Kramer & Kaslow’s “Mass Joinder” Lawsuit – Mandelman Interviews Attorney Phillip Kramer

Should homeowners join Kramer and Kaslow’s “Mass Joinder” lawsuit against Bank of America or any of the other banks being sued by Attorney Phillip Kramer or Attorney Mitchell Stein?  Mandelman interviews attorney Phil Kramer to see what he can find out.

Last week I posted a “Homeowner Warning” about a mailer I’d received from a homeowner promoting participation in a lawsuit, referred to as a “Mass Joinder” lawsuit, being filed against several major banks on behalf of homeowners by the law firm of Kramer & Kaslow.  Before I posted the “warning” I spoke with several attorneys I know that are well-versed in law firm marketing compliance, and I made two attempts to contact the Kramer & Kaslow attorneys at the number provided on the mailer, but received no response.

A couple of hours after I posted my “warning” my phone started ringing off the hook.  Several people were calling to tell me that the mailer was not sent out by Kraner & Kaslow, but rather was a rouge marketing effort by someone not authorized to use the Kramer & Kaslow name.

At first I was not persuaded and thought I should leave the post up until I received proof that Kramer & Kaslow were not, in fact, behind this deceptive mailer, but then someone I know at a reputable law firm called me and explained that my post was causing homeowners to contact the real Kramer & Kaslow and demand that the amounts they had paid as a retainer be returned.  They had read my post and wanted out on that basis alone.  They claimed that the lawsuit was real and that if I would just take down the post for a couple of hours, attorney Phillip would be calling me to straighten things out.

While I didn’t want to take down something that could protect homeowners from being taken advantage of, I also didn’t want to be the cause of homeowners withdrawing from a legitimate lawsuit because of a my critique of a mailer that wasn’t even sent out by the firm of Kramer & Kaslow.

I finally agreed, took the post down, and awaited Mr. Kramer’s call.

Two hours later I had still received no call from Phillip Kramer, but it was about 6:00 PM by that time, so I figured I’d wait until the following day, as anyone can get tied up and not be able to get to a call, no matter how important that call may be to one or both of the parties.

The next day I did receive a call from someone who identified himself as an employee of Kramer & Kaslow, telling me that he was trying to contact Mr. Kramer and that he would be calling me shortly.

In my original post, I said that I thought the mailer looked “extremely suspicious, and could be an illegal scam… because it appears to invite homeowners to participate in a SETTLEMENT, and presents such outcomes as a free and clear mortgage and up to $75,000 in monetary damages per individual participant.

I checked into this mass joinder lawsuit, and found that there had been no “settlement,” rather it was and is an ongoing lawsuit, and therefore I found the wording used in the mailer highly deceptive.

I also was informed by several homeowners that they had received phone calls from an auto-dialer, saying something to the effect of, “If you’re interested in finding out more about how you might get your home free and clear, press ‘1’”.

Law firms are not allowed to engage in outbound telemarketing, or solicit clients in this manner, and as I pointed out, if non-lawyers are doing this and being paid commissions as a result, this is called “running and capping and may involve fee splitting, and both practices are not legal for attorneys.”

I finished the post by urging homeowners to be “extremely careful before writing a check to Kramer & Kaslow, or anyone else suggesting that you pay to be part of a lawsuit promising a lucrative settlement, especially a free house, which is an extremely rare event.

I also mentioned that several attorneys had told me that there was and is an actual lawsuit filed, but that even if that were the case, it wouldn’t make the mailer in question, or the use of auto-dialers by a law firm in any way okay.

An Interview with Phillip Kramer, Attorney at Law

Phillip Kramer called me later in the day, apologizing for not speaking with me sooner, and assuring me that his firm didn’t send out or authorize the mailer I was warning consumers about, nor was his firm doing any telemarketing, or authorizing the use of auto-dialers or outbound telemarketing.

I asked Mr. Kramer if he would put something in writing and offered to publish it in my follow-up article clarifying why I had taken the “warning” down after just a few hours.  He said he would and in a subsequent email to me, he said the following:

“As we discussed, I became aware of the mass mailing piece bearing my firm’s name when I saw it on your website.  I immediately called the toll free number, was outraged to learn that the people handling the calls were falsely purporting to be with my firm, and I asked to speak with a supervisor.

I confirmed that the mailer was prepared by and sent by a law firm that I know.  The mailer was NOT approved by me.  I did NOT authorize the mailer.  I would NOT have authorized the mailer if I had been asked in advance.

My cases are progressing nicely, and I don’t need to mass market every homeowner.  I’d rather organically grow my client base.

I’m not opposed to representing a large number of clients in my mass joinder cases.  In fact, that is the idea of delivering economy of scale to clients and being able to properly litigate against banks.  However, I am opposed to careless and aggressive marketing campaigns, and I never was asked, nor did I approve, that law firm to market under my name, and/or to pose as my law firm when speaking with prospective clients.

In fact, I have never marketed these mass joinder cases, I have not approved any marketing under my name, nor have I authorized anyone to pose as me or to solicit prospective clients under my name.  As I become aware of people doing these things, I confront them and shut them down.

I know that Mitchell J. Stein feels the same way about people marketing under his name and he is also stopping offenders as he learns about them.”

After I received his statement, I sent him a few follow-up questions to ask if he’d like to clarify things further… he did, and he said he appreciated the opportunity.

Here’s what he said…

“I know of no outbound calling.  If asked, I would not approve of that.  I knew that some law firms wanted to send out mailers.  I have insisted that everyone comply with State Bar rules and that anything with my name must be pre-approved.  As of this date, no one has submitted any proposed marketing for my review.  That piece was done without my knowledge.

I am happy to pay a referral fee to other law firms.  I do not split fees, pay commissions, nor do I pay referral fees to non-lawyers.  I do not use cappers, and have never authorized anyone to robocall, telemarket, spam email, or undertake any mass marketing on my behalf.”

While we were discussing the merits of the lawsuits he was filing, which I’ll discuss in a moment, he mentioned that he had just hired a compliance attorney to train all staff attorneys at his firm.  I asked him to send me something in writing so I could describe the sales process in his own words.  Here’s what I received:

“I have recently hired a compliance attorney.  He is currently hiring and training a staff of lawyers to call all new prospective clients.

