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JP Morgan Chase, Other Banks Face Legal Woes Over Wrongful Foreclosures

Nov 10, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

JP Morgan Chase has been hit with two lawsuits over the way it has handled home foreclosures. The wrongful foreclosure lawsuits, filed against Washington Mutual Bank and JPMorgan Chase & Co in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and against Chase Home Finance in California state court, seek class action status.

Last month, several home loan lenders, including JP Morgan Chase suspended various aspects of the foreclosure process after discovering irregularities in the preparation of court documents. In many instances, the banks outsourced foreclosure processing to “foreclosure factories,” which processed tens of thousands of court documents every month. It now turns out that the foreclosure affidavits processed by those companies were signed by personnel who came to be known as “robo-signers.” In many cases, the robo-signers were not reading or verifying documents where they were signed, and in many documents were not properly notarized. 

Last week, JP Morgan Chase said it would begin re-filing the foreclosure documents
within weeks.

In its 10 Q filing, JP Morgan said the two wrongful foreclosure suits allege “common law fraud and misrepresentation, as well as violations of state consumer fraud statutes. “ JPMorgan’s report did not mention who filed the suits.

The bank also disclosed that it is facing a lawsuit from a number of firms including Charles Schwab and Cambridge Place Investment Management relating to mortgage backed securities.

According to a report in The Washington Post, JP mortgage is just the latest bank to disclose lawsuits involving alleged wrongful foreclosures. Bank of America recently said being sued by investors for more who purchased more than $375 million in mortgage backed securities and Citigroup, Inc. said that it’s been sued for its part in the underwriting process of residential mortgage backed securities. Wells Fargo & Co. said that multiple class action lawsuits have been filed against it and other firms.

The banks’ disclosures have prompted multiple investigations, including one by attorneys general in all 50 states. Those investigations could uncover criminal misconduct or large-scale errors that force foreclosures to be put on hold for an extended period of time. That will encourage thousands of people whose homes have been seized or are facing foreclosure to mount legal action against the banks.

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