Date: February 26, 2020Author: Joshua Denbeaux
A day in the life …
They are always wrong about that.
“Attorney Denbeaux, I have a unique case …”.
“No, you don’t. Trust me. You don’t.”
But everybody’s situation is unique to them. And maybe I need to honor that a bit more. That is a personal issue for me to address, but what I can do for you now for you is tell you a story.
An afternoon in the Denbeaux firm conference room. At the appointed time Mr. and Mrs. Smith, an anxious couple, enter the room.
Hands are shaken and introductions made and then we get down to business.
Mr. Smith starts to talk but his wife overrides him. Once she gets started the words come pouring out of her as she tells her story … finally explaining her life’s misery to someone who … understands.
“Attorney Denbeaux … my husband got sick five years ago and he lost a lot of work. Our income dropped and we could not pay the mortgage.
I called the bank to tell them that we were going to have problems and they asked us if we had any savings. I told them the truth and they told us to use the savings.
We paid the mortgage for another 18 months until we ran out of savings as we both continued to look for work. When we got close to running out of our savings we asked the bank again for help and they asked us if we have a retirement account.
Luckily, we did not go into that account but then we ran out of savings, fell behind and asked for a modification.
We sent in the paperwork, everything that they asked of us, and we were never told whether we got the modification. The bank filed a foreclosure complaint against us but told us not to Answer it because they were working on the modification.
Then they told us we had defaulted in our time to Answer the Complaint and told us that we never applied for the modification as we had advised.
But that was not true! We had applied! We even have proof that we sent it in to the servicer.
But they were lying and they didn’t care. So we had to apply again. And we did. We sent everything this time by email and we printed out and copied every single page and every confirmation that the documents were sent.
They sent us back an agreement to modify so long as we made three payments. We made the three payments and then the bank told us that they were applying for final judgment. We asked – what about our modification?
The bank said: “What modification? You never applied.”
This time, though, we could prove it! We showed the bank their own trial modification agreement and our three payments – actually, we showed four even though we were only supposed to pay three. We paid an extra – and the bank said we had been denied the final modification because we did not pay on the trial modification. But we did!!!!
There is a sheriff sale next week. Can you help us?”
A brief silence falls.
I look them in the eyes. “Yeah, I can help. You are pretty far down the process and I wish we had spoken six, 12 months ago … but I can help.”
There is a sense of relief palpable in the air, but then Mr. Smith looks at me suspiciously as he and his wife have been betrayed by multiple people throughout this process.
He asks the most important question in a single word: “How?”
“That’s the question, now, isn’t it? But I can help. Here, let me explain how …”.
So, there is a long story about that ‘how’, and very personal, and related to why I closed my practice for two years and took the time to rebuild myself and my business, and I will be posting about it the next days or weeks.
I’ve done a video of me talking about it, and it is over four minutes long. I hope some people have the interest and attention span to watch it. It is important information.
But as to New Jersey consumers …. suffice it to so that although this is a fictional meeting above, it is an honest combination of three client meetings rolled into one. We are in the process of working on the ‘how’ for Mr. and Mrs. ‘Smith’ and things are looking good at the moment.
This is a challenging and important area of the law where honest people’s financial futures lie in the balance. There are soooo few of us in New Jersey who know how to properly practice true debt defense and how to really, properly bring bad actor banks to heel.
I hope that consumers read this and become energized to defend themselves, and I also hope that fellow attorneys stumble across this and realize that there ARE mechanisms to get banks to a jury and also get into the game.
Potential clients might take this information, or potential ‘competitors might take this information and get in the game … this might cost me business, but that doesn’t matter. If even a single person victimized by the financial industry gets energized enough to defend herself and fight back … with me, on his own, with another lawyer … doesn’t matter.
Just remember: You have rights. USE THEM.