witnesses to the proceedings are bound to keep most judges honest…Aren’t they paid by TAXPAYERS, the very homeowners that would be sitting in their courtrooms? Doesn’t that make the “PEOPLE” their boss?

    BTW, I’m not an attorney, but I thought a judgment void ab initio was a nullity no matter when it is challenged. Meaning, the “pretender lender” can be challenged at anytime it becomes evident that they are not the real party in interest, even after judgment? I’m not 100% sure. I could be wrong…does anyone have the answer???

  24. I wholeheartedly agree with Stopa. This is what I’ve been trying to tell people all along. Pro Se’s won’t win because they’re not lawyers.

    Stopa: “Bear in mind, the argument I made, which the judge agreed with, was the exact same argument the homeowner made, pro se, which the judge rejected.”

    If you’re a Pro Se, you won’t win. Ever. And the other side will never settle with you if you’re a Pro Se. Never.

    The courtroom is akin to a Lawyers Guild. If you’re not a member of the club, you don’t have a chance in Hell. The courtroom has its own special set of politics and without a lawyer present you’re persona non grata.

    OK, that’s not fair. Life’s not fair. But this is how it is. Period.

  25. judges shouldnt decide a case based on how a pro se litigant presented his case. if the facts line up, no matter how presented, the judge has a duty to rule in a pro se litigants favor.someone who cannot afford an attorney, even if the law and the facts are on his side, shouldnt be treated like dirt. the court system is simply disgusting in this respect.

  26. NO COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. This article demonstrates exactly how the legal system is set up for lawyers and judges to make money and not, I repeat NOT serve justice. Get ready folks, time to praise God and pass the ammo!

  28. How the Mortgage Industry Bullies Lawyers Who Sue Them (With the Help of PR Outlet Housing Wire)
    One of the striking things, as the mortgage crisis has ground on, is how persistent and to some degree effective the industry incumbents have been in influencing news stories. One can argue they’ve been more successful than the TBTF banks, perhaps because if you can tank the global economy, keep your job, and still continue to pay yourself egregious bonuses, you don’t need to stoop to throttling every bit of negative coverage. The fact that near-urban legends like strategic defaults are trumpeted in the media as if they are a meaningful phenomenon, or that defenses of securitization practices by firms like K&L Gates, which have liability on their legal opinions, dominated the coverage on that issue for quite some time until more and more court decisions showed their analysis to be sorely wanting, illustrates how much spin there is in what purports to be news.

    For instance, the website Housing Wire, which appears to aspire to cover the mortgage/housing space comprehensively, nevertheless has had some pretty telling omissions. You saw nary a peep of the bombshell of a story by lawyer Abigail Field in Fortune, which found that all of the mortgages securitized by Countrywide and a large proportion of those that it serviced had not been transferred to the trusts as stipulated in the pooling and servicing agreements that govern then. As we have discussed in this blog at some length, this has devastating consequences. If the borrowers challenge a foreclosure, unless the judge is bank friendly, they will probably prevail. No one wants the party that would be in a position to foreclose (someone earlier in the securitization chain) to do so; that’s an admission the securities are not mortgage backed at least in part if not in full and the investors were defrauded. And there are no retroactive fixes (why do you think document fabrications have become so common?)

    Similarly, we have commented on how remarkable it is that foreclosure mills all over the US participated in widespread, systematic frauds on courts (robosigining, forgeries, affidavits being filed without the requisite personal knowledge of the affiant, document fabrication) and yet there has been a failure of state bar associations to sanction the attorneys involved.

    But there is a long and proud tradition of small firm attorneys being harassed in various ways when the go up against the big dogs, and attorneys taking on the mortgage-industrial complex are getting their share of it. We know lawyers who do foreclosure defense work who have gotten death threats and had break-ins with the apparent intent to either plant bugs or copy documents (police arrived before a team of six men had gotten very far). Another is to misrepresent the conduct of an attorney in the press, as the Wall Street Journal did in a widely-derided piece on anti-foreclosure attorneys in October of last year (right on the heels of the robosigning scandal becoming national news)

    Another common ruse is filing spurious motions for sanction; even if the lawyer being targeted is confident he will prevail, it still takes time and money to beat back these attacks, which diverts his attention from his pending cases. From an April post, “Housing Wire Again Runs PR Masquerading as News on Behalf of Its Big Client, Lender Processing Services“:

    We decided to return to an example we highlighted earlier this year because as more facts have come to light, it turns out to have been even more egregious than we thought. From an April post, “Housing Wire Again Runs PR Masquerading as News on Behalf of Its Big Client, Lender Processing Services“:

    The very fact that this item “LPS fires back with motion seeking sanctions against Alabama attorney,” was treated as a news story by Housing Wire is further proof that Housing Wire is above all committed to promoting client and mortgage industry interests and only incidentally engages in random acts of journalism.

    LPS is desperate to create a shred of positive-looking noise in the face of pending fines under a Federal consent decree, mounting private litigation, and loss of client business under the continued barrage of bad press. Housing Wire, who has LPS as one of its top advertisers, is clearly more than willing to treat a virtual non-event as newsworthy to help an important meal ticket.

    The Housing Wire article, which was unusually long and one sided ran two accusations against Alabama attorney Nick Wooten:

    LPS’ motion alleges that Wooten took confidential information that he received in the Wood case and then systematically used that confidential information to file multiple “cookie cutter” lawsuits against LPS in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Kentucky. LPS also claims he violated a “nondisparagement” addendum multiple times with scandalous allegations, even referring to LPS and its division LPS Default Solutions as the proverbial “devil himself” in court pleadings.

    Wooten won the sanctions case. We were surprised that LPS had asked to have the hearing transcript sealed, which the judge tartly nixed in its ruling. We decided to get a copy and it does not reflect well on LPS and Housing Wire:

    Wood v. Option One May 9, 2011 Hearing Transcript (Wooten Sanctions Hearing)

    Get this:

    1. Wooten was being accused in the sanctions motion of having violated a confidentiality agreement. As we discussed in our post, this was a ridiculous claim; the exhibit LPS was arguing over was public information and had been widely disseminated. You can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle and try to say that public information is a state secret.

    2. Yet confidential information from the sanctions hearing itself was sent to Housing Wire immediately after the hearing took place and was the basis of the attack piece on Wooten

    3. One of the two major attacks made on Wooten was completely false. He had never signed a non-disparagement agreement and hence could not be guilty of violating it

    In the hearing, the attorney for LPS said that they had been in talks with Housing Wire and said that the would “destroy any electronic submission sent to them on behalf of LPS and any physical tangible documents that they have related to either the motion or the exhibits.” Wooten pointed out that that horse has already left the barn and was now in the next county:

    Moreover, the original article has neither been removed or corrected. So much for Housing Wire’s dedication to accuracy.

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