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Do you think the bank will settle fast?

Altamonte Springs, FL |

My elderly uncle's property went into foreclosure illegally. We had a forensic document examination done on the "original" note that indicates that there were signatures trasferred and are not the original signatures. There are other illegal transactions in this case. It went into foreclosure and I got the examination after. Need an attorney that feels that this could be a quick settlement to work for a percentage.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. It is extremely likely that there will be a "quick" outcome in litigation, and it is extremely unlikely that an attorney will represent you only "for a percentage". A 'percentage' of what ? The kind of fee you are referring to is a contingent fee. Contingent fees are customary in certain kinds of legal work, where it is likely that the party being sued will pay money, and that that money will be more than enough to cover the attorneys fee. That is rarely if ever the case with a mortgage foreclosure. There are lots of attorneys in Florida who are new to foreclosure litigation, and/or who are not educated in all the peculiar and novel and changing issues of this kind of litigation. Many of them offer to work for less than normal fees, however they do not know enough to be effective in turning the case around. In most cases, the banks and their attorneys will not consider settling unless the defense attorney really knows what he or she is doing, and really gives them a long, hard battle.

    If you are serious about litigating this case, get used to the idea that it will likely take quite a while, that the bank is not likely to agree to pay you anything, and that no qualified attorney will work for a percentage of nothing.

    Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.

  2. Your question includes some general references to "illegal" transactions, which you really should sit down with an attorney to review. In our present economy, and with the recent developments in foreclosure cases in Florida over the past few years, a skilled attorney who practices in the areas of foreclosure should be able to assist you.

    From a practical perspective, settlements don't happen quickly if you want the case to be handled properly. An attorney should perform a good amount of due diligence through discovery to make the bank aware of your position, and utilize that as settlement.

    Also, settlement can include a variety of options, including loss mitigation through loan modification, a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure and other remedies. It is important to work with an attorney who can provide you with information concerning all of your options, and the bet litigation paths to take based on your settlement goals.

  3. You need an attorney whom is going to be reasonable with you; however, you need to absolutely be prepared to spend some hourly funds on that attorney's time. You have a relatively complex assignment involving a third-party's foreclosure with potential fraud. Even with "solid" forensic proof, you have quite a bit of work in developing those allegations.

    If an attorney wants to work a foreclosure case on a percentage, then that would surprise me. I've seen one in 6.5 years at it was, indeed, a disaster. I fixed that one and it really was costly cleaning up that other mess.

    Our firm deals with this situation quite often. The forensic work you did is excellent and it must be developed into "pleadings," and details that are legally admissible. To that, we need some "testimony" as well to strengthen your position.

    Seek counsel, now, and maybe try to get an "estimate" of the costs at a reasonable rate.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE--FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. We don't know the facts and this is not legal advice. Seek the advice of licensed property law attorneys immediately so they can secure your rights. Hiring an attorney is a serious and important decision. Please ensure that you take the time necessary to evaluate and interview more than one attorney to determine whom to hire.

  4. The plaintiff will not settle fast. The entity that is suing you now probably was not in the room when you signed your mortgage loan. If Fannie Mae or a securitized trust bought the loan from the original lender or from an entity that acquired the loan from the original lender they will not know one way or the other whether the signatures are real. A "forensic document examination" or "forensic loan audit" is hearsay. Hearsay is a statement made out of court that is offered for truth of the matter asserted. Hearsay will be objected to.

    If the bank's lawyer objects to the Court's consideration of the audit, and the objection is sustained the Court will never consider your audit. It will take a lawyer who understands the rules of civil procedure and evidence to get the opinion of the expert into evidence.

    What do you plan to give the lawyer a "percentage of"... your house. Good luck with that. If you win your case how will your lawyer turn 10% of your house into cash to keep the lights on in the lawyer's office. If you win your case that bank will have to pay attorney's fees. We have recoved attorney's fees from banks in quite a few cases where our client, the homeowner, was the prevailing party. Such recoveries help offset a client's legal expenses. This is explained in greater detail on our blog.

    Your chance of finding an experienced lawyer to take your case on a pure contingency basis is just about zero.

  5. The other attorneys answers are excellent. I just wanted to add that it is great you had a forensic audit done, but it is confusing as to whether there has been a judgment already entered. If there has been a summary judgment, you need to get to an attorney immediately to either move for a rehearing or file an appeal, perhaps both. You posted from Altamonte Springs. Is this a Seminole County case and who is the judge? I would be glad to discuss this case further with you.

    R. Jason de Groot, Esq., 386-337-8239