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NJ Attorney Fights Foreclosure with Federal Laws

October 27th, 2015 by

NJ Attorney Fights Foreclosure with Federal Laws

In New Jersey, the trend in foreclosure litigation has been to narrow the defenses available to homeowners almost to the point of non-existence. In light of CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s recent remarks regarding “mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses”, Joshua Denbeaux explains how his firm combats this growing problem, by using federal laws enforced by the CFPB to protect NJ homeowners in foreclosure.

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray delivered remarks to the Consumer Advisory Board last week regarding “arbitration’s role in resolving consumer complaints.”


Director, Richard Cordray

“Companies have been able to use these obscure clauses to rig the game against their customers to avoid group lawsuits. Group lawsuits can result in substantial relief for many consumers and create the leverage to bring about much-needed changes in business practices. But by inserting the free pass into their consumer financial contracts, companies can sidestep the legal system, avoid big refunds, and continue to pursue profitable practices that may violate the law and harm consumers on a large scale, ” Directory Cordray went on to say in prepared comments.

Nowhere else are consumers being harmed on as large scale as in New Jersey where the foreclosure rate is the highest in the U.S., according to a report released by Realty Trac on October 15, 2015. In New Jersey, the trend in foreclosure litigation has been to narrow the defenses available to homeowners almost to the point of non-existence. To combat this growing problem, Joshua Denbeaux explains why Denbeaux and Denbeaux proactively fights for the rights of consumers in concert with the CFPB.

Josh Denbeaux, Esq. at CFPB Field Hearing

“I have a transcript where a judge in New Jersey says ‘fraud is not a defense to a foreclosure.’ It’s been said to me off the record 3 or 4 times in different counties. I have four different judges who don’t allow discovery to happen in foreclosure cases because the bank has a note and created an assignment of mortgage,” Mr. Denbeaux asserts.

Free download The Six Warning Signs of a Possible Consumer Protection Law Violation

The law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux is located at 366 Kinderkamack Road Westwood New Jersey 07675. Tel: 201-664-8855 or email pr(at)denbeauxlaw(dot)com.

Denbeaux and Denbeaux is a family operated law firm with a tradition of excellence in consumer rights and family law. Formed in 1989, Denbeaux & Denbeaux is a law firm dedicated to providing top level legal representation to its clients. Their work has been featured in major media sources throughout the country including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, C-SPAN, CBS Evening News, the Associated Press, The Star Ledger, and The Record.

The partners, Marcia Denbeaux and Joshua Denbeaux, represent individuals and businesses in New Jersey State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts. The firm primarily practices civil litigation, with a concentration in , consumer fraud, commercial litigation, matrimonial law, business, insurance coverage litigation, and mortgage foreclosure defense.

Supreme Court Watch: Consumer Rights Under Attack

October 26th, 2015 by

Supreme Court Watch: Consumer Rights Under Attack

 by Adam Deutsch Esq.

The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins in which a corporation is asking the Court to find unconstitutional, the awarding of a statutory fine when the consumer plaintiff does not also prove actual damages resulting from the wrongful conduct on November 2, 2015.

The case has the potential to restrict the operation of free markets and roll back the progress of civil rights which should cause us all to have great concern.

The United States Supreme Court is back in session with the majority of media coverage and debate being focused on cases addressing affirmative action in college admissionsunion rightsabortion, and the manner in which populations are counted in drawing voting districts.  While it may lack obvious sex appeal, there is one case that has the potential to affect the rights of the 280 million Americans who have credit history by neutering the consumer protection statutes that allow consumers to recover a nominal statutory fine when laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Truth in Lending Act are violated.  Each of these statutes play a vital role in self-regulation of our financial markets.  On November 2, 2015 the Supreme Court will hearoral argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins in which a corporation is asking the Court to find unconstitutional, the awarding of a statutory fine when the consumer plaintiff does not also prove actual damages resulting from the wrongful conduct.  The case has the potential to restrict the operation of free markets and roll back the progress of civil rights which should cause us all to have great concern.

At the heart of Spokeo is a concept of constitutional law known as “standing,” which requires a litigant to show (1) a concrete injury (2) caused by the defendant and (3) for which some remedy can be provided by the Court.  Standing is not a test of a case’s merits, but requirement to obtain access to the Court.  Spokeo challenges whether a concrete injury can be a statutory damage established by Congress, where the Plaintiff did not suffer any actual damages resulting from the offending conduct.  Specifically, Robins sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and sought to recover a statutory damage ranging from $100-1,000 that Congress enacted to be imposed against any entity whose conduct willfully violated the statute.  Robins alleged that false information regarding his finances and employment history were published in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, however Robins did not allege that he suffered actual damages resulting from the publication.  By suing, Robins provided a vital function to make sure the same conduct is not repeated causing actual damage to you or me.  The key question is whether a statutory damage enacted by Congress can be used to establish a concrete injury and satisfy the constitutional requirement of standing.  Although this may seem hyper technical, the significance cannot be overstated.