I will not take on a new client unless I have a licensed attorney speak with the prospective client, make certain that the prospective client understands the risks — and acknowledges that joining the case is not a substitute for making payments to the lender, etc.

If a prospective client does not understand the nature of what we can and cannot do, or if someone has made false statements and the prospective client has unrealistic expectations, we are not accepting them as clients.”

Well, that’s pretty clear, I would think.  And that’s why I agreed to take down my post last week that “warned” homeowners… to give Mr. Kramer a chance to state in no uncertain terms that the mailer shown above and the reported telemarketing efforts were not coming from his firm, Kramer and Kaslow.  And that he, nor attorney Mitchell Stein, in any way endorse any illegal marketing activities, such as capping or fee-splitting… which are both illegal ways of compensating non-lawyers for bringing clients to a law firm.

It’s great to hear that Kramer and Kaslow will do everything they can to put a stop to such rogue efforts, but that doesn’t mean that the mailer or auto-dialer are okay… they’re not.  And from checking online, there are clearly dozens of other obviously unauthorized marketing efforts out there… and homeowners should take care to avoid them.

The bottom-line is… NEVER hire a law firm unless you’re talking to that law firm and can speak with a lawyer employed by that law firm before you do.  Don’t get scammed by someone who is NOT AUTHORIZED by Kramer and Kaslow… in fact, I think you should report those you suspect of unauthorized marketing activities and violations to the laws governing attorney marketing to offices of Kramer and Kaslow… at the very least.

Commentary on the Kramer and Kaslow Mass Joinder Case Itself…

Now, before I say anything… let me be very clear… I’m not an attorney and therefore I am not qualified to assess whether a given lawsuit is a good one or not, or right for you or not… so at the end of the day, homeowners have to make their own assessment and decision as to whether they want to participate or not.  All I can do is share my thoughts and ask around as to what others might think…

As I understand it, the cost to participate in the suit is about $5,000.  For some, that may sound like a cheap way to sue a bank, while for others it may be too much to gamble.  Because I think it’s worth noting that it is both of those things… a lawsuit against a bank… and a gamble.

The case at the core of the Kramer and Kaslow mass joinder lawsuit is: Ronald vs. Bank of America.  Basically, the case accuses Countrywide (subsequent cases being filed include Citibank, One West, GMAC/Ally Bank, and perhaps others) of perpetrating a massive fraud upon homeowners by knowingly inflating appraisals, creating a bubble the bank knew would pop and leave homeowner equity devastated, violate privacy statutes, and then Civil Code sections when they refused to modify… you get the idea.

The case says that Countrywide execs knew and did it anyway in order to make zillions of dollars securitizing the loans and therefore only others would incur the future losses.

Here’s an overview of what the third amended complaint says in its Introduction section:

2. This action seeks remedies for the foregoing improper activities, including a massive fraud perpetrated upon Plaintiffs and other borrowers by the Countrywide Defendants that devastated the values of their residences, in most cases resulting in Plaintiffs’ loss of all or substantially all of their net worths.

6. Hand-in-hand with its fraudulently-obtained mortgages, Mozilo and others at Countrywide hatched a plan to “pool” the foregoing mortgages and sell the pools for inflated value. Rapidly, these two intertwined schemes grew into a brazen plan to disregard underwriting standards and fraudulently inflate property values – county-by- county, city-by-city, person-by-person – in order to take business from legitimate mortgage-providers, and moved on to massive securities fraud hand-in-hand with concealment from, and deception of, Plaintiffs and other mortgagees on an unprecedented scale.

7. From as early as 2004, Countrywide’s senior management led by Mozilo knew the scheme would cause a liquidity crisis that would devastate Plaintiffs’ home values and net worths. But, they didn’t care, because their plan was based on insider trading – pumping for as long as they could and then dumping before the truth came out and Plaintiffs’ losses were locked in.

9. It is now all too clear that this was the ultimate high-stakes fraudulent investment scheme of the last decade. Couched in banking and securities jargon, the deceptive gamble with consumers’ primary assets – their homes – was nothing more than a financial fraud perpetrated by Defendants and others on a scale never before seen. This scheme led directly to a mortgage meltdown in California that was substantially worse than any economic problems facing the rest of the United States. From 2008 to the present, Californians’ home values decreased by considerably more than most other areas in the United States as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ scheme set forth herein.

This massive fraudulent scheme was a disaster both foreseen by Countrywide and waiting to happen. Defendants knew it, and yet Defendants still induced the Plaintiffs into their scheme without telling them.

10. As a result, Plaintiffs lost their equity in their homes, their credit ratings and histories were damaged or destroyed, and Plaintiffs incurred material other costs and expenses, described herein. At the same time, Defendants took from Plaintiffs and other borrowers billions of dollars in interest payments and fees and generated billions of dollars in profits by selling their loans at inflated values.

14. Since the time Plaintiffs filed the initial Complaint herein, Defendants’ improper acts have continued, including, inter alia: (i) issuing Notices of Default in violation of Cal. Civil Code §2923.5; (ii) misrepresenting their intention to arrange loan modifications for Plaintiffs, while in fact creating abusive roadblocks to deprive Plaintiffs of their legal rights; and (iii) engaging in intrinsic fraud in this Court and in Kentucky by stalling in addressing Plaintiffs’ legitimate requests to cancel notices of default and for loan modifications, and by refusing to respond, in any way, to Plaintiffs’ privacy causes of action.

Now, there’s no question… this is a real lawsuit.  Some attorneys believe it will be a very difficult case to win, while others think it’s quite viable and likely to settle.  I can see both sides of that argument.

On one hand, it would seem difficult to prove that Countrywide caused the housing bubble; there were certainly many parties involved and numerous other contributing factors as well.  On the other hand, the case has numerous aspects that are unquestionably true and certainly wrong.

Then there’s what’s known as “the banker factor.”  Actually, I’m making that up, but you know what I mean.  The banks aren’t going to lay down for this as it would open an enormous can of litigating worms… so they have to fight… or is there no percentage in that either?  Well, now you’ve seen first hand why I chose not to go to law school.

