Jun 7, 2011





Via Time:

In a modern-day evocation of David’s slingshot triumph over Goliath, a couple of foreclosed homeowners in Naples, Fla., reportedly foreclosed on a Bank of America branch last week, their attorney actually having moving trucks pull up in front of a Naples branch to execute a foreclosure judgment against the bank.

What must have seemed to observers like a scene out of a parallel universe — you can see some video here — was actually the fair and logical conclusion to a situation which, the court had ruled, had an unfair and illogical start. In 2009, retired police officer Warren Nyerges and his wife, Maureen Collier, paid $165,000 cash for their 2,700 square foot home in the Golden Gate Estates subdivision, and never took a mortgage out on it. So imagine their surprise when, in February of 2010, Bank of America initiated foreclosure proceedings against them. The Nyerges hired an attorney, Todd Allen, to defend them against the wrongful foreclosure, and the bank eventually abandoned the matter.

But not before the Nyerges incurred $2,534 in attorney’s fees, which they requested informally from Bank of America multiple times before resorting to the courts, which ordered the bank to make the couple whole. When B of A still had not paid the judgment after five months of phone calls and letter writing by Allen and the Nyerges to the bank insisting that the court order be obeyed, Allen took the next step in the legal collection process, obtaining an order of foreclosure against the bank.

“They’ve ignored our calls, ignored our letters, legally this is the next step to get my clients compensated,” Allen stated during an interview with CBS News.

Allen then reported to a local branch of the bank with sheriff’s deputies, who he instructed to remove cash from the tellers’ drawers, furniture, computers and other property. Approximately one hour later, the Naples News reports, the bank manager produced a check for $5,772.88 to satisfy Allen’s fees and additional costs.

“We apologize to Mr. Nyerges that there was a delay in receiving the funds,”read the bank’s written statement to the Naples News. “The original request went to an outside attorney who is no longer in business.”

Some might say all’s well that ends well in this scenario, seeing as the Nyerges got their home, Allen got his fees and the bank got it’s comeuppance. But there are deeper implications to every one of these foreclosure foul-up horror stories we read about, and even those we don’t. The finger-pointing to outside attorneys seems reminiscent of the banks’ excuse for the robo-signing scandal that broke last fall, and just as flimsy: the fact that a bank has lots of foreclosures to process and hires an overworked, underqualified or otherwise not-up-to-the-job professional to do it does not justify the nonchalance with which documents and properties of such gravitas were treated. The similarity didn’t escape Allen, who told CBS News, “this is a symptom of a larger problem.”


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