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Mumford West & Snow Bring New Class Action Against Lawyers for Bank of America and ReconTrust One Month After Utah Attorney warned of legal action.

July 08, 2011

The Salt Lake City-based law firm Mumford West & Snow, LLC , today announced the filing of a class action lawsuit against the lawyers for Bank of America and its wholly own subsidiary ReconTrust, N.A. for conducting thousands of unauthorized foreclosures in the state. The lawsuit, filed in Utah’s Third Judicial District, is the latest development in an intense, ongoing legal battle in a state where the Utah legislature has recently enacted new civil penalties to assist aggrieved homeowners fighting illegal foreclosures and Utah’s Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, publicly announced that ReconTrust was not in compliance with Utah law.

Lead counsel Marcus R. Mumford explained, “These parties have demonstrated a long standing pattern of illegal activity in taking thousands of homes from Utah homeowners in unauthorized foreclosures. They continue to kick people out of their homes claiming that they are not required to follow Utah law. We intend to put a stop to that.”

The lawsuit, Case No. 110409402 now before Utah Third District Judge Andrew H. Stone, is the first class action suit filed after the recently enacted changes to Utah law. Attorney Tyson B. Snow explains, “We recently met with the Utah Attorney General’s office on this issue and it is our understanding that one of the purposes of the new law is to encourage this very type of lawsuit.” Mumford West & Snow attorneys also intend to seek a statewide restraining order and a preliminary injunction prohibiting the named defendants from conducting any additional foreclosure sales within the state.

Utah’s new law awards $2,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, and attorney’s fees to homeowners who have been subject to an unauthorized foreclosure conducted by “unauthorized persons.” According to the lawsuit, in the past month, ReconTrust has foreclosed on approximately 200 properties and currently has more than 800 foreclosure sales scheduled in the coming months. The newly filed lawsuit also alleges that lawyers for Bank of America and ReconTrust violate Utah law each time they conduct these foreclosure sales. Utah homeowners who have been foreclosed on by ReconTrust or who may currently be facing a wrongful foreclosure can contact Mumford West & Snow through the firms website at

Mumford West & Snow ( is a Salt Lake City based firm that specializes in representing entrepreneurs, businessmen, executives and individual clients, in Utah and around the country, in complex civil and criminal litigation. The firm handles both defense work and plaintiff’s litigation for clients ranging from individuals and small enterprises to major corporations.

Mumford West & Snow has been called “one of Salt Lake City’s leading new firms in high-profile litigation.”

If you’d like more information about this release, or to schedule an interview with an attorney at Mumford West & Snow, please call 801-599-0020 or email contact(at)mumfordwest(dot)com.

25 Responses

  1. From: “Alexander, Kristin (ATG)”

    Date: August 5, 2011 11:42:57 AM PDT


    Subject: Washington Attorney General sues ReconTrust for illegal foreclosures

    Reply-To: “Alexander, Kristin (ATG)”

    Rob McKenna
    1125 Washington Street SE · PO Box 40100 · Olympia WA 98504-0100

    Aug. 5, 2011

    Washington Attorney General sues ReconTrust for illegal foreclosures

    McKenna raps trustee’s claim that it doesn’t have to abide with state law

    SEATTLE – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that his office is suing ReconTrust Company, a subsidiary of Bank of America, for conducting illegal foreclosures on thousands of Washington homeowners.

    “ReconTrust ignored our warnings, repeatedly broke the law and refused to provide information requested during our investigation,” McKenna said. “ReconTrust’s illegal practices make it difficult, if not impossible, for borrowers who might have a shot at saving their homes to stop those foreclosures.”

    ReconTrust is a foreclosure trustee that is legally required to act as a neutral party on behalf of both the lender and the borrower while conducting foreclosure proceedings in good faith and in accordance with the law.

    The lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court by McKenna and Assistant Attorney General Jim Sugarman, of the office’s Consumer Protection Division, alleges that “ReconTrust has failed to comply with the Washington Deed of Trust Act, RCW 61.24, in each and every foreclosure it has conducted since at least June 12, 2008.” The company is also accused of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

    The Attorney General’s Office announced the suit during a news conference held outside a foreclosed home in Seattle. McKenna and Sugarman were joined by two women whose homes were foreclosed by ReconTrust and several private attorneys who are also concerned about ReconTrust’s actions.

    “My home is being foreclosed on. The situation has caused great pain for my son and myself,” said Myra Cole, a single mother from Spanaway who struggled to find employment after a layoff. Her loan servicer was reviewing her Spanaway home for a loan modification when ReconTrust sold the house at foreclosure.