Since the 1970’s, as part of the final chapter in civil rights legislation, Congress has enacted a series of consumer protection statutes that provide individual consumers with a private right of action to protect themselves from overzealous greedy companies.  These statutes also provide enforcement mechanisms by governmental agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The private right of action component is the ultimate free market self-regulation mechanism because it empowers consumers to be industry watchdogs, incentivizes companies to adhere to the law, and prevents the Federal Government from having to grow and be burdened with the obligation of enforcement.  This function is recognized in the statement of purpose for the Fair Credit Reporting Act which states “The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting.  Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system…” and “[t]here is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.”  By providing a nominal statutory damage, right to recover costs and attorney fees, Congress incentivized every day American consumers to be watchdogs, to report and act upon their rights while having the natural effect of preventing injuries to other consumers and the public at large.

Demonstrating the consequences at risk in this case, there have been forty three amicus curiae briefs (friend of the court) filed by companies and organizations that are not parties to the case but are attempting to sway the Court.  The overwhelming majority of the non-party briefs are submitted on behalf of corporations, and do not represent the consumer interest or good of the public.  The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals argues in its brief for the Court to expand its ruling beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act, stressing “this case’s implications go beyond the statute at issue and affect the credit-and-collection industry at every level.”  The stakes are high.  If the right to sue a company that violates federal law in the course of publishing or reporting credit information and recover a statutory damage for doing so is eliminated, the public will suffer.  Enforcement obligations will be entirely on the shoulders of the Federal Government which does not have the man power, budget, or time to prevent individual violations that occur on a daily basis.  Congress has empowered you and I, the consumer to play a vital role in maintaining a self-regulating free market banking and credit system.  We know what happens when enforcement powers are relegated only to the Federal Government because we experienced it in 2008.  With repercussions this significant, history will relegate Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins among the most important Supreme Court cases over the coming decades.

Supreme Court Watch: Consumer Rights Under Attack

October 26th, 2015 by

Supreme Court Watch: Consumer Rights Under Attack

 by Adam Deutsch Esq

  The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins in which a corporation is asking the Court to find unconstitutional, the awarding of a statutory fine when the consumer plaintiff does not also prove actual damages resulting from the wrongful conduct on November 2, 2015.

The case has the potential to restrict the operation of free markets and roll back the progress of civil rights which should cause us all to have great concern.

The United States Supreme Court is back in session with the majority of media coverage and debate being focused on cases addressing affirmative action in college admissionsunion rightsabortion, and the manner in which populations are counted in drawing voting districts.  While it may lack obvious sex appeal, there is one case that has the potential to affect the rights of the 280 million Americans who have credit history by neutering the consumer protection statutes that allow consumers to recover a nominal statutory fine when laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Truth in Lending Act are violated.  Each of these statutes play a vital role in self-regulation of our financial markets.  On November 2, 2015 the Supreme Court will hearoral argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins in which a corporation is asking the Court to find unconstitutional, the awarding of a statutory fine when the consumer plaintiff does not also prove actual damages resulting from the wrongful conduct.  The case has the potential to restrict the operation of free markets and roll back the progress of civil rights which should cause us all to have great concern.

At the heart of Spokeo is a concept of constitutional law known as “standing,” which requires a litigant to show (1) a concrete injury (2) caused by the defendant and (3) for which some remedy can be provided by the Court.  Standing is not a test of a case’s merits, but requirement to obtain access to the Court.  Spokeo challenges whether a concrete injury can be a statutory damage established by Congress, where the Plaintiff did not suffer any actual damages resulting from the offending conduct.  Specifically, Robins sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and sought to recover a statutory damage ranging from $100-1,000 that Congress enacted to be imposed against any entity whose conduct willfully violated the statute.  Robins alleged that false information regarding his finances and employment history were published in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, however Robins did not allege that he suffered actual damages resulting from the publication.  By suing, Robins provided a vital function to make sure the same conduct is not repeated causing actual damage to you or me.  The key question is whether a statutory damage enacted by Congress can be used to establish a concrete injury and satisfy the constitutional requirement of standing.  Although this may seem hyper technical, the significance cannot be overstated.

