The case started out as a battle with JPMorgan on behalf of a single client but turned into a class action after Roberts noticed a pattern in the courts where JPMorgan was involved.
"This is not going to stop individual foreclosures," says Roberts. "It's the practice that we are targeting. People should have their day in court and be able to say that's not the guy that owns my loan, and he does not have the right to impose the remedy he seeks."
Ironically, most of the time, Robert says, JPMorgan is the legitimate owner of the loan—it just doesn't want to spend the time and money to "prove it up."
"Ninety-five percent of the time they may really have standing in bankruptcy court to do what they are doing," says Roberts. "The problem is they just don't feel like they have the obligation to spend the money to establish their burden. It denies people their day in court, it chills the opposition and it results in an easy win."
According to the complaint, JPMorgan Chase played a game of "hide and seek" with "debtors, judges and bankruptcy judges," using Photoshop-altered affidavits, endorsements, deeds and other documents to establish its rights as a secured creditor in hundreds of bankruptcy cases.
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The practice effectively transfers the liability for the loss back to the mortgage-backed securities bond holders. The class-action suit seeks compensatory, statutory and punitive damages for unfair and deceptive trade, and "an order vacating all bankruptcy orders, claims and awards granted based on Chase's misrepresentation and deceptive business practices."
Joseph Arthur Roberts specializes in debt relief and bankruptcy cases. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, a JD from Wayne State and a BA from the University of Michigan. Since 1994, he has been in private practice at The Law Offices of J. Arthur Roberts.