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Mass Joinder Case Infighting Worse Than High School. Co-Counsel Mitchell Stein Gets the Boot.

It what has become a train wreck of a battle between lawyers pressing forward mass joinder cases against banks for underlying mortgage issues, one of the co-counsels on Ronald v. Bank of America just got publicly dumped.

On March 29, 2011 SML LLP and Apex Legal Group (“Moving Parties”) filed a motion to remove Mitchell J. Stein from the case.

Additionally the Moving Parties are also asking that Erikson S. Davis get lost as well and no longer render any further legal services for clients that were previously retained.

I’ll give you the juicy bits of the motion below. But if you have time you can read the entire 76 page document here.

Apparently there was a falling out of the lawyers on the case. “The Motion pertains to a rupture of the relationship between, on the one hand the Moving Parties, and on the other, Mitchell J. Stein (“Stein”) of Mitchell J. Stein & Associates and Erikson M. Davis (“Davis”) of the Law Office of Erikson Davis.”

  • “The Moving Parties do not by this Motion suggest that Stein is not a talented lawyer or advocate, or that he has not contributed to the case. Rather, this Motion is focused on a lack of civility, transparency and cooperation with co-counsel that has reached a point where it is impracticable for the legal team to function as a team, thereby materially impairing the ability of counsel to fully represent the interests of the plaintiffs in this action as it proceeds.”
  • “From late 2010, Spivak observed Internet postings regarding Stein, attorney Phillip Kramer (“Kramer”), Kramer & Kaslow and K2 that included inaccurate and inappropriate assertions. Spivak expressed concerns to Stein and made clear, among other things, that: (1) no client could become a client in this action if there was uncertainty about the client’s provenance, (2) as to clients with an appropriate provenance, after provision for a reserve for litigation costs, Spivak and Stein were entitle to share in any retainers in accordance with their understandings, and (3) Spivak needed copies of all Stein-Spivak retainer agreements and an accounting of any income thereunder.

    Stein denied any wrongdoing and also declined Spivak’s requests. On December 21, 2010, Stein emailed Spivak. He insisted that all Stein-Spivak clients were his clients alone and asserted that providing copies of the agreements or an accounting would violate attorney-client privilege.”

  • “Over the last few months, Stein has repeatedly implied that he will cause third parties with whom he has a relationship to commence legal actions against one or more of the Moving Parties.”
  • “Without considering whether Stein’s client solicitations or Hartford Dunn violate any applicable law or rule, or wether there is anything amiss in any of Stein’s or Davis’ business or legal relationships, the lack of transparency to the legal team during a period of heightened scrutiny of these matters by Bank of America, the Department of Real Estate and others deprives Moving Parties of the ability to monitor the circumstances in which they are providing legal services and subjects them to the risk of misleading clients and prospective clients.”
  • “None of Spivak, Jones, Tomaszewski, SML, Apex, or Spivak Law Group has ever been paid by or on behalf of any plaintiff or prospective plaintiff in this action; to the contrary, each of the foregoing has expended their own funds and thousands of hours. Based upon reports to the Moving Parties, Stein has collected fees and overhead directly and indirectly from clients, including clients who signed a joint Stein-Spivak engagement agreement.”
  • Spivak speaks directly about the marketing agents. He says, “Commencing in or about November 2010, I noted Internet postings linking Stein, Phillip Kramer, K2 and others to solicitions of clients. These solicitations contained false claims about the Ronald action. I also received reports of so-called marketing agents being paid to solicit clients and large retainers being charged to potential plaintiffs in the Ronald action. I discussed the foregoing with Stein and made clear my opposition to any improper marketing efforts.”
  • “Riley was introduced to me by Maloney. We had lunch early this year in Calabasas. Maloney and Riley told me Maloney had introduced Riley to Stein. Riley told me that he was thinking of working with Stein on litigation in Florida. He told me that early in his career he was a junior prosecutor and laughed that Stein persisted in telling people that he had been head of an antifraud division.

    From the Attached Exhibits

    Mass Joinder Case Infighting Worse Than High School. Co Counsel Mitchell Stein Gets the Boot.
    Mass Joinder Case Infighting Worse Than High School. Co Counsel Mitchell Stein Gets the Boot.