Since the 1970’s, as part of the final chapter in civil rights legislation, Congress has enacted a series of consumer protection statutes that provide individual consumers with a private right of action to protect themselves from overzealous greedy companies.  These statutes also provide enforcement mechanisms by governmental agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The private right of action component is the ultimate free market self-regulation mechanism because it empowers consumers to be industry watchdogs, incentivizes companies to adhere to the law, and prevents the Federal Government from having to grow and be burdened with the obligation of enforcement.  This function is recognized in the statement of purpose for the Fair Credit Reporting Act which states “The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting.  Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system…” and “[t]here is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.”  By providing a nominal statutory damage, right to recover costs and attorney fees, Congress incentivized every day American consumers to be watchdogs, to report and act upon their rights while having the natural effect of preventing injuries to other consumers and the public at large.

Demonstrating the consequences at risk in this case, there have been forty three amicus curiae briefs (friend of the court) filed by companies and organizations that are not parties to the case but are attempting to sway the Court.  The overwhelming majority of the non-party briefs are submitted on behalf of corporations, and do not represent the consumer interest or good of the public.  The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals argues in its brief for the Court to expand its ruling beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act, stressing “this case’s implications go beyond the statute at issue and affect the credit-and-collection industry at every level.”  The stakes are high.  If the right to sue a company that violates federal law in the course of publishing or reporting credit information and recover a statutory damage for doing so is eliminated, the public will suffer.  Enforcement obligations will be entirely on the shoulders of the Federal Government which does not have the man power, budget, or time to prevent individual violations that occur on a daily basis.  Congress has empowered you and I, the consumer to play a vital role in maintaining a self-regulating free market banking and credit system.  We know what happens when enforcement powers are relegated only to the Federal Government because we experienced it in 2008.  With repercussions this significant, history will relegate Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins among the most important Supreme Court cases over the coming decades.

Episode 8 – Financial Consumer Rights Talk – Know Your Rights Part II (RESPA). Loss Mitigation and Loan Modification Through the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act

June 29th, 2015 by

Episode 8 – Know Your Rights Part II. Loss Mitigation and Loan Modification Through the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

In episode 8 of the FCRT we discuss regulations governing loan modifications.  The podcast highlights homeowner rights relating to RESPA and loss mitigation procedures including how to appeal a denial of a loan modification application, and rules that prohibit banks from conducting a foreclosure sale while a loss mitigation application is under review.

Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act Regulation X 12 C.F.R. 1024.41 

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/12/1024.41

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Foreclosure defense and loss mitigation boot camp

http://www.nbi-sems.com/Details.aspx/R-69347ER%7C?ctname=SPKEM

Discussion: Notice of Error, a New Tool Under Federal Law to Fix Mortgage Account Errors.

April 27th, 2015 by

Notice of Error, a New Tool Under Federal Law to Fix Mortgage Account Errors

In January 2014 homeowners with mortgage loans obtained a significant tool for disputing errors in the collection and application of their mortgage loans.  The tool in question is known as a Notice of Error, which was made part of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), originally enacted in 1974.  Drafted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Regulation X which includes the Notice of Error rule is a great tool that should be utilized by aggrieved homeowners seeking to fix errors on their mortgage loan accounts.

A Notice of Error is merely a written letter sent to the loan servicing company that sets forth an explanation of the alleged error and includes sufficient identifying information for the servicing company to determine what account the problem relates to.  Errors covered by the rule are those having to do with loan servicing.  By way of example this includes monthly payments that are not properly credited to the account, a modification agreement that is not honored following a change in loan servicing company, errors with tax and insurance disbursements and fees that are inappropriately assessed to an account.  A notice of error does not include claims of errors that occurred at the time the loan was originated.

By issuing a Notice of Error, a homeowner can compel a loan servicing company to conduct an investigation of the error.  The loan servicer must complete its investigation within 30-45 business days and provide the homeowner with a written response.  In responding to a Notice of Error the loan servicer must correct the error or provide the homeowner with a detailed letter explaining the reasons why no error was found.  Thus, if the servicing company disagrees with the homeowners allegations, they must explain what research was done in finding that no error occurred.  The loan servicer must also make available upon request and at no cost, documents reviewed by the servicing company during its investigation.  This allows a homeowner to obtain a level of transparency that was not previously available.

If the loan servicer fails to respond to the Notice of Error or otherwise fails to conduct an investigation in the manner and time required by the rule, a homeowner can seek relief in court.  RESPA provides that a successful plaintiff homeowner will be entitled to the Notice of Error investigation and will recover attorney fees and costs incurred pursuing the case.  In some circumstances the homeowner might also be entitled to damages of up to $2,000 per violation of the RESPA requirements by the loan servicing company.

Homeowners who have been subject to an error by their loan servicer may have found themselves in financial trouble as a result of the error, or even worse, facing a foreclosure.  Using the Notice of Error early on can prevent the snowball effect of an error.  For more information including an in-depth discussion regarding notices of error, listen to Episode 6 of the Financial Consumer Rights Talk which can be found in the podcast section of www.Denbeauxlaw.com.

The Lawyer Who Went from Fighting for Guant

February 26th, 2015 by