    “I couldn’t understand how this could have happened,” Cole continued. “I got the run-around. I just can’t believe that the company that’s supposed to be helping me is foreclosing on me. … We are trying to save our homes. We’re doing the steps they tell us. In the end, it’s all for nothing. It’s an injustice.”

    Ruby Barrus told a similar story about the home where she and her husband live in Marysville. During a time of financial hardship, their loan servicer promised not to foreclose while they worked out a loan modification.

    “Our payments were never late,” Barrus said, adding that they only stopped making payments because the bank indicated they needed to default to qualify for the modification. “We just figured they knew what they were doing because they were our servicer. … Months later, we get a letter from ReconTrust saying they’re our foreclosure attorneys. We had never heard of them.”

    Both women are in court battles to keep their homes.

    McKenna said an essential requirement of the Deed of Trust statute is that a trustee maintains an office in the state where homeowners can go to ask questions, make last-minute payments and request a foreclosure be postponed for a legitimate reason. But ReconTrust doesn’t have an office in Washington.

    “ReconTrust’s claim that the company doesn’t have to follow Washington law and procedures because it is a national bank is wrong,” McKenna added.

    The Attorney General’s Office alleges the company:

    · Failed to maintain a physical office with telephone service in Washington.

    · Failed to identify the actual owner of the promissory notes being foreclosed.

    · Provided confusing information regarding how borrowers defaulted and how they can cure that default.

    · Failed to conduct foreclosures in a public place, instead holding them at private sites including an office park in Bellevue.

    · Created or permitted the use of documents that were improperly executed, notarized or sworn to. Sugarman said notices and agreements contained conflicting dates and improper notarizations and ReconTrust employees sometimes signed as officers of other entities.

    · Failed to exercise its duty of good faith toward the borrower by deferring solely to the lender when deciding whether to postpone a foreclosure.

    The complaint states that homeowners facing foreclosure are “captive to ReconTrust’s services” and that the company’s failures to abide by the law have concealed material information needed by homeowners to assert rights and defenses, negotiate a loan modification, cure defaults, and postpone or stop a foreclosure sale.

    Sugarman said, “It is particularly important right now for trustees to understand and strictly comply with Washington foreclosure law. There have been several changes including a new right for homeowners to request mediation to discuss a possible loan modification or forbearance before the bank pursues foreclosure.”

    The complaint asks that the court require ReconTrust to comply with the law and impose civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation, as well as restitution for consumers.

    Based on information obtained during its investigation, the Attorney General’s Office estimates that ReconTrust has issued 9,900 foreclosure notices since January 2008 in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties alone. ReconTrust forecloses across the state. It’s unknown how many of those foreclosures violated homeowner rights, although the Attorney General’s Office believes the problems are systematic and widespread. It’s also unknown how many foreclosures may have been prevented had ReconTrust complied with laws.

    In May 2010, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division began investigating reports of lenders and trustee services not properly reviewing foreclosure documents or following other legal procedures. McKenna sent letters in October 2010 and April 2011, outlining concerns and calling on trustees to suspend questionable foreclosures in the state. The office is investigating more than a dozen other trustees for suspected violations.

    The office also remains very involved with the multistate investigation into problems in the foreclosure industry.

    For more information about these investigations and resources for homeowners, including new mediation rights, visit

    Private lawsuits against ReconTrust have been filed in Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Arizona concerning its role in foreclosures in those states, as well as by private attorneys in Washington. The Attorney General of Utah sent a public letter to Bank of America threatening suit if ReconTrust continued to violate Utah foreclosure law.


    ReconTrust Complaint

    This link lists properties that are listed for sale or have been sold by ReconTrust:

    – 30 –

    Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432, cell: (206) 437-2654,

    Editor’s Note: AG McKenna is available for interviews until 12:30 today. Please call or e-mail Kristin to schedule.

    Subscribe to Attorney General’s Office news releases via our listserv or RSS. You can also follow us on

    Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, the All Consuming blog, Unredacted and In General.

  2. Carie ,

    I agree with your aproach , never give them a break , attack on all available fronts and always have them guessing when they’re going to have to battle you again … “it’s never over”

    I’m in Central Florida ,, there’s about to be an absolute flood of property go into default and foreclosure around the space center, engineers act logically, a foreclosure would affect their future employment as it would kill a security clearance , they will be looking for alternatives knowing that the properties will never sell, stalling tactics in foreclosure defense is one possibility ,, especially if they could dispute the default to keep their secret/top secret clearances and collect enough rent in the weekly/monthly vacation rental market to pay the legal fees and maintenance…

    I may have to look into getting a handyman license and a real estate license …. the internet makes marketing easy..