I really haven’t the foggiest idea what’s going to happen… and neither does anyone else.

But then, Columbus couldn’t exactly stop and ask for directions either, which, it’s worth noting is why, when sailing for The New World, he landed in the Bahamas and named them San Salvador, but assumed he had found the Indies so he named the native people Indians (leading me to always wonder what he would have named them had he not gotten so hopelessly lost.)

(What if his favorite word was “Jujubees,” and he had named the natives “Jujubees?”  Then I would have grown up playing Cowboys & Jujubees?)

So, since no one can know what’s going to happen in the future of this case, I thought I’d take a look at where it is today.  From a review of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s online records database we find these events have transpired to-date or are set for the near future…

1. Original complaint was filed in March 2009.

2. First amended complaint was in June of 2009.

3. Second amended complaint March 2010.

4. August 2010: the banks try to remove the case to federal court, but fail.

5. Third amended complaint was filed July 7, 2010.

6. The defendant banksters have demurred again, but it doesn’t appear that the demurs filed in December have been heard.

7. Status conference set for Thursday, February 3rd, 2011.

8. There is a hearing date scheduled for March 29, 2011, but it’s not clear to me what will be happening at that hearing.

So, this is their third “amended complaint.”  That means the defendants… the banks… have demurred twice.  That means that the banks have come to court claiming that the mass joinder plaintiffs don’t state a cause of action… or in other words saying the plaintiffs have no case… and the court has allowed the plaintiffs to amend the complaint three times so far.

Like almost everything in the law, I guess you could read that a couple of different ways.  On one hand it seems positive… the case brought by the mass joinder plaintiffs has not been tossed out by the judge yet.  That’s good, right?

On the other hand… the court could “sustain the demur without leave to amend,” in which case the mass joinder suit would be over and done.

And that’s why litigating is always a gamble, and by no means a sure thing.

Here’s an oversimplified look at the mass joinder’s causes of action.

First Cause of Action… Fraudulent Concealment – This is saying that the bank was hiding things from the borrowers.

Second Cause of Action… Intentional Misrepresentation – This is lying when you knew you were lying.  In other words, you knew an appraisal was wrong… it came in at $500,000, but you knew it was worth $400,000 and you passed it off anyway.

Third Cause of Action… Negligent Misrepresentation – This is like saying that you’re lying but it wasn’t intentional.  Let’s say that you ordered an appraisal but never really looked at the appraisal to make sure it was done correctly.  You include this cause of action in case the conduct doesn’t rise to the level of intentional misrepresentation, and perhaps because some insurance policies don’t cover intentional acts.

Fourth Cause if Action… Invasion of Constitutional Right to Privacy – This is saying that the banks disclosed personal information… perhaps when selling the loans to another investor.

Fifth Cause of Action… Violation of California Financial Information Privacy Act – See above or read the actual complaint.

Sixth Cause of Action… Civil Code 2923.5 – Defendants are prohibited by statute from recording a Notice of Default against the primary residential property of any Californian without first making contact with that person as required under § 2923.5 and then interacting with that person in the manner set forth in detail under § 2923.5.  Nothing special here, but its been upheld by other courts in California.

Seventh Cause of Action… Civil Code 1798 – When they gave away your private information, they didn’t tell you they did it?  Defendants failed to timely disclose to Plaintiffs the disclosure of their personal information as required under California Civil Code § 1798.82

Eighth Cause of Action… Unfair Competition Against All Defendants – Defendants’ actions in implementing and perpetrating their fraudulent scheme of inducing Plaintiffs to accept mortgages for which they were not qualified based on inflated property valuations and undisclosed disregard of their own underwriting standards and the sale of overpriced collateralized mortgage pools, all the while knowing that the plan would crash and burn, taking the Plaintiffs down and costing them the equity in their homes and other damages, violates numerous federal and state statutes and common law protections enacted for consumer protection, privacy, trade disclosure, and fair trade and commerce.

In Conclusion…

Attorney Phillip Kramer, in his own words, made it quite clear that his firm was not responsible for the mailer I received or the telemarketing about which I’ve been notified.  Once again, he says…

“I know of no outbound calling.  If asked, I would not approve of that.  I knew that some law firms wanted to send out mailers.  I have insisted that everyone comply with State Bar rules and that anything with my name must be pre-approved.  As of this date, no one has submitted any proposed marketing for my review.  That piece was done without my knowledge.

I am happy to pay a referral fee to other law firms.  I do not split fees, pay commissions, nor do I pay referral fees to non-lawyers.  I do not use cappers, and have never authorized anyone to robocall, telemarket, spam email, or undertake any mass marketing on my behalf.”

So, if you want more information from Kramer and Kaslow about the “mass joinder” lawsuit, there’s only one way to get it… from the source’s mouth at Kramer & Kaslow.  And nowhere else, because no other marketing efforts have been approved, according to Mr. Kramer.

As to the law suit… it’s a real lawsuit… and I’ll be following it closely here on Mandelman Matters, you can count on that.

Mandelman out.

Comments

  1. Do_the_math says

    Martin, great job getting the ball rolling! However, there are still many questions that remain unanswered. The most important questions are:

    1) Who is behind all the websites that are marketing the K2 Law and Mass Joinder?
    2) If the actions of the parties behind the websites are not authorized, why has there not been any legal action?

    Just so we are on the same page, here are a few of the websites (and information):

    http://www.k2-law.com/

    http://www.myk2law.com/

    http://kramerkaslow.com/litigationvideos.php

    http://www.AdvocatesAlliance.com/

    http://mpoweredfinancial.com/k2-law-builds-great-relationship-with-bank-of-america/

    http://www.sueyourlenders.com/mass-joinder-law-suit/

    http://www.suemybank.us/Step5.htm

    http://www.keepusinourhome.com/K-2.html

    http://massjoinderaction.com/

    http://twcpn.com/join.htm

    http://lossmitigationsllc.com/

    http://pakramerlaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=58

    http://brianpcrowley.com/massjoinderlawsuit/

    http://homeownerlitigationservices.org/tommyj/TheLawSuit.htm

    http://www.homelifesolution.com/LitigationFAQs.php

    http://www.free-press-release.com/news-startoverusa-and-k2-law-join-forces-to-help-expand-lender-litigation-awareness-to-homeowners-nationwide-1294972244.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIb9qDar7Ec&feature=related

    Another huge issue is the use of “Client Ambassadors”. These are non-attorneys that solicit and/or consult with homeowners- supposedly on behalf of the law firm. There are links to a few of the “ambassadors” in the above links. I won’t disclose which one I spoke to, but I did confirm the individual was not an attorney and did not possess a real estate license. I was quoted $5000 to join, and was told I could get a meeting with an attorney after the retainer was signed and returned, monies paid, and requested documents provided. I was also given advice to pay a paralegal $200 to prepare a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition.

