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Mass Litigation Alliance Marketing for Mass Joinder Cases Seems Confusing and Deceptive. – Amy

“Dear Steve,

I am attempting to clarify an association between Mass Litigation Alliance and attorney Mitchell J. Stein. This plot seems to be getting thicker and thicker.

I spoke to a Mass Litigation Alliance representative on 3/16/11. He identified himself as Scott Weiner, whom I have verified is an attorney licensed in IL, residing in FL. This individual claimed to be from Chicago (which I identified based on his accent) and he stated the he lived in Ft. Lauderdale. Perhaps he was or was not the real Scott Weiner. He attempted to recruit me and sent a form to enroll me into their mass joinder lawsuit. He asked for my social security number and loan number over the phone, which I would not provide, then chided me for not doing so. He also gave me a link to his own web site: www.thedebtdog.com. He said he owned a debt relief service, and offered these services to me.

During our phone conversation he spontaneously warned about attorney Mitchell Stein. He indicated that I should avoid retaining Mr. Stein’s services since he likely has a substance abuse problem, and because cases under his direction would be delayed due to neglect.

The part of my story that becomes confusing is the fact that the paperwork he provided me with (attached) states that Mass Litigation Alliance is “delighted to announce our association and affiliation with MJ&S Associates, a highly respected and feared litigation law firm…headed by attorney M. J. Stein…” This directly contradicts his slanderous statements, and according to M. J. Stein’s website, is blatantly false.

Mr. Stein claims no association with Mass Litigation Alliance, Philip Kramer or Matt Davis according to the warning on his web site. The California Bar website states that Mitchell J. Stein has his own law firm. There is no Mention of Mass Litigation Alliance.

At this point I have no idea who is telling the truth, but I certainly would avoid all parties mentioned. There is a warning posted on the CA Department of Real Estate web site regarding these mass joinder lawsuits, but I am afraid most consumers are not aware of it.

Sincerely,
Amy”

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The Answer

Dear Amy,

Frankly I’m just as confused as you are. Recently Mass Litigation Alliance sent me material that shows Stein as part of them but Stein denies it. See this article.

The marketing of mass joinder cases is a total mess. Marketing representatives are saying just about anything they want to and even in my secret shopper call I was alarmed by the statements made.

The best advice I can offer right now, is that it’s impossible to know who to trust and you’d be better off avoiding any mass joinder suit for now and give regulators some time to act to clean up this situation.

The Debt Dog blog site but the site does mention a Scott Weiner and have an ad on it for Mass Litigation Alliance.

Mass Litigation Alliance Marketing for Mass Joinder Cases Seems Confusing and Deceptive.   Amy

In fact one page on the site seems to make the same connections you did.

I am the CEO of Coast To Coast Debt Resolution and every single day for 10-12 hours a day I take calls and answer questions from people who ask for help with their debt. I’ve been at this for years now so it occurred to me that it would be an excellent idea to have a place for people to go and get real answers to common questions. I have personally gone through and completed a debt settlement process so I have the first hand experience of how it feels to go from having enough money to suddenly not being able to pay my credit cards. However with the proper help I was able to eliminate over $100,000 in debt and become debt free in less than two years. I am an Illinois Licensed Attorney, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator, and an American Arbitration Commercial Arbitrator. – Source

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

Mass Litigation Alliance Marketing for Mass Joinder Cases Seems Confusing and Deceptive.   Amy
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Julie

    I have a few problems about your situation too. Your social security number is a very private matter and it was right on your part to refrain from sharing it to a stranger on the phone. It should be kept safe and him “chiding” you for protecting your security should raise up a red flag. No matter who is on the other line, you have no guarantee that Mr. Weiner does not have deceptive motives. Considering his contradictory statements, you should approach this dilemma with hesitancy just like Steve said.  He is right, it is best to stay out of ropes until everything is cleared up. If you still want to enroll in a mass joinder group you should  consider the Consolidated Retention group.  My experience with them was quite good. 