  3. Wow, I never said “payback” or “stealing a stolen house”…justice is what is needed…I guess most people don’t know or care to know what that really means.

  4. OK , everyone here is interested in getting some payback , stealing a stolen house back from bank inventory … adverse possession takes many years and you likely will be run off one way or another before you gain title…


    How do you insert yourself into a battle with the lender… lets say you have friend or neighbor with a nice house that’s someones second or vacation house and they’re just going to let it go without a fight. I’m not talking adverse possession here … I’m talking about coming to terms and getting your name on the property … would a quit claim do the trick or is there a better way..

  5. but it’s not related to the rape and pillage of America by Jamie DImon and his ilk. it’s just about some dumbass squatting in a house in texas. that’s all….

  6. Wow, you are hysterical—you really think I write things “calculated to chum up the waters”?
    Sorry, that’s not my style…I just want the truth revealed…I guess I’m just too passionate about it…
    And as far as the “actual issue being discussed”, it’s ALL RELATED to the BIG PICTURE—which is the fraud, rape, and pillage of America.
    To me it’s not just about “my case”—it’s about humanity.
    I think we need to explore EVERY AVENUE of not only defending ourselves, but also going after the people who got away with and are continuing to get away with these crimes…

  7. and carie, for whatever reason, you and i appear to be the only ones on the site today…

  8. 1. How does AP apply? not well in most of the fact patterns shared by the readers of this site. it’s mostly used between neighbors regarding an encroachment or boundary line disputes. also used when grantor and grantee have a dispute over how much or which property was conveyed in a deed. not as applicable in what is essentially a contract case between borrower and mortgage company. also, the time frames are long. TX was relatively short with the 3,5,10 year time periods, but many states run more to the 7,10,20, or 30 year marks

    2. what is the REAL FIGHT? the case between you and your mortgage company. not crazy Marshall Home in AZ and not this squatter in TX. which would be better for the cause – getting makeithappen’s story on the news or this bozo squatting in TX?

    3. what part of “loan never funded” makes you drunk? it wasn’t meant to be an insult first of all. but endlessly spouting off about straw men, pretender lenders, and subprime fake loans, especially when they don’t have a single thing to do with the actual issue being discussed, has a certain “boy who cried wolf” effect. just my opinion.

    you were the one who linked the story, linked AP on wikipedia, and started the conversation. when I tried to discuss further, you went off on the tangent, quoting the livinglies key words calculated to chum up the waters.

  9. And what part of “loan never funded” makes me “drunk”???

  10. And what exactly in your humble opinion IS the “REAL FIGHT”???

  11. ok, whatever, but adverse possession is a law…and how DOES it apply ? Really?

  12. @carie – you’re drunk on the livinglies propaganda. now, don’t take that the wrong way, i happen to agree with a lot of it. but i asked you to step back from all of the pretender lender stuff and look at the story from another perspective, that of application of the actual statute and the lack of due diligence by the reporter in composing the story with glaring errors. for some reason you started talking about subprime loans and trusts, neither of which have anything to do with the story. not every dark corner holds a monster, and not every dragon needs to be slayed. sometimes a story is just a dumb puff piece….save your bullets for the real fight

  13. Well, I don’t think it’s a “speck of dust”…I think it’s a mountain…because “original owner” cannot legally be proven with truthful documentation…there are so many empty houses falling apart because of these fraudsters…it’s so stupid that someone has to be homeless because the original documents they signed AT CLOSING were fraudulent—in subprime—and the whole screwed up system/fraudsters need to pay for their HUGE crimes somehow…whether it’s not being able to take a home LEGALLY from someone who qualifies for adverse possession or goes to jail, or pays a huge fine or whatever.


    And they all “decline to comment”.

    AND…I think we all have “adverse possession” from the time of signing these “original” (bogus) documents…

  14. @carie – i don’t think it matters. the statute says “a person” and notes “original owner” merely as an example of one of the “persons” who might bring legal action to eject. it’s not an indication of exclusivity or a defining term. but just for this discussion, forget all about livinglies and pretender lenders and strawman loans – this guy isn’t satisfying anything else about the statute so time dedicated to “true owner” discussion is useless. he’s not claiming under any color of title, etc. it’s a puff piece written by a journalist who didn’t take 30 seconds to check out TX adverse possession law on google merely written for sensationalism. it’s nothing more than a speck of dust on the coffee table that is the mortgage morass

  15. There are lots more attorneys out there filing fraudulent documents on the court. To be fair, some are doing it inadvertently (I hope) because the documents come from a robosigning document supplier like LPS and DocX. However, also to be fair, there are attorneys filing fraudulent documents who know they are fraudulent. The judges/courts need to be aware of this and put a stop to it. Only a few courts across the country seem to be getting this. It is a very bad development in the greatest democrary on the planet–very, very bad!