    Of course I don’t need loss mitigation help or advice nor do I need to file bankruptcy. I don’t even have a mortgage. But I did pull the fellow’s leg a bit to find out whether the reports I had been hearing from homeowners were true.

    Needless to say, you can’t swing a cat by the tail without running into some “Client Ambassador” on the web that is pitching the law firm.

  2. mandelman says

    Hi... can't thank you enough for listing the sites you've found promoting the suit. I had actually thought about trying to do that, but it was like 5 AM and I was just too tired. Plus, I couldn't figure out what to search for to get the best listing... you know me, I'm tech-challenged.

    Also, I do want to tell you that I just got a call from Phil Kramer who saw your list of sites and is sending all of them register letters demanding that they cease and desist these unauthorized marketing efforts, so let's keep an eye on things, and please let me know about anything you find that looks like it could be a problem so I can warn homeowners and/or bring it to Phil's attention.

    I'm writing a follow-up to this story today. Although I can't abide by the noncompliant marketing issues, I've given some additional thought to the merits of the case and the mass joinder model and I am starting to like both more and more. Read my next piece and you'll see why...

  3. dealmakerdb says

    Martin,

    I don't know if you ever saw my email from a couple of weeks ago but I
    asked you to look into this very case as I was talking to them and
    wondered why you did not know of them or why you were not discussing
    them if you did know them. Your first short posting obviously opened a
    can of worms and did not really shed any light on either the merits of
    the lawsuit or the ethics of K & K. Todays blog certainly presents a
    much more objective and fair view as regards the law firm but still
    leaves out any discussion of the MERS complaint which I believe is by
    far the strongest aspect of the cases against the Banksters for one
    very simple reason; all other complaints pit the Banksters against
    individual borrowers and we all know what Judges think of "deadbeat"
    borrowers, "hang them upside down by their toenails until all the
    blood oozes out of them"

    The MERS problem, on the other hand, pits the Banksters against EVERYONE else:

    - The Bondholders who were defrauded as to the quality of the loans in
    the securitized pools they invested in and who would be much more
    amiable to loan modifications that would bring down principal balances
    to current market value at the most and then sue the Servicers for the
    difference between the original balance of the loan in the pool and
    the new modified balance.

    -The County Recorder Offices who lost millions of dollars in revenues
    by not having each and every assignment duly recorded with fees
    collected.

    -The Title Companies who run the risk of clouds on title due to
    improper recording or unrecorded transfers and assignments of mortgage

    -The Judges who intuitively understand that the MERS operation and
    procedures violates the over 200 year precedent of how title to
    property is held and maintained and transferred in the USA

    I certainly hope you will be discussing this aspect of the case in
    tomorrow's blog and also with K & K to get Mr. Kramers take on it.

    I should also mention that I first learned of the Joinder lawsuit
    through an email received by one the people who is actually on the
    staff at the K & K law firm. The person was actually promoting the
    loan modification representation and I explained that I was very
    dissatisfied with the idea of any loan modification without a
    principal reduction when the borrower is substantially under water. I
    explained that I had been keeping up with every article I could find
    concerning foreclosure defense using the MERS complaint and that I was
    looking for a law firm ready to use that defense against my lender,

    She called me back the next day and said that she had good news the K
    & K had teamed with Mitchell Stein and was now filing lawsuits against
    all the major lenders and that the MERS complaint was at the forefront
    of these actions. I was asked to participate in the Joinder and I can
    tell you I was never told there was any kind of settlement. In fact
    they sent links to the entire Countrywide case history and thus I
    could read what had transpired myself, She also told me they had just
    filed the lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase, which was my servicer, on
    December 30, 2010 so there is no way that could be settled. I was also
    quoted an amount less than the $5k as a retainer but there would be
    30% participation by K & K for any cash settlement or principal
    reduction. However, in the case of a principal reduction the K & K
    share would be in the form of a lien on the property.

    At this point, I hope that your investigation into this confirms that
    all of this is viable and ethical and then I hope you promote the hell
    out of it, Martin, because we can only win with MASSIVE and WIDE
    support and participation from all those mentioned above who have been
    damaged by the actions of these criminal and unconsionable gangsters
    from Wall Street. May they be stipped naked of every last asset and
    left to die in the frozen tundra of their own vaults of deceit and
    endless greed!

  4. Do_the_math says

    I appreciate you looking into this too. If there are companies and individuals out there that are doing things that aren't authorized, the legal firm should be able to shut it down quickly.

    I'm sure the law firm would not want to be associated with any unethical or illegal. I'm sure they also want to protect the public from being duped.

    Again, thanks for looking into it.

  5. LVHomeowner says

    I was recently introduced to this organization (Law Firm) through a text message I received by a local company that does marketing for them. I met with them and it was made clear that they had experienced some problems recently with too many other marketing people sending out unapproved information and they have now clamped down on this issue severely.

    But, how can you verify that they are REAL and NOT another SCAM artist preying on desperate people who really need help? I believe the average homeowner does not know how to verify this. They will Google the attorney and the firm and find mixed reviews, but the real validity of what they offer may be missed if hindered by negative comments from people who don't know what the heck they are talking about but blog and post nonsense that has not been verified. Unfortunately, it's up to every homeowner to fend for themselves and verify everything before the invest even more money into a fight they don't understand.

    I believe Kramer is a real guy fighting a real battle against a real enemy who's trying to make legal defense affordable to homeowners across the U.S. I cannot prove this, but from what I've seen and heard so far ... it gives me hope.

