In addition to demanding that well-known culprits in the lending business pay up for the pain they caused, BHN also comes down hard on a law firm that worked with Wells Fargo, N.A., Countrywide, and others. It describes the firm in the documents filed as "a foreclosure mill" with a Gordon Gecko "greed is good" attitude.
"Obviously this is a national disgrace," says Narkin, whose firm specializes in hunting down boogie men involved in everything from securities fraud to consumer protection law.
"The tentacles of the foreclosure mess are amazing," says Narkin. "The mess created by predatory lending is one thing, but consider also what an awful investment collateralized debt lending turned out to be."
Narkin's firm has devoted hundreds of hours to a class-action complaint that alleges that Countrywide, Wells Fargo and a "high-volume law firm," Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg, engaged in fraudulent schemes to collect inflated and manufactured foreclosure fees from financially troubled families in danger of losing their homes.
Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg are fighting the allegations.
The class action outlines the situation as applied to several families, including Charles Giles and his wife. Giles is a first responder with serious health problems that make him unable to work.
"He was on the short end of one of these foreclosure actions," says Narkin. "The foreclosure action was brought by Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg in the name of Wachovia. But Wachovia had transferred all legal ownership two years prior to this action, and a falsified mortgage assignment was used to establish or attempt to establish standing."
"This whole thing nearly destroyed Charles Gilles," says Narkin. "He was forced to sell his house at far below its actual price. This was a situation where he was told they were trying to work out a deal for him and then he ended up facing a foreclosure and sheriff's sale."
The Giles finally hired another lawyer to help them. Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg sent the Giles a bill for legal expenses in excess of $7,000.
You don't make serious allegations against another law firm unless you think you're right, and Narkin clearly believes the law will ultimately reveal itself to be favourable to the plaintiffs.
The class action is in fact an appeal of a lower court's ruling of a narrower complaint that Narkin argues was dismissed on a technicality involving US bankruptcy laws that the suit argues is unrelated to the more serious allegations.
READ MORE FORECLOSURE CRISIS LEGAL NEWS
Narkin's clients are seeking both statutory and actual damages (which allows for treble damages under RICO), as well as the costs of the suit and reasonable attorney fees.
John Narkin is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law and New York University. He has been an integral part of the successful prosecution of numerous class actions on behalf of consumers and investors. In 1992, Narkin was invited to the White House to discuss reforms of the federal rules governing shareholder class actions. Narkin is known as an outstanding brief writer whose work has led to numerous multi-million dollar suits.