    What a freaking mess. I don’t know if anyone can keep the finger pointing straight right now. I know I’m confused. And then on top of all of this nonsense Stein is launching into a different tirade on his site.

    “Fraud Alert: Numerous California consumers have reported to the firm that a persons named Matt Davis, Mass Litigation Alliance and Brookstone Law, are purporting to speak for the Firm. The Firm is unaffiliated in any way with these persons, and urges you to read the disclaimer set forth above and on the Home page of this website. As of March, 2011, it has been reported to the Firm that Davis and Mass Litigation Alliance and Brookstone Law have represented to consumers that the Firm has “shut down” one of its cases and is no longer accepting new clients in general. Meanwhile, the Firm was, at the time, (a) obtaining a favorable ruling in Federal Court on its mass joinder suit against Ally Bank and (b) filing another mass joinder suit in Florida against Bank of America, in which the Firm is co-counsel and sponsored by former State of Florida Fraud official Michael Riley [Which by statements made by Spivak above is not a factual statement.], and (c) filing cases nationwide in behalf of aggrieved home owners. In the avoidance of any doubt, the Firm is actively taking cases nationwide and will continue to do so until each and every consumer is made whole for the banking fraud occurring throughout the last decade. The disturbing reports regarding Davis, et al., are now confirmed by an alleged email posting on Davis’ or Mass Alliances’ website as well as other websites — apparently controlled by secret principals of Brookstone — that were issued or maintained without the Firm’s knowledge. This Website is the only website authorized by the Firm, as confirmed by the California State Bar (www.calbar.org). The Firm has reported this misconduct to the appropriate authorities. These reports are emblematic of the industry-wide problem of identity theft and fraud, which are damaging to consumers because the ultimate wrongdoers are the banks — as the banks have now admitted in public press releases and in various public securities filings — and lawyers with poor judgment and a reckless approach in representing consumers have no business interfering with the public’s need for restitution and justice as a result of this bank-caused crises.” – Source

    Mass Joinder Case Infighting Worse Than High School. Co Counsel Mitchell Stein Gets the Boot.
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    Mass Joinder Case Infighting Worse Than High School. Co-Counsel Mitchell Stein Gets the Boot. by
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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.
    • Southerlin Family Eye Care

      Good to see this. Thanks for sharing. I love this.
      Southerlin Family Eye Care2084 Woodruff Road,
      Greenville,
      SC 29607-5939 (864) 458-8633

    • Mailnl

      Check out Stein’s background..Been named in fraud cases as a defendent, personal BK ib Florida, paternity suit, probably others.  Track record would make one question

    • Mailnl

      Check out Stein’s background..Been named in fraud cases as a defendent, personal BK ib Florida, paternity suit, probably others.  Track record would make one question  

    • Steve Rhode

      A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure but if you’re not making the regulat payments the lender will petition the court to have the mortgage remove and the sale will continue later.

      It’s interesting that Brookstone said the foreclosure process would be stopped when the managing partner said, on this site, it would not.

    • doingmyhomework

      of ALL the time that ive spent, researching and talking to Brookstone, then Steins office, neither firms would “guarantee” that my foreclosure process would be stopped by joining. They both said it would be stopped, as I would be protected under litigation and such… but neither would put it in writing. One of the main reasons we didnt join. However, I just saw this on Steins website….

      ________________________________________________________________________
      Important Update: As of April 15, 2011, the Firm will offer — confidentially and to just thosen clients who qualify — the ONLY program in America that will guarantee stoppage of any foreclosure sale. The program will launch on April 20, 2011. In the event you are a victim of Bank misconduct and wish to determine your eligibility for this program, contact the Firm at 877-475-2448.
      ________________________________________________________________________

      I wonder what this “new program” is all about, the cost.. and why now all of a sudden they can guarantee it?

    • Krista Railey

      Of course you are pointing the finger at Damian despite the declarations and exhibits pointing squarely at Kramer, APC, and Stein. In fact, the only reference to Damian in the court docs is that Damian did not respond which was taken as a response.

      If you have something on Damian Kutzner, speak up and provide links and documentation. Steve does not seem to be adverse to publishing the truth and has written about Damian and Brookstone before.

      I get the sense that you are more interested in obfuscating the subject and deflecting adverse public opinion to Damien and Brookstone rather than Stein and Kramer.