  6. Do_the_math says

    LV, why are you meeting with a marketing firm rather than consulting directly with an attorney?

    One way to avoid being scammed by a marketing firm is not to deal through marketing firms or "ambassadors". According to Martin's comment, Kramer is aware of websites that are marketing his firm. As of this morning, only one site is down for maintenance.

    As with any type of legal case, it is never wise to sign a contract for services and hand over a check without first meeting with the attorney who will be personally handling your case. The consultation should never be a non-attorney. After all, how can a non-attorney possibly give legal advice? How can a non-attorney possibly determine whether there is a case?

    The answer is that non-attorneys can't. Paying $5000 and signing a contract based on the advice of a non-attorney who can't give legal advice and is merely trying to earn a commission is not recommended.

    If the law firm is claiming that other companies and people are engaging in unauthorized marketing, it is wise to avoid doing business with anyone who claims to represent the company. Those who wish to join the lawsuit should be very careful, and meet with an attorney with the law firm personally- at the office address listed with the Bar Association.

  7. macgp44 says

    I've checked into this law firm and I can tell you one thing for sure: Kramer and Kaslow will win BIG no matter what happens. Homeowners and B of A? Maybe one of them too, but who knows? Of course the retainer contract is written so EVERYTHING is in favor of the law firm.

    With 1,100 people so far paid up and committed they already got $5.5 million, and they keep that no matter the outcome. If they win you a reduction in principal, they get 30% of that. So let's say on average they can get a $50,000 reduction for everybody. For each person that's a charge of $15,000

    Overall from the group they would take 30% of $55 million, which is $16.5 million. And we're not done yet. Of course they will charge you "costs and fees" without specifying in advance what they might be or how much they might be. So if they have to hire outside people such as private investigators, accountants, expert witnesses, etc. - YOU pay for that too. And they can pay that person whatever they want and you have no say about it. Let's say it is $2,000 although it could be much more.

    So, in order to gain that $50,000 reduction in principal, you pay to the law firm $5,000 upfront, $15,000 for the reduction in principal, plus $2,000 in other costs. That's $22,000 out of the $50,000, which is 44%. Overall they would get as much as $21 million in the scenario I have above. I realize that there are expenses in running a law firm and to litigate a case, but it won't even cost half of the $5.5 million they already received. Remember that getting a reduction in principal doesn't mean more money in your bank account. That $50,000 reduction might get some people back to even, others would still be under water. Now you have a $22,000 debt to the firm.

    Also, I am quite dubious as to the chance for a successful outcome. If a judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, there will be tens of thousands more people who have had the same experience with BofA and will want to do the same litigation - in Calfornia alone! That would spread around the country and BofA and all the others would go bankrupt. That won't be allowed, even though they deserve it. Remember, they are "too big to fail". The homeowner will end up having spent $7,000 for nothing - that's right, you pay the additional $2,000 in costs/fees regardless of the outcome. I guess lawyers are "too big to fail" too. It's "heads I win. tails you lose". Wanna play again?

    Below is a link to the retainer contract.

    http://www.k2-law.com/editor/user_files/files/Kramer_Retainer.pdf

  8. Do_the_math says

    I'm curious about what percentage of the retainer is paid to the client ambassador, and what portion goes to the law firm?

    I'm also curious why so many individuals and entities are marketing the firm's services without authorization? Does this mean that the unauthorized individuals are pocketing the fees, and the homeowners aren't part of the lawsuit? Or does it mean that the affiliates are marketing services in a manner that is not authorized, but do forward the proceeds (or part of the proceeds), and the homeowners still get to join the suit?

    Who are the checks made out to?

  9. macgp44 says

    I called Kramer and Kaslow's office in Oceanside (nothern San Diego County) and asked some questions. If you go through their firm you write your check out to Mitchell Stein, the lead attorney on the case. As far as these other places, I don't know. If you are writing the check to some other name I definitely wouldn't do it.

  10. LVHomeowner says

    @Do the Math: Normally I would not entertain talking to a 'Marketing Company' who represents a law firm. And, as they explained it, they do not receive the money. It goes directly to the Law Firm. When and if the Law Firm accepts your case...then the Marketing Co is paid their commission. I see this as a Network Marketing approach and know the Marketing company is restricted by law in what they can say and can't receive any money up front, etc.

    In the past few years I've heard several pitch men come through Las Vegas explaining a variety of "REMEDIES" that on the surface appeared to be "THE FIX" to fighting foreclosures. And, I've actually done alot of research about the fact or fiction behind the methods. Much of it has been based upon theory, administrative procedures, and unfortunately alot of Hot Air. They were just starting their cases, had a few, no successes yet but sought more cases to anti up to cover their litigation costs. Several have offered Mas Joinder lawsuits that were probably copy cats of what K&K and Mitch Stein started and few years ago... The companies aren't around anymore...for a reason. One attorney, McCallister (sp?) had this going locally and reportedly was a total flop. I also interviewed an attorney who explained it this way...

    "Most people that come to my office seeking an Attorney don't realize that it's going to cost them money. Win or Lose. These clients have no money...and that's one of the reasons they are in Foreclosure. We've struggled to find a way to cover our costs of litigating these kind of cases yet make it affordable."

    There's some good advice from everyone in these posts and the search for truth and justice is very apparent mixed with a YELLOW FLAG of caution. That's a good thing. The last thing I want to do is get associated with a fraudulent law firm and harm Homeowners.

    We have gathered locally to share knowledge and resources to help each other on a Pro Se basis. Phillip Kramer's progress has provided even more hope and validation that we are and have been on the right track. There's even a post on Neil Garfield's' site. If the masses would see the movie "The Inside Job" and or "Plunder" ... it would put things quickly in perspective and make you mad as heck. So, with ALL my research I have but one solution. And that is to FIGHT BACK! So, hire an attorney, the best you can afford, or spend 2 years studying to learn how to fight back on your own! But bottom line .... FIGHT BACK!!!

  11. achtung says

    Just as an aside

    If as MM says the law firm has told him that these "marketing" companies are not affiliated with the Law Firm,

    how can the law firm pay people that they admit are not affiliated.

    seems like double speak

    otherwise, why would the cease and desist letters go out to marketers, yet the marketers claim the whole amount of monies paid go to the attorney's?

    symbiotic parasitic relationship?

