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Everybody Deserves Due Process Says Attorney Gary Mason

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Washington, D.C.Banks are being hit with a hailstorm of class actions for being quick to trigger foreclosures without actually reviewing the facts of the case. So-called "robo-signers" from GMAC and several other lenders have admitted in depositions that they signed thousands of foreclosure affidavits without ever reading the files.

"The courts are relying on these affidavits to make sure that the banks have standing to foreclose," says attorney Mason. "These affidavits are the documents that bring that material together, and if they're defrauding the court, if they're putting false information in front of the court, the whole process is going to break down."

And break down it did, according to the suit filed by Mason on behalf of Geoffrey Huber. Huber, a Florida homeowner, discovered that foreclosure proceedings against his house were signed at his lending company, GMAC, by admitted robo-signer Jeffrey Stephan. There are likely thousands more clients of GMAC who lost their homes through affidavits signed by Stephan and will seek to join the class action.

The "robo-signers," as attorney Mason describes the situation, are executives in charge of managing the foreclosure process for the banks. The mortgage crisis, along with bank mergers and takeovers, have led to financial institutions literally being overwhelmed with paper." "There are piles of these documents," says Mason. "And these giant piles of documents are put in front of these guys every day, and they are supposed to attest that the information in front of them is accurate—which they can't do."

As Mason sees it, even if a homeowner is delinquent in his or her payments, he or she still has a right to due process. "If they are being milled through the system and the information on which they lose their home is filed fraudulently, then that isn't right."

"Many of these people were working with the banks, they were making the modified payments and they were close to getting things straightened around, and then they lost their homes anyway," says Mason.

If the banks moved more slowly and more accurately and it was harder for the banks to foreclose, Mason says they would be more willing to work with the homeowner to save it from the auction block. "They are getting away with filing inaccurate information. That means they can file vast amounts of paper and get the houses auctioned off and sold quickly," says Mason.

"What we intend to do is establish liability," says Mason. "GMAC is liable for everyone that has been robo-signed. Whether GMAC owes damages for a constitutional violation, that remains to be seen."


Gary Mason specializes in consumer class actions and mass torts. He has served as lead counsel or co-counsel in numerous class actions, including the Exxon Valdez, Synthetic Stucco Products liability litigation. He earned national recognition for his work on defective polybutylene pipe litigation, recovering an unprecedented $950 million settlement.

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READER COMMENTS

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gmac forced homeowners ins on my home that was already in place, applied all my mtg paym to escrow, filed default and foreclosed. the judge at the final hearing covered his ears and screamed at me "i don't want to hear it" these banks need to reimburse freddie or fannie and GIVE me my house back.

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