  16. And I mention the “race card” only because if he was a white guy in a suit who said he was a lawyer, or used to work for Chase bank, you can bet they would be treating him differently…

  17. Ok, tn—but isn’t the “original owner” info screwed up because of the title mess—in subprime BS???

  18. i don’t think stories like that do much to help the cause. it’s akin to that crazy guy in AZ named Marshall Home who has been squatting in homes. and why play the race card regarding the neighbors??

    Also – it’s appalling how so many different sites completely messed up the facts. TX has a 3 yr, a 5 yr, and a 10 yr statute of limitation for adverse possession. his situation would clearly come under the 10 year statute.

    Sec. 16.024 – The Three-Year Statute
    A person [i.e., the original owner] must bring suit to recover real property held by another in peaceable and adverse possession under title or color title not later than three years after the day the cause of action accrues.

    Under this section, the possessor must have title (i.e., a deed as part of a regular chain of title) or “color of title,” which refers to a claim of title that has some reasonable basis but for some legitimate reason does not fit within the usual chain of title. So, the possessor must be able to produce some conveyance/title paperwork to support his claim if he is to assert adverse possession.

    Sec. 16.025 – The Five-Year Statute
    (a) A person [i.e., the original owner] must bring suit not later than five years after the day the cause of action accrues to recover real property held in peaceable and adverse possession by another who:

    (1) cultivates, uses, or enjoys the property;
    (2) pays applicable taxes on the property; and
    (3) claims the property under a duly registered deed.

    (b) This section does not apply to a claim based on a forged deed or a deed executed under a forged power of attorney.

    Under this five-year statute, some sort of deed of record is still required.

    Sec. 16.026 – The Ten-Year Statute (Nicknamed the “Bare Possession Statute”)
    (a) A person must bring suit not later than 10 years after the day the cause of action accrues to recover real property held in peaceable and adverse possession by another who cultivates, uses, or enjoys the property.

    (b) Without a title instrument, peaceable and adverse possession is limited in this section to 160 acres, including improvements, unless the number of acres actually enclosed exceeds 160. If the number of enclosed acres exceeds 160 acres, peaceable and adverse possession extends to the real property actually enclosed.

    (c) Peaceable possession of real property held under a duly registered deed or other memorandum of title that fixes the boundaries of the possessor’s claim extends to the boundaries specified in the instrument.

    The ten-year statute is the “catch all.” A deed or other memorandum of title is not necessary so long as the elements of adverse possession are met – however, such documentation may be useful to establish the boundaries of the claimed tract.

  19. What say ye, tn?

  20. “Adverse possession” from Wikipedia:

    I like this law…

  21. This is a GOOD ONE:

    ” Thanks to a little-known provision in state law, enterprising Texan Kenneth Robinson — either a hero or a squatter, depending on your point of view — has taken possession of a foreclosed $300,000 house for a mere $16. That’s the amount he forked over to file a claim of “adverse possession” of the property with the Denton County courthouse.

    Robinson contends that the abandoned house is his for the taking, since neither the original owner nor the bank is likely to go to the trouble or expense of kicking him out. If he can manage to stay in the property for three years, he says, the law grants him the right to petition the court for title to the house.

    Crafty though Robinson may be, not all of his new neighbors are happy to see him in their midst. Watch the video to see how the controversy unfolds.”

    Anybody know about “adverse possession”??

    Robinson’s “new neighbors” are just jealous, racist, and ignorant of what is really happening in the “mortgage world”…

    Can you imagine what would happen if thousands of adverse possessions started happening??? I say go for it everybody who can!!!

    Of course it won’t be long before some bogus paperwork is created to kick him out…I hope he’s up for the fight!!!

  22. Thank you Mario for the link. It’s about time someone sued the bank’s and the trustees’s attorneys. They know they were and are committing fraud upon the courts and the homeowners, and they had a free lunch from the courts to do so.

  23. @las vegas – only if they have similar statutes.

    i’m unclear on one aspect of the case. why would the MMOJ firm be conducting the sale when Recon is still the trustee? they have been operating under a very strained plan where they conduct the sale as agent for trustee Recon when the MMOJ firm could simply have been appointed substitute trustee and been in compliance. i’m sure they all thought they had a very clever reason, but it seems fairly stupid now that they’ve been caught with their hands in the cookie jar

  24. read lawsuit, very clear, would this apply to other non-judicial states?

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