  12. Do_the_math says

    @LV, I would never entertain engaging a marketing firm when it comes to legal services. There is no reason to engage marketing services or non-attorneys. It only increases costs and casts a jaundiced eye on the law firm in question.

    Just like a few people can't competently handle a 1,000 mod requests, an attorney can't manage thousands of litigants via non-attorneys. A multitude of attorneys are needed especially considering that we are talking about a Mass Joinder and not a class action.

    Regardless of whether the fees are collected by the attorneys or the marketing firms, whenever attorneys split fees and pay commissions to non-attorneys that are not BAR approved referral organizations or bona fide employees or expert witnesses- it is a great big red flag.

    It would be good to find out if there are other attorneys that are willing to take in clients in regard to this action. While I support the case, I do not support the marketing methods that I have encountered over and over in regard to this firm.

    As to fighting the banks, let's think about this for a minute. No body twisted anybodies arm to take out loans or buy houses. Was the market rigged by bad mortgages? Yes. Did the big institutions rape the taxpayers, yes? Should everyone out there get a free house? No. That is further raping of the taxpayers. I've seen countless people unwind their mortgages and get paid by the bank. Most will be able to buy houses in a few years for a fraction of what they owed. Most will end up with better houses and cheaper payments.

    In the interim, it is really cool to have seen so many people go through the trauma of coming to grips with their financial situations (which includes the normal stages of grief), only to call me elated after they move because they found a better home at a fraction of the cost. It is especially special is to hear from single parents who don't have to commute anymore and get to spend more time with their kids.

    As to my friends and associates that obtained mods, I haven't seen anything there that really flips my ovaries. There have been some winners, but most are still losing by just kicking the can down the road. The real deals come toward the end of the crisis after the debt has been discounted and sold. But I've still seen people live free for a few years and then get paid to move. The real losers are the tenants, so I recommend that tenants really check out the properties and owners when renting. No verbal leases or month-to-month tenancies. Leases must be in writing for the protection of tenants.

    I'm a big believer that there are worse things that can happen to people than losing an overpriced, over-mortgaged home- especially when its not the ideal home to start with and the people only lived there for a few years. The worst thing I can think of is losing a friend or loved one (heaven forbid, a child) to something like cancer. That is truly devastating, and at the end of the day, I'd rather see my friends and family healthy and secure than worry about something material.

    But one thing that really chaps my hide is the thought of anyone preying on the weakness of others, and taking the last few dollars from someone who can ill afford it through questionable means.

    Now, if the law firm is legitimate and the marketing efforts of the many companies are not authorized, that is another issue that also needs to be addressed. A lot of eyes are on this suit and it could create significant precedent. As such, I'd hate to see questionable and unscrupulous companies tarnish the firms reputation.

    I am not calling the attorneys or law firms crooks by any means, but I am pointing out that there is something amiss.

  13. Do_the_math says

    achtung wrote:
    Just as an aside

    If as MM says the law firm has told him that these "marketing" companies are not affiliated with the Law Firm,

    how can the law firm pay people that they admit are not affiliated.

    seems like double speak

    otherwise, why would the cease and desist letters go out to marketers, yet the marketers claim the whole amount of monies paid go to the attorney's?

    symbiotic parasitic relationship?


    Case and point. Why are the links still active days after they were pointed out? And the fact that the checks are written to the law firm is doubly disturbing. If the checks were written to the marketing firms, it wouldn't trace back to the law firm.

    It's not like the firms are being stealthy. I'm finding this everywhere on various forums and discussions boards. How many of ML's members have stumbled into this?

    If it walks like a duck, and it goes "quack" like a duck, by George, it must be duck. Now that we have pointed out these issues, it should be expected that the law firm will take swift and decisive action against said marketing firms or risk being implicated through complacency.

  14. pieceofAmerica says

    Thank you all for the information on the Joinder Action Suit. I am a CA homeowner presently in default. After seeking the advice from a real estate attorney, I stopped making payments. I faxed my lender, Bank of America, a letter telling them I would not be making any more payments until they give me an answer on if I was accepted into "Obama's Making Home Affordable program" or not. BOA denied my request for a loan mod after paying 5 months of "trial payments". The stated reason for denial was that I did not make enough income. I believe they knew this from the begining and strung me along in order to get every cent they could from me. I have been following a lawsuit of a Big Bear resident, Dave Graham against Bank of America. BOA was trying to hold Graham accountable for the difference between his "trial payments" and the actual mortgage payment. He sought advice from Alan Sims of the Center for Litigation and Consumer Real Estate Education. Dave Graham won the lawsuit!! Graham has given me hope. BOA sent me a letter holding me responsible to pay the difference of my mortgage payments as well. They expect me to come up with almost $14,000 to reinstate my loan status within 3 weeks. Really? When they know full well that I don't make enough income?? LOL!! I plan on contacting Alan Sims and advise others like myself to do the same. He can be reached at (909)-584-8820. Or visit the website at www.clcree.org

  15. Do_the_math says

    Martin,

    When you speak to Mr. Kaslow, please bring this fee schedule and compensation plan to his attention.

    http://doc-10-94-docsviewer.googleusercontent.com/viewer/securedownload/dsn1aovipa7l846lsfcf94nedj8q2p4u/dcrm0divqal4dksega6i3617kidtubno/1297191600000/Ymw=/AGZ5hq8BgbJY1gwaOYx83cPOdNw6/QURHRUVTZ0w1UC1MZWlwMGJ1d0I4OTNua2QycTJNckhkbUhYTzFYOV84TlVuNm1QVXc0ai1kSW1jYVRySzhnMWJscl9LSW5ISHMwQjVWdF9hM1JTWmV4Y1U1Z3lSeXRxdkpIZl91d3ZMZ0lVcU9TUEc4QkhGaFBkdXRJeXJGa1dKZWYwc183Z2dWWDU=?a=gp&filename=Loan_Litigation_Affiliate_Fee_Schedule__Comp_Plan_12142010.pdf&chan=EgAAADAChQVIfQxaIg2KBXoyYmks78OSxOP616KJ5YjaTly8&docid=507473283933cd3a51f0f3bffbf07764&sec=AHSqidZZZqxclInoSRAfBegKFfWAw1zgIkjUpgpR1E9SKBGvzHtOZlfzFobqwO29Q-65d_m0o2C3&nonce=vp6ni4j0bek4e&user=AGZ5hq8BgbJY1gwaOYx83cPOdNw6&hash=jn2u85g36d3vjc0cq6iffdtsk4p4dh6h

    This affiliate training is interesting as well:

    http://www.legacycareerdevelopment.com/members/legacytraining/videos/VIEW/00000101/LOAN-LITIGATION-INTRO-TRAINING-12-01-2010.html

    Pretty lucrative if you ask me. Some pretty fat commission pay outs.

