LOS ANGELES, Sept. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of homeowners and former homeowners filed lawsuits in three states alleging that California Attorney General Kamala Harris "acted as the pawn of America's most powerful banks" when she seized their legal files and denied them the right to the legal counsel of their choice.
Suits were filed Tuesday in federal courts in New York, Florida and California, according to Erikson M. Davis, an attorney involved in the actions. Davis said he expect homeowners to file against Harris in additional states.
The California lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles said:
On August 17, 2011, Defendant Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General for Defendant State of California, grossly violated Plaintiffs' civil rights by seizing Plaintiff's legal files and denying Plaintiffs the right to the legal counsel of their choice. Defendant Harris did this under the cover of secrecy without any public airing of the facts, without proper court approval, and without allowing either Plaintiffs or their counsel or any court a chance to respond. Harris did so based on an inadequate investigation while citing demonstrably false accusations against Plaintiff Mitchell J. Stein, an attorney. And Harris did so at the behest of Bank of America, whose attorneys had been deeply alarmed by the substantive progress that attorney Stein has achieved in Plaintiffs' mass joinder case against the bank.
Defendant Harris took this action while making the transparently false claim that she was protecting "consumers." Plaintiffs herein are among the consumers she purports to be protecting and they hereby vigorously reject Harris' jaded interpretation of "protection." Plaintiffs' desire is to continue to be represented by the LLP – and one of its partners Mr. Stein – and for him to continue to unravel the worst systematic fraud committed by any financial institution in United States history. . . .
Rather than protecting consumers, Defendant Harris' actions primarily benefitted Bank of America, which has sought repeatedly to discredit attorney Stein ever since he filed the original lawsuit against Bank of America in 2009, a lawsuit that the attorney general herself described as the "granddaddy" of mass joinder bank cases,
Defendants' lawsuit . . . claimed, among other things, that attorney Stein had participated in illegal and unethical soliciting of clients through mail advertising. On February 3, 2011, Bank of America lawyer Keith Klein went into Superior Court with the very same allegations and was told that the bank had not presented a legitimate complaint against attorney Stein. Bank of America then took those same claims to Defendant Harris and arranged for her to do their bidding, . . .
Defendant Harris disingenuously stated that "her office takes no position as to the legal merits of any claims asserted in the mass joinder lawsuits filed by defendants." Yet she clearly has taken a position by seeking to remove the single most effective lawyer in prosecuting those cases.
Also to the benefit of Bank of America, Harris has chosen to support less able competitors to pursue the mass joinder claims against banks. In fact, the primary evidence cited by Harris against attorney Mr. Stein was provided by an affidavit from attorneys at a competitor law firm, Brookstone Law Group. . . Further, Harris and other Defendants approved and provided cover for a blatantly illegal marketing mailer . . .[which] states unequivocally that anybody signing up with Brookstone Law will receive $75,000 from a "class action settlement." The facts are that such a $75,000 "class action settlement" does not exist and is not close to existing. . . .
Plaintiffs were neither induced nor deceived in any fashion before asking Mr. Stein to represent them. To the contrary, had Harris taken the time to contact Stein's clients, she might have learned that many of Mr. Stein's clients were referred not by advertising but by the offices of California Senator Dianne Feinstein or the Department of Homeland Security. . . .
Mr. Stein was the first attorney to file a lawsuit against the Bank of America – in the California Bank of America litigation -- laying out a massive fraud against homeowners that has since been validated in reports from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the Government Accountability Office and the Federal Reserve and in a series of lawsuits by AIG, attorneys general and – this week -- the Federal Housing Finance Agency. All of these subsequent reports and lawsuits were built on attorney Stein's foundation. . . .
The simple truth is this: Mitchell Stein and his legal associates, who have built their case load not through fraudulent mailings but through tens of thousands of hours of detective work, are Bank of America's biggest nightmare. And while Defendant Harris claims to be on the side of the California homeowner, she is effectively trying to provide Bank of America, one of the nation's worst corporate citizens in history who is now being sued again by a very recent federal lawsuit, a "get out of jail free card" by silencing attorney Stein. . . .
Defendant Harris has acted as the pawn of America's most powerful banks, rather than in the interests of California homeowners. Plaintiffs refuse to be made victims of Harris' poor judgment. . . .
Since Defendants unlawfully shut down the LLP by duping a superior court into believing that it was only shutting down Mitchell Stein's law practice, the LLP's clients have not been given any information about their lawsuits from the attorney general or by Defendant California State Bar, which has reportedly taken over their cases nationwide. Many Plaintiffs are fearful that Defendant Harris has shared their files with the very banks they are suing. Some have been told they cannot get their personal legal files for at least three years. By that time, if the evidence of fraud is correct, their homes will be long gone, Bank of America will no longer exist and they will have been denied their day in court.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York: Case 11CIV 6230.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida: Case 0:11-CV-61967-WJZ
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Case LACV-117303-CBM(MRWx)
SOURCE Erikson M. Davis