  • KL suddir

    I am an internet and marketing guru and I see nothing wrong or illegal about consolidation litigation group.  The different phone numbers probably belong to their different marketing affiliates.  It’s analogous to insurance brokers selling the same package from the same insurance company except at different rates.  I see nothing wrong with consolidated litigation group working for kramer-kaslow and Christopher van son and acting as intake for other attorneys at the same time.  It’s normal business.   The different internet domains pointing to the same CLG site would show different phone numbers for the purpose of crediting each affiliate.  This is very standard internet marketing technology.   When a product no longer exists, Affiliates may need to switch probably because they need something else to sell.   Maybe some affiliates also switched to other intake companies too.   All this seems standard and well. Everything is right about it if you can relate to marketing dynamics and technology. 

    • Krista Railey

      KL, please familiarize yourself with CA Bar rules.  

  • Tohat

     am happy we have Steve around us to help us without any bias whenever we need help. He is one person whom I can rely and count on. He really helped me in repaying my debts in previous nonrelated articles. Amy says that she was confused by mass litigation and found it deceptive. There are many of these marketing firms for mass joinder cases.  A reputable firm is the home retention division http://conligroup.com of the Consolidated Litigation Group.  If you go to the lawyer page, Christopher Van Son is the attorney, with Kramer as the counsel.  I found them very transparent and clear in their dealing when I had a similar problem. Hence I would suggest everyone to go for it!

    • Krista Railey

      Tohat, have you noticed how many Consolidated Litigation Groups that show up on a Google Search with different addresses and phone numbers?  Please also note that Philip Kramer is also listed as an attorney, and the Kramer-Kaslow website lists Consolidated Litigation Group as   intake for Kramer & Kaslow.  

      Consolidated Litigation Group emerged when Mass Litigation Alliance ended.  Within days, many of the MLA affiliates switched over to CLG websites.  

      By the way, the link you provided for Consolidation Litigation Group is not the same site noted on the Kramer-Kaslow website.  

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Yes, very suspicious.

  • Krista Railey

    Oops, I meant to say “Shame on you Scott Weiner”

    Ken Weiner has done nothing wrong, and his name got stuck in my head because he contacted Stein on Stein’s Facebook page.

    But Scott, the reality is that your brother should never have had to chase down Stein on Facebook. No homeowner should have to chase down Stein or any affiliated attorney. The person who promotes the Mass Joinder should have the common decency and professionalism to ensure that the needs of the clients they refer are being handled- regardless of whether or not they are family. If the level of service promised is not the level of service delivered, it should be cause to step back and reevaluate before referring others.

  • Krista Railey

    Oops, I meant to say “Shame on you Scott Weiner”

    Ken Weiner has done nothing wrong, and his name got stuck in my head because he contacted Stein on Stein’s Facebook page.

    But Scott, the reality is that your brother should never have had to chase down Stein on Facebook. No homeowner should have to chase down Stein or any affiliated attorney. The person who promotes the Mass Joinder should have the common decency and professionalism to ensure that the needs of the clients they refer are being handled- regardless of whether or not they are family. If the level of service promised is not the level of service delivered, it should be cause to step back and reevaluate before referring others.

  • Krista Railey

    And for the record, here is the comment on the Piggy Bank Blog that I am referencing:

    KW
    February 24, 2011 at 6:04 am
    $$ withdrawn out of my account mid December
    From: Matthew Davis [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 5:47 PM
    To: xxxxx
    Subject: Re: ASAP
    Hi Scott, I just got a message from Ken but I’m swamped and haven’t been able to return it. Please tell him I’m sorry. If you want to forward this email to him that, that’d be great. I’ve come to understand from Philip Kramer that Mitchell Stein has still not signed many of his retainers. I have no idea if that means he has or has not added individual clients to his ongoing mass joinder cases or not. I also don’t know if that means Ken’s retainer isn’t signed. At one point, I was told Stein agreed to sit down and sign all the retainers that had been building up on his desk. I’ve since learned that still no one has seen these retainers come back. However, since that date, Stein filed a new BoA case called Wright v. BOA. It’s very possible Stein included Ken on that suit, but I honestly don’t know if he did or not.

    http://www.piggybankblog.com/2

    I have a problem with this for a couple of reasons.