  16. Do_the_math says

    Since the document link isn't showing on my prior post, here is an excerpt from the compensation plan:

    Excerpt:

    Quote:
    The Following Lenders will need to have a Mitchell J. Stein Retainer Agreement:
    Morgan, Chase, WaMu {Washington Mutual}, GMAC, and BOA / Countrywide

    All other lenders will need to have the Kramer & Kaslow Retainer Agreement Completed.


    Commission Break Down Examples:

    Quote:
    Example 1: Legacy Affiliate charges a client $5000 Retainer fee on a single lawsuit {no second mortgage}. Legacy Affiliate Commission will be $5000 - {Amount Charged Client} $2250 {our cost} = $2750 {Gross Profit Fee paid to Legacy} X 50% {Affiliate Commission Split} =

    Example 2: Legacy Affiliate charges a client a $7000 Retainer fee on a single lawsuit {no second mortgage}. Legacy Affiliate Commission will be $7000 {Amount Charged Client} -$2250 {our Cost} = $4750 {Gross Profit Fee paid to Legacy} X 50% {Affiliate Commission Split} =

    Example 3: Legacy Affiliate charges client an $6250 Retainer fee on a client that has two mortgages with the same lender {two lawsuits being filed} Legacy Affiliate Commission will be $6250 {Amount Charged Client} -$3250 {Our Cost for a client that has a first and second with same lender} = $3000 {Gross Profit Fee paid to Legacy} X 50% {Affiliate Commission Split} =

    Example 4: Legacy Affiliate charges client an $8000 Retainer fee on a single lawsuit {no second mortgage}. Legacy Affiliate Commission will be $8000 {Amount Charged Client} -$2250 {Our Cost} = $5750 {Gross Profit Fee paid to Legacy} X 50% {Affiliate Commission Split} =

  17. achtung says

    mandelman wrote:
    Hi... can't thank you enough for listing the sites you've found promoting the suit. I had actually thought about trying to do that, but it was like 5 AM and I was just too tired. Plus, I couldn't figure out what to search for to get the best listing... you know me, I'm tech-challenged.

    Also, I do want to tell you that I just got a call from Phil Kramer who saw your list of sites and is sending all of them register letters demanding that they cease and desist these unauthorized marketing efforts, so let's keep an eye on things, and please let me know about anything you find that looks like it could be a problem so I can warn homeowners and/or bring it to Phil's attention.

    I'm writing a follow-up to this story today. Although I can't abide by the noncompliant marketing issues, I've given some additional thought to the merits of the case and the mass joinder model and I am starting to like both more and more. Read my next piece and you'll see why...



    Phil must be appalled about the unauthorized marketing efforts

    http://www.k2-law.com/editor/user_files/files/K2_Law_Affiliate_Updates_-_11-17-2010.pdf

    Just appalled

    Quote:
    K2 Law law is extremely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with you to engage clients with a process that truly may change their financial future. counsel is aggressively putting together the infrastructure to support what is anticipated as a flood of clients who wish to permanently change the way we deal with these lenders. now it is up to our ambassador team to get word out to homeowners in need.


    Simply beside himself

    Quote:
    As part of the continued collaboration between the K2 Law Support Team and our dedicated Client Ambassadors, the following marketing and sales presentation materials are provided for your support.
    •Website driven Client Litigation Information (coming soon!)
    •Website Ambassador Support Section updated for Litigation (coming soon!)
    •Client Presentations
    •Client FAQ’s
    •Client Litigation Video (coming soon!)
    •Client Eligibility & Settlement Calculator (coming soon!)

  18. Rhonda W says

    I just wanted to highly thank you, Mr. Mandelman, for your information on this subject!! It was VERY IMFORMATIVE to me because I had placed a complaint on www.complaintsboard.com. along with so many other people who have also undergone their share of troubles with Home Modification Programs through Bank of America, that was to only take 3 months, but like myself, took up to 9 months or longer! And even after doing every thing the bank asked, only to find out after that time passed, that the modification program was a scam in itself to end up taking your home!!! However, after visiting the complaintsboard, I then received a phone call from a gentleman who claimed he was working for Kramer & Kaslow as an intake specialist!! He would call me & E-mail me different sites & even told me that he had gotten an approval for me from the attorneys themselves to be accepted to the lawsuit!!! The next step was a $5,000.00 retainer fee!! Of course, I was unable to come up with this amount, but when I asked him if that amount could be added to the 30% fee that they were going to also charge me after winning, of course he told me no!! This man sent me several links & e-mails, including a copy of the lawsuit...he is listed as a plaintiff himself!! Who can you trust anymore!!???

  19. djmanuelc says

    Latest update, Kramer has been shut down. :cry: I don't get it. The lawsuit was legit but he wasn't? I don't get it. Let him finish the job.. I don't even know what to say..... It doesn't pay to fight... I give up :(
    http://www.loansafe.org/kramer-kaslow-california-state-bar-shuts-down-rogue-law-firm

  20. djmanuelc says

    Latest update, Kramer has been shut down. :cry: I don't get it. The lawsuit was legit but he wasn't? I don't get it. Let him finish the job.. I don't even know what to say..... It doesn't pay to fight... I give up :(
    http://www.loansafe.org/kramer-kaslow-california-state-bar-shuts-down-rogue-law-firm

  21. Do_the_math says

    djmanuelc wrote:
    Latest update, Kramer has been shut down. :cry: I don't get it. The lawsuit was legit but he wasn't? I don't get it. Let him finish the job.. I don't even know what to say..... It doesn't pay to fight... I give up :(
    http://www.loansafe.org/kramer-kaslow-california-state-bar-shuts-down-rogue-law-firm


    I wrote that before the press release from Attorney General was released, and had to tread lightly. Here is the AG release which is inline with much that I have discussed here on various blogs and discussion threads:

    http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2552

    Should this really have been allowed to continue? How many thousands more desperate homeowners should line the pockets of non-attorney affiliates making big commissions and the attorneys that disregarded Bar rules for the sake of a buck?

