A Florida state appellate court has decided that a class action lawsuit against attorney David J. Stern can move forward. Stern, the self-proclaimed "Foreclosure King," is accused of charging excessive fees to homeowners desperate to fight their foreclosures. The case against the Plantation, Florida attorney was first filed three years ago. The class includes Wells Fargo customers that were Florida property owners facing foreclosure. The class members received reinstatement letters from Stern's office.
Palm Beach Circuit Judge had already granted class action certification to a lawsuit brought by Boynton Beach electrician Loren Banner. Stern appealed the decision but the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the decision. The lawsuit named Stern, Wells Fargo Bank and Stern's law firm. According to the lawsuit, Stern's clients were charged excessive fees for things like title searches, being served foreclosure papers and other legal work and were even billed for expenses and mortgage payments that were not yet due, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
"These are people who wanted to save their homes," said West Palm Beach attorney Louis Silber, who along with attorney Kirk Friedland is representing the homeowners. "The improper charges made it much more difficult for them to reinstate their mortgages."
"When I started the case in 2007, David Stern was the most powerful attorney representing lenders in state," says plaintiff's attorney Louis Silber. "People told me you will never get anywhere, this is the way it's done, who are you trying to fool," The ABA Journal reports.
Foreclosure is the legal right of a mortgage holder or other third-party lien holder to gain ownership of the property and to either take possession or sell the property and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage if the mortgage or lien is in default.
Depending upon the outcome on the case, we may soon be saying that the "Foreclosure King" is dead.
- Judge OK's class-action status for homeowner lawsuit against Florida law firm (Palm Beach Post)
- Avoid Foreclosure: Help for Struggling Homeowners (FindLaw)
- Foreclosure (FindLaw)