Several reports over the last few days have featured judges who have gotten fed up with the shoddy paperwork turned in by banks that are trying to take back properties from hard-luck homeowners. The judges are fighting back.
In Brooklyn, Judge Arthur Schack is making a name for himself battling bankers who haven't done due diligence in their foreclosure paperwork. The New York Times reported that he's tossed out 46 of 102 foreclosure filings that have crossed his desk in the last two years.
"I'm a little guy in Brooklyn who doesn't belong to their country clubs, what can I tell you?" Schack said. "I won't accept their comedy of errors."
In Florida, a judge annoyed that bank lawyers had been skipping hearings reportedly told Deutsche Bank National Trust attorney Farzad Milani "that he would not do his work while [Milani] sits in his office in Fort Lauderdale smoking his Cohiba cigars and drinking his lattes," according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The judge, John Doyle, ultimately removed himself from the case over complaints about his comments.
And in Phoenix, Ariz., the New York Times reports that Judge Randolph Haines of the United States Bankruptcy Court allowed a homeowner to summon a senior Wells Fargo executive to cross-examine him about missing paperwork in her application for a loan modification.
"The kind of story I hear from this debtor is one that I and other bankruptcy judges around the country are hearing over and over and over again," Haines told the Times, referring to a woman who'd failed to get Wells Fargo to deal with her application,
"Bankruptcy judges are more frequently expressing this frustration about lack of responsible record keeping by the financial services industry," said Robert Lawless, a law professor at the University of Illinois, in an interview with the Huffington Post.
In the Ohio case, Countrywide Home Loans (now part of Bank of America) was sanctioned by Judge Marilyn Shea-Stonum, who pointed out that "the problems created by the mortgage servicing industry have been pervasive in many of the cases on this Court's docket."
But how much is this really happening?
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Julian Hattem contributed to this report.