    1. If Stein doesn’t know that parties such as yourself were selling access to the suit, why would agree to sit down and sign retainers?

    2. Knowing that monies were paid in December 2010 to Kramer for Stein’s B of A case, why wouldn’t you have a problem with not having received back the signed retainer by February 24, 2011?

    3. Knowing that Stein claimed to the Judge in the Ronald vs B of A case on 2/3/11 that Kramer was not authorized to represent Stein, why would you possibly deal with anyone other than Stein in regard to your brother’s retainer? I can see dealing with Kramer on a refund or trust accounting, but certainly not Stein’s retainer. Even so, why will you deal with Matt and not Kramer directly being that funds were paid to his law office?

    You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day, all you really have is a pig wearing lipstick.

    At what point do you think that the responsible thing to do is to contact Stein given his multiple disclaimers and statements to a Judge (as an officer of the court) that Kramer is not authorized? Do you not want to know whether the people you are dealing with are telling the truth? Or merely acting without authorization?

    And given the serious red flags, inconsistencies, deceptive marketing, and clandestine partnerships, why would you continue to do business with a firm whose practices appear to be questionable at best? Don’t you have a duty to ensure that the businesses and firms you refer clients to (and collect money from) are being serviced and that their funds are placed in a trust account?

  • Krista Railey

    And for the record, here is the comment on the Piggy Bank Blog that I am referencing:

    KW
    February 24, 2011 at 6:04 am
    $$ withdrawn out of my account mid December
    From: Matthew Davis [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 5:47 PM
    To: xxxxx
    Subject: Re: ASAP
    Hi Scott, I just got a message from Ken but I’m swamped and haven’t been able to return it. Please tell him I’m sorry. If you want to forward this email to him that, that’d be great. I’ve come to understand from Philip Kramer that Mitchell Stein has still not signed many of his retainers. I have no idea if that means he has or has not added individual clients to his ongoing mass joinder cases or not. I also don’t know if that means Ken’s retainer isn’t signed. At one point, I was told Stein agreed to sit down and sign all the retainers that had been building up on his desk. I’ve since learned that still no one has seen these retainers come back. However, since that date, Stein filed a new BoA case called Wright v. BOA. It’s very possible Stein included Ken on that suit, but I honestly don’t know if he did or not.

    http://www.piggybankblog.com/2003/09/09/masslitalliance-com/

    I have a problem with this for a couple of reasons.

    1. If Stein doesn’t know that parties such as yourself were selling access to the suit, why would agree to sit down and sign retainers?

    2. Knowing that monies were paid in December 2010 to Kramer for Stein’s B of A case, why wouldn’t you have a problem with not having received back the signed retainer by February 24, 2011?

    3. Knowing that Stein claimed to the Judge in the Ronald vs B of A case on 2/3/11 that Kramer was not authorized to represent Stein, why would you possibly deal with anyone other than Stein in regard to your brother’s retainer? I can see dealing with Kramer on a refund or trust accounting, but certainly not Stein’s retainer. Even so, why will you deal with Matt and not Kramer directly being that funds were paid to his law office?

    You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but at the end of the day, all you really have is a pig wearing lipstick.

    At what point do you think that the responsible thing to do is to contact Stein given his multiple disclaimers and statements to a Judge (as an officer of the court) that Kramer is not authorized? Do you not want to know whether the people you are dealing with are telling the truth? Or merely acting without authorization?

    And given the serious red flags, inconsistencies, deceptive marketing, and clandestine partnerships, why would you continue to do business with a firm whose practices appear to be questionable at best? Don’t you have a duty to ensure that the businesses and firms you refer clients to (and collect money from) are being serviced and that their funds are placed in a trust account?

