Reuters | Florida Foreclosure Case Could Slam Banks – BONY v PINO

Florida foreclosure case could slam banks


The Florida case provides a startling example of abuses that allegedly take place in the foreclosure process – and the strategies lenders use to overcome them.

Roman Pino, a shy, 35-year-old drywall hanger, bought his home in 2006 during the housing boom. He put 20 percent down on half of a two-bedroom duplex near Palm Beach, Fla., and financed the rest with a $162,400 loan from Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America.

In 2008, when Florida’s economy weakened, Pino couldn’t find construction jobs and fell behind on his mortgage payments. In October, Bank of New York Mellon, the trustee for the security that owns Pino’s loan, filed a suit to foreclose.

Bank of America was Pino’s mortgage servicer. It didn’t respond to a request for comment.

To help him hang on to his home, Pino sought the help of Thomas Ice, a homeowner-defense attorney. Ice quickly discovered that the documents in the bank’s foreclosure lawsuit were fudged.

Pino’s mortgage assignment — the document that legally binds a loan to a lender – had been executed by Cheryl Samons, an alleged robo-signer who signed as many as 1,000 foreclosure affidavits a day, according to court depositions.

According to court documents, Samons worked for one of the banking industry’s biggest foreclosure mills, the law firm of David Stern. The firm consistently created false documents, according to a report by investigators in the Florida Attorney General’s office.

Ice dug up depositions where a Stern employee testified that Samons’s hand got so cramped that she told three underlings to forge her signature. Two Stern workers also testified that they forged signatures, backdated documents, swapped Social Security numbers, inflated billings and passed around notary stamps as casually as if they were salt, according to court papers.

Samons, who could not be located for comment, denied the robo signing allegations in an April 2011 deposition. She also testified that Stern lied to her and ignored her concerns.

Stern’s firm is now shuttered and under investigation by the Florida Attorney General. Stern’s lawyer, Jeffrey Tew, said, “No one ever testified that David ever knew of any misconduct by any of his employees.”

To Ice, it was immediately obvious that the Stern firm had backdated Pino’s mortgage assignment because the notarization stamp was not valid at the time denoted on the document.

The only way the notarization stamp used on Pino’s assignment could have been valid, Ice alleged, was if the notary had been “capable of time travel.”

He filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that since the bank’s documents were illegal, so was the foreclosure.

Full report here…


6 Responses to “Reuters | Florida Foreclosure Case Could Slam Banks – BONY v PINO”
  1. UnBEElivable says:

    It’s official “The Supreme Court of Florida is apparently owned and operated by the banksters!!!

    It’s apparent that the Justices did not want to let Ms. Lundegan’s speak to much because the public would realize how much shit the banksters have gotten away with in our judicial system; hence the constant interruptions, sarcastic comments i.e. gotcha moment” etc.

    They had the audacity to say that homeowners have other options as far sanctions against the bank like filing a compliant to the Fl Bar…Yeah right! David Stern still has his license to practice in Florida! Give me a break!!!!

    Do NOT expect anything to come out of this, that will aide the homeowner in fighting fraud.

    • Ohio Lawyer says:

      UnBEElivable – You are simply wrong. Pino’s lawyer demonstrated, in textbook fashion, how NOT to present an oral argument. She did not answer questions directly. She interrupted and talked over the justices. And she didn’t have a good argument. She gave the justices nothing to support her request.

      You are wrapped up in what the bank did wrong. I’m with you. I fight the banks every day. But what the banks did was NOT the issue in this case. The issue in the case is whether a court can take away a party’s absolute, long-recognized right to dismiss a lawsuit. There is no authority for the court to do so under Florida law. Pino was asking the Court to create such a rule out of thin air, to supplant the role of the legislature in writing law.

      Think about it this way. You assert that the Florida Supreme Court is in the pocket of the banks and other Wall Street interests. Let’s think about what the rule Pino is advancing would do for Wall Street in the future. I think Wall Street would love the type of rule Pino is advancing. That way, when a lawyer brings a case against a large corporate defendant and then voluntarily dismisses it, the corporation can keep the case open and try to put the lawyer or his client in the poor house. Instant tort reform.

      The Court was plenty troubled by the bank’s conduct in the case. In fact, the bank’s lawyer made it a point to say what happened was very wrong. But as I said, that was not the issue in this case. This is a case about civil procedure. And Pino will lose. That said, I think the Court will address one issue that will give homeowners some ammunition.

  2. Ohio Lawyer says:

    Pino’s counsel did not come off well. She did not deal with the issues the justices were asking about and was rude at times. Bank’s counsel handled it much better. But all of that is not really very important. This case is NOT about foreclosure or robo-signing. This case is about procedure. The justices were very careful to point that out several times during argument.

    I’m not licensed in Florida, but it sounds like Florida’s procedural rules are very similar to Ohio’s. If so, the law is stacked against Pino. In order for Pino to win, the Court will have to create an exception to the long-established rule about the right to voluntarily dismiss a case. Court’s tend to dislike making such rules on the fly. And what few seem to understand is that if the Court permits this type of post-dismissal evaluation of a plaintiff’s case, all plaintiff’s will be subject to the new rule. This includes all personal injury, medical malpractice, and consumer claims. Such a rule could really have a chilling effect on the willingness of attorneys to bring such claims in the future.

    If the Court rules against Pino, it would be a huge mistake to say that the Court is covering up fraud or siding with the banks. It was clear from the argument today that the justices were concerned about the integrity of the judicial system and were offended by the alleged conduct by Stern’s office. But the rule proposed by Pino is not the way to address it. This is why so much time was spent on other means of raising the issue of fraud in a dismissed case. I anticipate that the Court will rule against Pino, but in doing so provide a road map to courts and counsel as to how such issues can be addressed in the future.

  3. anthony says:

    Watched this morning how did u like the woman Justice shift in her chair as if she was extremely
    uncomfortable saying you can always complain to the Florida Bar
    No one wants to confront the situation and now Bof A is going to have alot under one roof
    and then nothing will be exposed The Judges and Stern the Ringleader because he corners JAIL
    it ain’t going to happen

    • J. Alonzo says:

      The whole system is corrupt. I saw the vid on live feed and was jumping in my chair as she kept interrupting the attorney for Ice Legal. The other justices got a few wacks in also. I only felt a bit better when I saw one justice slamming the Banksters attorney too, but I lost hope when I saw all the justices stay quite as if they already made up their minds. Let’s hope it was just a fake out, and the banks are sitting warm and happy thinking they won, and Bang! But that’s just wishful thinking.

  4. To Tell The Truth says:

    From what I heard this morning in the Supreme Court, it seems as if there are some judges that don’t want to know the truth or do anything about it. I pray that young lady attorney will get what she is seeking as it is a huge benefit to society. The have not made their decision yet so let’s see…someone finally got it…after a lot of explanation and the bank’s attorney, am so surprised at his performance but his mind was set in only one direction of the law or rule of law …whatever

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