"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.
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"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.