      At this point, if this were my blog, I’d be investigating your IP to discern whether you might have a hidden agenda. Your unsupported attacks are losing credibility given the drive by nature of your attacks.

      If you have facts or materially information to share, please do. Otherwise, it is reasonable to dismiss you as a troll.

      Steve, I would appreciate an IP verification to ensure that “of course” really represents the independent reaction of the public.

      I have no issue with legitimate complaints, but take issue with drive by anonymous media that is out of context with the article or discussion.

    • Of course

      Of course it is a mess. This is EXACTLY what happens EVERY single time Damian KUTZNER is involved with something.

      Lay off the crack Damian – seriously!

    • Of course

      Of course it is a mess. This is EXACTLY what happens EVERY single time Damian KUTZNER is involved with something.

      Lay off the crack Damian – seriously!

      • Krista Railey

        Of course you are pointing the finger at Damian despite the declarations and exhibits pointing squarely at Kramer, APC, and Stein. In fact, the only reference to Damian in the court docs is that Damian did not respond which was taken as a response.

        If you have something on Damian Kutzner, speak up and provide links and documentation. Steve does not seem to be adverse to publishing the truth and has written about Damian and Brookstone before.

        I get the sense that you are more interested in obfuscating the subject and deflecting adverse public opinion to Damien and Brookstone rather than Stein and Kramer.

        At this point, if this were my blog, I’d be investigating your IP to discern whether you might have a hidden agenda. Your unsupported attacks are losing credibility given the drive by nature of your attacks.

        If you have facts or materially information to share, please do. Otherwise, it is reasonable to dismiss you as a troll.

        Steve, I would appreciate an IP verification to ensure that “of course” really represents the independent reaction of the public.

        I have no issue with legitimate complaints, but take issue with drive by anonymous media that is out of context with the article or discussion.

        • doingmyhomework

          of ALL the time that ive spent, researching and talking to Brookstone, then Steins office, neither firms would “guarantee” that my foreclosure process would be stopped by joining. They both said it would be stopped, as I would be protected under litigation and such… but neither would put it in writing. One of the main reasons we didnt join. However, I just saw this on Steins website….

          ________________________________________________________________________
          Important Update: As of April 15, 2011, the Firm will offer — confidentially and to just thosen clients who qualify — the ONLY program in America that will guarantee stoppage of any foreclosure sale. The program will launch on April 20, 2011. In the event you are a victim of Bank misconduct and wish to determine your eligibility for this program, contact the Firm at 877-475-2448.
          ________________________________________________________________________

          I wonder what this “new program” is all about, the cost.. and why now all of a sudden they can guarantee it?

        • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

          A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure but if you’re not making the regulat payments the lender will petition the court to have the mortgage remove and the sale will continue later.

          It’s interesting that Brookstone said the foreclosure process would be stopped when the managing partner said, on this site, it would not.

    • Krista Railey

      Fraud Alert Posted on Mitchell J. Stein’s dobielaw.org website:

      “Fraud Alert: Substantial inquiries have been received by the Firm regarding a supposed “Motion to Relieve Counsel” in the Ronald v. Bank of America case. There was a motion filed by one set of lawyers for Plaintiffs against another set of lawyers for Plaintiffs, entitled “Motion to Relieve” as to the title of “Co-Lead Counsel.” The persons making the inquiries to the Firm have asked whether such a situation has ever happened before in an American courtroom, have asked whether this was a good “judgment call” by lawyers who are supposed to protect all Plaintiffs equally, and have made several other inquires. Certain persons have disseminated incorrect, and incomplete, information to the public regarding this matter. The Firm does not comment on active litigation matters other than to report what is in the public records. Unfortunately, some persons claiming to be experts have written stories regarding the foregoing matters, without telling the public the entire truth found in the public records. The Firm has been asked by hundreds of homeowners to provide the general public with access to certain documents filed with the Court. The Firm’s publicly filed pleadings regarding this matter are available in the public records of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The public is encouraged to review the Court’s files. However, at the request of innumerable home owners, the Firm has reproduced — below — two affidavits filed in Court so that the public does not have to travel to Court and pay copying charges in order to simply obtain these affidavits. The Firm’s Homeowner Protection Center is continuing to take and respond to all telephone calls regarding this matter. If you are attempting to contact the Firm, remember you can always fill out the form found on the “Contact Us” page, and this is an alternative way to receive a fast response to your inquiry or request. Otherwise, please be patient if you chose to contact the Firm by telephone.”

