Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fla. AG, State Bar Begin Probe Into Alleged Rackets Purportedly Peddling Participations In Mass Joinder Suits Offering F'closure, Home Mortgage Relief

The Palm Beach Post reports:

  • The Florida attorney general's office is investigating the use of mass joinder lawsuits marketed to homeowners facing foreclosure, a new practice that got a California lawyer with ties to a prominent Tallahassee lobbyist shut down earlier this month.

  • Homeowners in 17 states, including Florida, received mailers from companies connected to California attorney Philip Kramer telling them they could join in lawsuits against banks for a retainer fee of between $5,000 and $10,000, according to a complaint filed earlier this month by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.(1)


  • Kramer was featured as "of counsel" on the website of the Tallahassee-based Ramba Law Group, which is led by David Ramba. The website also touted the use of mass joinder lawsuits and linked to several of the court filings. Ramba is a lobbyist for Callery-Judge Grove LP and the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District. Neither Ramba nor his law group is named in the California complaint.

  • Although Ramba previously defended the mass joinder suits, on Monday he said Kramer's firm unlawfully used his name and created the website without his permission. "I have hired an attorney to unwind whatever this guy was doing," Ramba said Monday.

  • He also said he was unaware until last month that offices in Boca Raton and Pinellas Park had been opened with his name on them to speak with homeowners about joining the lawsuits.

  • A person claiming to be an employee in the Pinellas Park office filed a complaint in June with the attorney general's office claiming that homeowners are falsely told a team of attorneys will review their case to see if it qualifies for the mass joinder lawsuit.

  • "No one reviews their information, especially attorneys, and we are instructed to call these people back the next day and tell them attorneys will accept the case but you must pay $5,000 to join," the complaint says. "The whole thing is a scam."

  • The Florida Bar confirmed it has an open investigation into Ramba's involvement with the mass joinder lawsuits and the Florida attorney general's office said it is looking into whether Florida law was violated.

For the story, see Attorney general investigating lawsuits pitched to distressed homeowners.

(1) For the California AG civil lawsuit, see People v. The Law Offices of Kramer and Kaslow, et al.

See also, Cal. AG Tags Alleged Nat'l 'Mass Joinder Lawsuit' Racket With Civil Suit, Shuts Down Operation That Attempts To Circumvent Upfront Fee Bans, Some Say.

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