Sunday, January 23, 2011

Foreclosure Defense Litigators at Shuster & Saben, LLC file suit against CitiMortgage for violations of RESPA, TILA, and FCCPA.

After a Palm Bay family retained Shuster & Saben to defend a foreclosure action filed by CitiMortgage, the firm sent CitiMortgage a Qualified Written Request ( QWR ) pursuant to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ( RESPA ). The letter also requested that CitiMortage verify the debt pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ( FDCPA ) and case communications with the family.

The clients told our us that before they hired counsel, CitiMortgage would not give them the time of day when the clients called CitiMortgage concerning the clients request for permanent loan modification under HAMP. Our clients explained that when Citi refused to provide a permanent loan modification the clients attempt to find out the reason for the denial or obtain reconsideration was a futile struggle of long hold times, voicemail, dropped or disconnected calls, and unfulfilled promises that we will get back to you. Ultimately, CitiMortgage made no permanent interest rate modifications before filing a foreclosure action against our clients.

When our clients decided to fight back by hiring counsel rather then laying down and surrendering their home an unexpected thing occurred; CitiMortgage started calling our client. In one of Citi’s early calls the client advised, why are you calling me, you sued us to try and take our home and we retained counsel, please call our lawyer. When the clients advised us of the calls from Citi, we instructed them that such calls were illegal, that they should keep a log of the calls, and that if the calls continued we would sue CitiMortgage.

The calls did not stop. To add insult to injury, our firm did not receive a response from CitiMortgage to the Qualified Written Request. We believe that Citi violated RESPA when it refused to provide us with an accounting of the amount they claimed to be due and violated the Truth in Lending Act ( TILA ) when they refused to tell us who owned the note.

At Shuster & Saben we are litigators who say what we do and do what we say. Firm attorney Richard Shuster met with clients to obtain their permission to sue CitiMortgage and obtain their cell phone call logs to prove CitiMortgage called the clients AFTER CitiMortgage was put on notice that the clients were represented by counsel. The firm then filed suit against CitiMortgage for violation of RESPA, TILA and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act ( FCCPA ). We hope that we can use this lawsuit as a bargaining chip to resolve the foreclosure action filed against our clients with a substantial reduction of the loan balance (principal) and interest rate along with damages for our clients and payment of our clients’ attorney’s fees. To view a redacted copy of the lawsuit against CitiMorgage please click the link below.

Redacted FCCPA lawsuit against CitiMortgage

About Shuster & Saben: Shuster & Saben is a litigation firm that represents consumers and against big insurance and big banks. We send a Qualified Written Request on behalf of every client we defend in a foreclosure. If the client has a second mortgage we send a QWR to the second mortgage holder or servicer too. When a client hires us to defend a foreclosure their phone should stop ringing and their case should be one less problem they have to deal with. If the bank or their lawyers don't follow the all applicable rules and laws, we will not hesitate to bring separate lawsuits to obtain justice for our clients. If you have retained counsel to defend a foreclosure case and you are still being called about your mortgage you should keep a log of the date, and time that you were called, the name of the caller, their Id number or extension, and if you have Caller I.D. the phone number from which you were called. Homeowners with questions about the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act (FCCPA) or RESPA can E-mail us at

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shuster & Saben obtains Principal Reduction Loan Modification from $229,048 to $123,644.

A Shuster & Saben foreclosure client is the big winner in a war of attrition with Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC. The client, a painter, was trapped in a bad subprime loan at an outrageous interest rate of 8.65% and owed slightly over $229,000 after missing over two years of mortgage payments. When the recession hit, panting jobs came to a stand still and our client could no longer afford his home. The client’s home according to Zillow was worth approximately $138,000. The client defended the foreclosure action himself (pro-se) for over six months but when a summary judgment action was filed by the lender he knew he was in over his head and needed legal counsel. The client turned to a family friend and community business leader who referred him to Shuster & Saben.

In the first 48 hours after Shuster & Saben was hired the firm served over twenty pages of discovery requests on the bank’s lawyers including requests to produce, interrogatories, and requests for admission. This was followed by a qualified written request to Ocwen. One month later, when the hearing on the lender’s motion for summary judgment came before the Court, the bank’s lawyers had not answered the discovery requests. The Court agreed with Shuster & Saben’s argument that the bank could not go forward with the hearing because discovery had not been completed. The firm continued to litigate discovery issues for the next nine months.

In September of 2010, Ocwen sent its first settlement proposal in which it offered to reduce our client’s interest rate from a horrible rate of 8.65% to a merely poor rate of 5.375%. Firm partner, Richard Shuster wrote back to Ocwen to tell them that their offer was pathetic, and that they needed to come up with a real offer that reduced our client’s loan balance if they wanted to settle the case. (To Read our firm's response to Ocwen's Initial Offer click here)

Ocwen’s second settlement proposal was much better and offered to reduce the loan balance from $229,048 to $123,644 which equates to $103,404 of principal reduction. By accepting this deal our client would reduce his loan balance by over 45%. Since our client’s home is worth more than $123,000 once the offer was accepted our client would have equity in his house. The deal would also reduce our client’s interest rate from 8.65% to 4.83%. When the client met with firm attorney Richard Shuster, the advice given was straight to the point, accept the offer and do whatever it takes to come up with the $1,256.00 payment required for acceptance.

Our client took our advice. His new principal and interest payment (after the initial month) will be a very affordable $723.36. Our client will exit foreclosure in a much stronger financial position then he was in when the lender filed suit against him. Thankfully along the way his income in the construction, renovation and building trades has improved (but has yet to return to pre-recession levels). Without counsel our client would have lost his case at the summary judgment hearing in April of 2010. With this settlement we believe he will keep his permanently.

To Review the actual settlement offer please click the link below:
Redacted Loan Modification Offer from Ocwen

About Shuster & Saben:
The foreclosure defense attorneys at Shuster & Saben will tell you that most loan modifications (even ours) do NOT have principal reductions. A bad loan modification is not any better than a bad mortgage. Many times (including in this case) the lender's first offer is not their best offer. Not every home can be saved and some homes are so far upside down that they should not be saved. If you are in foreclosure, our professional, frank, and objective advice can be received in a free, no obligation initial consultation. Our firm's offices in Miami, Doral, Plantation, and Melbourne defend homeowners in foreclosure from Miami to Titusville on the east coast, in Collier and Lee County on the west coast, and in Orange and Seminole County.