  22. David J says

    djmanuelc wrote:
    Latest update, Kramer has been shut down. :cry: I don't get it. The lawsuit was legit but he wasn't? I don't get it. Let him finish the job.. I don't even know what to say..... It doesn't pay to fight... I give up :(
    http://www.loansafe.org/kramer-kaslow-california-state-bar-shuts-down-rogue-law-firm


    Are you serious? These guys took money and did nothing half the time. None of these filed lawsuits have gone anywhere and the Ronald case was filed in the first half of 2009. The other lead attorneys filed to have Mitchell Stein removed from the Bank of America case and they wrote about Mitchell stealing from them in their motion to kick him off the case. Philip Kramer seemed to had been the mastermind and Stein his wingman.

    Did you even read the actual lawsuit? They are going national with taking people's money when some of their named plaintiff's have still lost their homes in the process. What was the point of giving up $5k when you still going to be evicted? They also claimed to had won all these cases which isn't true. Neither one of them have ever done a mass joinder case before and neither one of them have hundreds of cases won. This is public record. If you did a search of these two with the courts, you'd know that they are both full of sh*t and was using a few guys that had already had their offices seized a year ago for load mod fraud. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

    http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n2552_consumer_alert.pdf

    http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n2552_complaint.pdf

    http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/press/pdfs/n2552_tro.pdf

    You are either the most gullible person on the planet or an employee or agent trying to save face.

  23. creid1492 says

    I am currently a plaintiff on the JP Morgan Chase case and I have spent the last week gathering information about the status of my case. Despite the fact the Kramer has been targeted for his abuse by the Barr, let me be honest. The lawsuits that are sitting in the Superior Court are legit. Even the B of A case. It takes anywhere from 2 - 3 years for these litigation cases to go anywhere. There are hearings and then it will take maybe a year for discovery. On average there are 600 plaintiffs per case and working these cases takes time. If anyone was not in it for the long run you should have never signed up. My case was filed on March 22, 2011, it has had three hearings with a motion to dismiss that was denied by the judge. It was recently moved to Federal Court with a tentative April 2012 trial date. Currently there is a September 19th hearing with a motion to dismiss per Chase. It was obvious that it was coming as it was filed on 8/15/11, the same day Kramer was shut down. Not sure what will happen next but you can bet I will be in Judge George Wu's courtroom on that day. Kramer may have been a target, he may have been corrupt, but these cases are legit and someone needs to start talking about them or they are all going to disappear without a trace and the homeowners who thought they had a chance to have their voices heard will be silenced. P.S. I am not the most gullible person on the planet or an employee or agent trying to save face.

  24. Abner says

    Anyone in the mass joinders don't give up hope! The fat lady hasn't sung yet. It seems Ms. Harris has overstepped her bounds and have been found to have acted in excess of her jurisdiction and has violated federal laws. that's according to Market Wire, Aug 26. The Doberman, Mitchell J. Stein is not through with her yet, more to come next week.

  25. Older Guy says

    Geez...I gave the FBI a one inch thick file on this guy in March...they had a whole floor call center in Newport Beach just fawking people.......whole bunch of crooks....

  26. drkenmorris says

    It certainly seems that Kramer and Kaslow were fee splitting and paying referral fees...essentially they were going against California State Bar policies and will more than likely be disbarred if the State Bar has its way. It would also seem that the Attorney General has been in collusion with Bank of America according to evidence that I was shown personally by one of Mitchell Stein's assistants when I flew to California to try to find out what the heck was going on. No one was in Kramer's office when I went there after the AG's raie, and to me, for the size of lawsuit they were running they were horribly understaffed according to the staffing size I was told they were running. It is questionable as to what will happen with Kramer's lawsuits. I was told by Stein's people that they have filed a civil rights violation lawsuit against the California Attorney General. It appears that Stein may come out of the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General unscathed. I was also told that he is considering taking on Kramer's cases and his clients if OK'd to do so. More than likely he will do it on a contingency basis. Stein is really the Godfather of this whole line of lawsuits anyway. Kramer was an ambulance chaser and Stein ran away with his very brief connection with Kramer because of he became aware of his inordinate marketing tactics.

    I was also told that Kramer and his cronies collected around 25 million in fees for this joinder....but only 1.6 million was recovered by the state's AG. So good luck if you're trying to get your money back. :cry:

  27. Sarah W says

    From your list, "sueyourlenders" is still up, and "lossmitigationsllc" is a paralegal firm, not a law firm, though they claim to work under an unnamed attorney. Brian Crowley is a personal coach who "empowers" people to "discover" and become leaders. Ok, Brian. The "free press release" about K2 has a phone number that has been disconnected. The rest appear to have been taken down. There is one video of an attorney named Kramer, and I've seen this before, but at the end of the one I saw on YouTube, it connects you with some kind of mutli-level organization that seems to have nothing to do with law, so who knows what THAT was all about. And then the Stein Law Firm's site disclaims all of these bogus advertisements and even filed suit (and his clients did, too) against the AG that investigated him, at the behest of Bank of America, basically from what I can tell at first glance accusing him of what all these bogus sheisters were actually doing.

    One thing is for sure: people have found a way to exploit other people, hitting them hardest when they are the least able to pay. In my mind, they are no better than the hacks who prey upon people beset with credit card debt in the name of "debt settlement."

    It is this kind of thing, by the way, that drives people to do things for themselves, and to trust no one.

  28. ListingTalks12 says

    Thanks for providing this useful and brilliant peace of information.

    real estate solutions

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