  • Krista Railey

    Ken, correction: Your brother did not email Mr. Davis for status on the Stein case- it was you. And I did not see the email, but moreover, the post regarding the email on the Piggy Bank Blog.

  • Krista Railey

    Ken, correction: Your brother did not email Mr. Davis for status on the Stein case- it was you. And I did not see the email, but moreover, the post regarding the email on the Piggy Bank Blog.

  • Krista Railey

    Ken, few questions:

    1. In regard to the individuals you referred to Kramer & Kaslow for Stein’s B of A case, did you or any of clients ever receive a signed retainer back?

    (Note: I already know the answer to this because I saw the comments left on Stein’s Facebook page by your brother and engaged Stein in the comment thread. My comments as well as others were eventually deleted by Stein, but I kept the copy. I also saw the comment that your brother left on Piggy Bank Blog and an email from Matt Davis re: Stein not getting around to signing retainers).

    2. How can you, as an attorney in Illinois, refer Florida clients to a California attorney?

    3. Have you asked for a trust accounting of the funds that were paid to Kramer & Kaslow for Mitchell Stein?

    4. Have you received any compensation for any of the clients you referred that have not been added to the case and have not received fully executed retainer agreements?

    5. Have you attempted to obtain refunds for any of the clients you referred knowing that Kramer is no longer affiliated with Stein and is not authorized to represent Stein (per 2.3.11 court transcript)?

    We have engaged before on the Mandelman Matters forum on ML Implode, and I know you know that Mass Litigation Alliance was created to switch the affiliates over from Kramer & Kaslow. I also know that your website is included in the list of banned websites.

    Here is one of your websites:

    http://www.coasttocoastdebtres

    And here is your Mass Litigation website:

    http://www.kandklitigation.com

    Note: When you click on “Home” on the above website, it takes you to this website for Mass Litigation Alliance: (and yes, that is your phone number):

    Some pretty lofty promises being made on the FAQ page wouldn’t you say? Also, Stein’s case is referenced on both your Kramer & Kaslow and Mass Litigation Alliance website. Please note that I took great care in printing the webpages to PDF and sent the information to an investigator.

    Shame on you Scott Weiner. Shame on you.

  • Krista Railey

    Ken, few questions:1. In regard to the individuals you referred to Kramer & Kaslow for Stein’s B of A case, did you or any of clients ever receive a signed retainer back? (Note: I already know the answer to this because I saw the comments left on Stein’s Facebook page by your brother and engaged Stein in the comment thread. My comments as well as others were eventually deleted by Stein, but I kept the copy. I also saw the comment that your brother left on Piggy Bank Blog and an email from Matt Davis re: Stein not getting around to signing retainers).2. How can you, as an attorney in Illinois, refer Florida clients to a California attorney? 3. Have you asked for a trust accounting of the funds that were paid to Kramer & Kaslow for Mitchell Stein? 4. Have you received any compensation for any of the clients you referred that have not been added to the case and have not received fully executed retainer agreements?5. Have you attempted to obtain refunds for any of the clients you referred knowing that Kramer is no longer affiliated with Stein and is not authorized to represent Stein (per 2.3.11 court transcript)?We have engaged before on the Mandelman Matters forum on ML Implode, and I know you know that Mass Litigation Alliance was created to switch the affiliates over from Kramer & Kaslow. I also know that your website is included in the list of banned websites. Here is one of your websites:http://www.coasttocoastdebtres…And here is your Mass Litigation website:http://www.kandklitigation.com…Note: When you click on “Home” on the above website, it takes you to this website for Mass Litigation Alliance: (and yes, that is your phone number):Some pretty lofty promises being made on the FAQ page wouldn’t you say? Also, Stein’s case is referenced on both your Kramer & Kaslow and Mass Litigation Alliance website. Please note that I took great care in printing the webpages to PDF and sent the information to an investigator. Shame on you Scott Weiner. Shame on you.

