A major law firm has formed a special task force aimed at defending lenders and mortgage loan servicers as legal challenges to questionable foreclosure practices mount.
Global law firm K&L Gates LLP said on Tuesday it has assembled a team to help companies respond to allegations ranging from wrongful foreclosure to inadequate documentation and lack of standing to foreclose.
“Whether it’s us or somebody else, I think all the servicers are looking to get outside assistance,” said Laurence Platt, a mortgage banking partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.
Legal pitfalls have multiplied “in part because there’s a ‘gotcha’ mentality out there,” he said.
In recent years, U.S. law firms have created special teams to help clients handle legal issues triggered by the mortgage market meltdown and the financial crisis.
These teams have included legal experts in areas including litigation, class-action lawsuits and financial regulation.
All 50 U.S. states have launched a joint investigation of the mortgage industry, looking into allegations that some banks used shoddy or fraudulent paperwork to evict borrowers from their homes.
Class-actions have already been filed in state courts, and national class-action lawsuits are expected on behalf of thousands of homeowners across the country.
If a class action is brought by all borrowers who have been foreclosed upon, damages could amount to the billions of dollars, one plaintiff’s attorney has said.
Platt said that advising lenders and servicers would likely go “beyond just a straight compliance counseling question because every act or omission could have spillover consequences with class actions or government enforcement actions.”