FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Attorneys Marc Dann and James Douglass to file class action suit against Lerner, Sampson &Rothfuss for the continual filing of frivolous foreclosures
Several wronged homeowners have come together with the help of attorneys Marc Dann and James Douglass in order to file a class action lawsuit against law firm Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss (LS&R), which routinely files un-provable foreclosure suits through the use of manufactured and incomplete documentation.
Tamara and Phillip Turner, Mary Sweeney, and a third couple all had foreclosure suits filed against them by LS&R, on behalf of various clients, dismissed after the court found that LS&R’s clients did not have standing to file the suits. Despite the final victories, the Turners, Ms. Sweeney and the third plaintiff all were forced to hire lawyers to defend themselves, incurring substantial legal fees. The plaintiffs and others who were sued by Lerner Sampson representing lenders suffered significant emotional distress and at least one formally moved out of their home, even though the foreclosure complaints were dismissed.
Dann, Douglass and these homeowners believe there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other Ohioans, who lack the ability to secure counsel, that have vacated and lost their homes and filed for bankruptcy because a frivolous foreclosure has been filed against them.
“We found out that Lerner Sampson & Rothfuss has filed an average of 4,500 foreclosures a year for the last 5 years in Cuyahoga County alone,” said Douglass. “How often do they get away with filing an illegitimate foreclosure because the homeowner cannot or does not know to defend his or herself?”
In the cases filed against the Turners, Ms. Sweeney and the third plaintiff, LS&R falsely claimed its client was the holder of the mortgage promissory note, which is a prerequisite to being able to file a foreclosure. Dann and Douglass uncovered that it is common LS&R practice to create and execute documentation on behalf of Mortgage Electronic Filing Systems, Inc (MERS) to make it appear that their client is in possession of the needed mortgage promissory note.
LS&R employee Shellie Hill admitted, in a deposition taken by Douglass, that she signed documents as Assistant and Vice President of MERS though she is actually a LS&R employee with no real employment responsibilities to MERS and had never spoken to or received direction from anyone at MERS.
“We would never have known that Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss didn’t have a right to try to foreclose on our home if we had not had good legal counsel,” said Phillip Turner. “We were already packing to move in with family when Jim (Douglass), who I know from the community, offered to take a look at our case.”
The lawsuit will ask that the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas declare that LS&R is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, has slandered the creditworthiness of individuals is has frivolously filed foreclosures against and has defamed these individuals. The lawsuit further seeks to recover actual economic and noneconomic damages caused by LS&R’s unfair, deceptive and unconscionable practices.
“The State of Ohio and Cleveland, in particular, has suffered tremendous economic and social consequences to the foreclosure crisis that swept the nation starting in 2006,” said Dann. “Foreclosure mills like LS&R contribute greatly to the needless destruction of our community and of individual lives.”