  • Scott

    Steve,

    If you would like any more information or even talk to me on the phone let me know. I would be happy to answer any questions and clear up any legal matters people may be confused about.

    Sincerely,

    Scott Weiner

  • Steve Rhode

    Scott,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Steve

  • Scott

    I am Scott Weiner and this email was forwarded to me. Let me address some of what Amy said on here.

    I did speak with Amy Cullen yesterday about entering into the Mass Joinder lawsuit. She gave me all of her information except for her loan number and I sent her an official application. I was a tad confused as to why she would consider her loan number a secret – we need it to process her into the lawsuit. When she didn’t want to give it I said no problem I would enter 111111 and she could write over it if she decided to go into the lawsuit.

    As far as asking for her Social Security number that was because I could not pull up the information on her home in the MERS database https://www.mers-servicerid.or… as you can see you can search by property address or by name, SS# and zip code. Unfortunately the people at MERS make frequent typing mistakes making it hard to pull up addresses. It’s much easier to find someones loan history by using the SS#. When she did not want to give it I did not “chide” her. Most people give it to me – and as a member of the bar not only would I never misuse it but I never even write them down.

    We did speak about Mitchell Stein however I said none of what she is alleging. She asked about other Joinder attorneys doing this and I mentioned Stein and said that I knew too many people (including my brother) who signed up for his BOA lawsuit and had not yet been entered after four months. When Amy asked why I said I had no idea and that another client when told about this joked that he was with Charlie Sheen. Amy asked me if he was on drugs and I said I had no idea, I had never met or spoken to him.

    I do run the website thedebtdog.com, and if you go there you will find a wealth of information for consumers researching information about debt. I don’t make any money off of the blog and I do it as a public service. Sure I have ads for the companies I run, it’s my blog. I assure you if you go read my articles they are all educational.

    Actually Steve Rhode was an inspiration in starting the blog.

    I did just read the warning that California put out and while I agree that consumers must be warned about unauthorized members of the Mass Litigation Alliance. People who are being told that entering the lawsuit will be able to keep their house are being lied to and I never say that to anyone.

    Here is a list from that article… I will make some comments next to them…

    What are the Claims/Sales Pitches?
    They are many and varied, and include:

    1. You can join in a mass joinder or class action lawsuit already filed against your lender and stay in your home. You can stop paying your lender.

    – We never make the claim you will be able to stay in your home and we always recommend you keep paying your lender. If someone says otherwise they are either violating our rules or are a fraudulent website.

    2. The mortgage loans can be stripped entirely from your home.

    – This is a possibility, the New York Times certainly thinks so – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03

    3. Your payment obligation and foreclosure against your home can be stopped when the lawsuit is filed.

    – Once again I have never told anyone this nor is it allowed.

    4. The litigation will take the power away from your lender.

    – The litigation may empower people who have been defrauded. It does not take anything away from the lender until settlement or a jury trial.

    5. A jury will side with you and against your lender.

    – Even the fraudulent guys wouldn’t say something this stupid – litigation is always uncertain. It’s even says so in our contract.

    6. The lawsuit will give you the leverage you need to stay in your home.

    – Once again, I have never told anyone this nor do I know anyone in the Mass Litigation Alliance who has.

    7. The lawsuit may give you the right to rescind your home loan, or to reduce your principal.

    – That is certainly a possibility. It’s part of the damages we seek.

    8. The lawsuit will help you modify your home loan. It will give you a step up in the loan modification process.

    – The lawsuit does nothing but potentially allow a settlement in which this can happen or a jury verdict.

    9. The litigation will be performed through “powerful” litigation attorney representation.

    – We certainly believe that the attorneys involved have more than enough experience to prosecute this case. No one is alleging that the attorneys can shoot fire out of their eyes.

    10. Litigation attorneys are “turning the tables on lenders and getting cash settlements for homeowners”.

    – There are other cases in the nation where people have sued their lenders and won. Google it.

