Thursday, August 16, 2012

Buffalo Bankruptcy Attorney Raises Questions About L.I. Foreclosure Mill's Billing Practices; Suspects Systematic Squeezing Of Homeowners Across NYS

In Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo News reports:

  • A Buffalo bankruptcy attorney's attempt to investigate and call into question the fees charged to debtors by a prominent downstate foreclosure law firm has triggered a bitter defamation lawsuit.

    Attorney Peter Grubea, who runs the largest bankruptcy practice in Western New York by volume of cases, has raised questions about what he calls high and unnecessary fees charged by Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates P.C., of Long Island, one of the biggest foreclosure firms in the state.

    He accuses them of racketeering, a charge often used for organized crime and corruption. In a blog posting on his website in late March, Grubea wrote that he is "currently investigating the billing practices" of Rosicki, saying that "we believe that the charges imposed ... are unfairly high."

    He also wrote that he is already litigating the issue in a bankruptcy proceeding and expects additional litigation in state court, and asks for people to contact him if they've dealt with Rosicki in a foreclosure case. "You may have a claim for monetary damages," he wrote.

    In response, Rosicki sued Grubea for defamation and libel, accusing him of "publicly and falsely defaming plaintiffs to the whole world" by making "defamatory statements that are directed squarely at destroying both the business and reputation of plaintiffs."

    The battle between Grubea and the downstate firm illustrates what is already happening in the wake of the dissolution earlier this year of Steven J. Baum's firm, which had been the dominant foreclosure law firm in the state for years.
  • In a legal memorandum, filed as part of the bankruptcy petition for a Lancaster woman to justify reducing her mortgage debt, Grubea accused the Rosicki firm and its affiliated title and legal service firms of being "engaged in the systematic overbilling of New York homeowners for all of the foreclosure-related services they provide."
  • As a result, Grubea alleged, Rosicki actually earns more money on a case through non-lawyer paperwork - handled by the affiliated companies that are owned and run by the law firm's husband-and-wife partners - than it does from the work performed by its lawyers.
For more, see Foreclosure accusations prompt suit (Local attorney questions downstate firm's fees).

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