Monday, October 19, 2015

Trial Victory: Firm Defeats HSBC & Clarfield Okon Law Firm

On September 21, 2015, I went to trial against HSBC Bank at the Brevard County Courthouse.  Representing HSBC Bank was the Christopher Pennington of the law firm Clarfield, Okon, Solomone and Pincus, P.L.   When the trial began, counsel for the bank was quick to point out that our client had not made a mortgage payment since September of 2008.  The bank’s lawyers commented in opening statement to the effect “it has been over SEVEN YEARS since Mr. Shuster’s client has made a mortgage payment.” 

Not being one to be pushed around by bank counsel, I responded, that the reason our clients had gone seven years without a mortgage payment was the prior servicer never offered a loan modification and the first foreclosure action filed against our client was dismissed.  I countered that the evidence would show that loan servicer failed to send a proper notice of default and the plaintiff would be unable to prove standing at the inception of the case.  Today, HSBC will lose its second foreclosure case against our client.

In this trial the notice of default was sent out in 2008 by the prior servicer, IndyMac.  The servicer who appeared at the trial for HSBC was the current loan servicer, Ocwen.  Our clients’ mortgage, like just about every mortgage, required the lender to send any notices to the borrower to the property address unless the borrower notifies the lender in writing to send all notices to some other address.  At trial, Ocwen presented the IndyMac notice of default sent in 2008 to an address other than the property address.  Ocwen did not provide the Court with a copy of any written notice from the borrower to change the notice address to an address other than the property address.  It appeared to me that Ocwen and their lawyer did not realize that the prior loan servicer sent the notice to an address that was different than the property address.  After the plaintiff rested I pointed out the plaintiff’s failure to come forward with any proof that the notice address was ever changed.  The plaintiff (HSBC) and their lawyers never knew what hit them.  They had failed to prove their case.  All they had show the court was that a notice was mailed to an address other than the address of the mortgaged property without even showing who lived at the address where the notice was sent.  While they alleged that the notice was sent certified mail they further lacked a “Green Card” to show who, if anyone, signed for the notice.

At trial the court reserved ruling.  In early October we received the attached ruling in our favor from Judge Rhoda Babb.  To read the entire judgment with our client's name redacted click here. 

About Shuster & Saben, LLC:   Foreclosure is a problem.  Feet dragging is not a solution.  If our client wants to keep their home then the our goal is to get them a great loan modification or win their case.  It has been our experience that banks make the best loan modification offers when their lawyers know that the homeowner’s counsel is ready, willing, able and PREPARED to take the case to trial.  Bank lawyers remember the small handful of foreclosure defense firms like ours the regularly beat them at trial. 

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