Sunday, September 4, 2011

Double-Talking Judge To Foreclosure Mill: "Lying Is Unacceptable!" But Then OKs Use Of False Affidavits Anyway, Proceeds To Ratify Forced Sale Of Home

In Baltimore, Maryland, The Daily Record reports:

  • Lawyers at Shapiro & Burson LLP repeatedly lied by signing each other's names to foreclosure affidavits, but their actions did not alter the rights of the lender or the homeowners, a Baltimore County judge has ruled.

  • Circuit Court Judge Susan Souder wrote in her Aug. 11 opinion that she did not believe monetary sanctions were appropriate, and that she would leave any punishment levied against the plaintiffs -- all lawyers -- to bar counsel at the Attorney Grievance Commission.

  • Souder dismissed an order requiring the plaintiffs to show cause why the case should not be dismissed and why they should not be sanctioned and ratified the sale of the home.

  • Anthony DePastina, director of litigation for Civil Justice Inc., a Maryland-based public interest legal association, said he understands that these homeowners and others in the foreclosure process have not paid their mortgages and that if another attorney had signed the documents correctly, the whole process would be "copacetic," but, he said, that's not what happened here.

  • "The reality is we're lawyers. We're supposed to play by the rules and know what the rules are," said DePastina, who is not involved in this case. "When we don't, we compromise the integrity of the entire game. And it's not a game."

  • Souder said she could not comment on the case or whether it was the first decision in the county regarding signatures on foreclosure affidavits, many of which have been questioned with show-cause orders.


  • Souder wrote that the "most disturbing" revelation in this case (John S. Burson, et al. v. Grosso) was that Murphy falsely signed Yoder's name to affidavits regarding military status for Frank and Patricia Grosso, the notice of intent to foreclose and the appointment of substitution of trustees.

  • She found it "very disturbing" that the plaintiffs argued that their lies were proper under Maryland rules. "No case, no statute, and no rule cited by Plaintiffs supports the argument that it is proper for a person to sign another person's name to an Affidavit. That Plaintiffs are attorneys who concluded that such lies are 'entirely proper' is astounding .... It is a lie. And lying is unacceptable," she wrote.

  • Despite her shock at the lawyers' behavior, Souder agreed with the plaintiffs that the false affidavits "did not alter the rights of the parties."

For more, see Home sale ratified despite faulty affidavits (requires paid subscription; if no subscription, GO HERE).

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