    Scott Weiner

  • Scott

    I am Scott Weiner and this email was forwarded to me. Let me address some of what Amy said on here.

    I did speak with Amy Cullen yesterday about entering into the Mass Joinder lawsuit. She gave me all of her information except for her loan number and I sent her an official application. I was a tad confused as to why she would consider her loan number a secret – we need it to process her into the lawsuit. When she didn’t want to give it I said no problem I would enter 111111 and she could write over it if she decided to go into the lawsuit.

    As far as asking for her Social Security number that was because I could not pull up the information on her home in the MERS database https://www.mers-servicerid.org/sis/search, as you can see you can search by property address or by name, SS# and zip code. Unfortunately the people at MERS make frequent typing mistakes making it hard to pull up addresses. It’s much easier to find someones loan history by using the SS#. When she did not want to give it I did not “chide” her. Most people give it to me – and as a member of the bar not only would I never misuse it but I never even write them down.

    We did speak about Mitchell Stein however I said none of what she is alleging. She asked about other Joinder attorneys doing this and I mentioned Stein and said that I knew too many people (including my brother) who signed up for his BOA lawsuit and had not yet been entered after four months. When Amy asked why I said I had no idea and that another client when told about this joked that he was with Charlie Sheen. Amy asked me if he was on drugs and I said I had no idea, I had never met or spoken to him.

    I do run the website thedebtdog.com, and if you go there you will find a wealth of information for consumers researching information about debt. I don’t make any money off of the blog and I do it as a public service. Sure I have ads for the companies I run, it’s my blog. I assure you if you go read my articles they are all educational.

    Actually Steve Rhode was an inspiration in starting the blog.

    I did just read the warning that California put out and while I agree that consumers must be warned about unauthorized members of the Mass Litigation Alliance. People who are being told that entering the lawsuit will be able to keep their house are being lied to and I never say that to anyone.

    Here is a list from that article… I will make some comments next to them…

    What are the Claims/Sales Pitches?
    They are many and varied, and include:

    1. You can join in a mass joinder or class action lawsuit already filed against your lender and stay in your home. You can stop paying your lender.

    – We never make the claim you will be able to stay in your home and we always recommend you keep paying your lender. If someone says otherwise they are either violating our rules or are a fraudulent website.

    2. The mortgage loans can be stripped entirely from your home.

    – This is a possibility, the New York Times certainly thinks so – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/business/06mers.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1

    3. Your payment obligation and foreclosure against your home can be stopped when the lawsuit is filed.

    – Once again I have never told anyone this nor is it allowed.

    4. The litigation will take the power away from your lender.

    – The litigation may empower people who have been defrauded. It does not take anything away from the lender until settlement or a jury trial.

    5. A jury will side with you and against your lender.

    – Even the fraudulent guys wouldn’t say something this stupid – litigation is always uncertain. It’s even says so in our contract.

    6. The lawsuit will give you the leverage you need to stay in your home.

    – Once again, I have never told anyone this nor do I know anyone in the Mass Litigation Alliance who has.

    7. The lawsuit may give you the right to rescind your home loan, or to reduce your principal.

    – That is certainly a possibility. It’s part of the damages we seek.

    8. The lawsuit will help you modify your home loan. It will give you a step up in the loan modification process.

    – The lawsuit does nothing but potentially allow a settlement in which this can happen or a jury verdict.

    9. The litigation will be performed through “powerful” litigation attorney representation.

    – We certainly believe that the attorneys involved have more than enough experience to prosecute this case. No one is alleging that the attorneys can shoot fire out of their eyes.

    10. Litigation attorneys are “turning the tables on lenders and getting cash settlements for homeowners”.

    – There are other cases in the nation where people have sued their lenders and won. Google it.

    Scott Weiner

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Scott,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Steve

      • Scott

        Steve,

        If you would like any more information or even talk to me on the phone let me know. I would be happy to answer any questions and clear up any legal matters people may be confused about.

        Sincerely,

        Scott Weiner

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