      http://www.dobielaw.org/Info–

      Just to clarify, the motion was to remove Stein as co-lead counsel and for Stein to provide an accounting. Ultimately, the court ruled to break up the teams into separate cases. Here is a copy of the ruling:

      https://docs.google.com/viewer

      Though Stein is correct as to co-counsel seeking to remove him as co-lead counsel, and not, per se, the case, the fact still remains that co-counsel felt compelled to file a motion with the court to remove him as co-lead counsel based on a variety of reasons- one of which was the issues involving Kramer & Kaslow/K2 Law and non-attorney affiliate arrangements.

      While Stein does post two declarations on his website, he failed to post the motion, his response, or the response of co-counsel and the declaration of Vito Torchia Jr. that reveal significant concerns with the marketing of the mass joinders, clandestine relationships and agreements, as well as the purported involvement of Philip Kramer. Instead, Stein’s main concern appears to be that of semantics, and fails to disclose to the public that the co-counsel has effectively removed Stein from their cases via separation.

      I don’t know the law, and do not pretend to be an expert, but I am of the moral opinion that it is appropriate for officers of the court to uphold the highest ethical standards, and it does not seem unreasonable to question the provenance of clients amidst the flagrant mass litigation marketing.

      To avoid confusion, I recommend correcting the article to state that co-counsel motioned to remove Stein as co-lead counsel, and not entirely from the case given that Stein does have his own clients.

    • Krista Railey

      Fraud Alert Posted on Mitchell J. Stein’s dobielaw.org website:

      “Fraud Alert: Substantial inquiries have been received by the Firm regarding a supposed “Motion to Relieve Counsel” in the Ronald v. Bank of America case. There was a motion filed by one set of lawyers for Plaintiffs against another set of lawyers for Plaintiffs, entitled “Motion to Relieve” as to the title of “Co-Lead Counsel.” The persons making the inquiries to the Firm have asked whether such a situation has ever happened before in an American courtroom, have asked whether this was a good “judgment call” by lawyers who are supposed to protect all Plaintiffs equally, and have made several other inquires. Certain persons have disseminated incorrect, and incomplete, information to the public regarding this matter. The Firm does not comment on active litigation matters other than to report what is in the public records. Unfortunately, some persons claiming to be experts have written stories regarding the foregoing matters, without telling the public the entire truth found in the public records. The Firm has been asked by hundreds of homeowners to provide the general public with access to certain documents filed with the Court. The Firm’s publicly filed pleadings regarding this matter are available in the public records of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The public is encouraged to review the Court’s files. However, at the request of innumerable home owners, the Firm has reproduced — below — two affidavits filed in Court so that the public does not have to travel to Court and pay copying charges in order to simply obtain these affidavits. The Firm’s Homeowner Protection Center is continuing to take and respond to all telephone calls regarding this matter. If you are attempting to contact the Firm, remember you can always fill out the form found on the “Contact Us” page, and this is an alternative way to receive a fast response to your inquiry or request. Otherwise, please be patient if you chose to contact the Firm by telephone.”

      http://www.dobielaw.org/Info–Warnings.html

      Just to clarify, the motion was to remove Stein as co-lead counsel and for Stein to provide an accounting. Ultimately, the court ruled to break up the teams into separate cases. Here is a copy of the ruling:

      https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BxAap8zRDEE_YjA3MTUyMGMtNTdhMi00ZDdmLTg4ZjQtODYzNmVmMDIzYTgw&hl=en

      Though Stein is correct as to co-counsel seeking to remove him as co-lead counsel, and not, per se, the case, the fact still remains that co-counsel felt compelled to file a motion with the court to remove him as co-lead counsel based on a variety of reasons- one of which was the issues involving Kramer & Kaslow/K2 Law and non-attorney affiliate arrangements.

      While Stein does post two declarations on his website, he failed to post the motion, his response, or the response of co-counsel and the declaration of Vito Torchia Jr. that reveal significant concerns with the marketing of the mass joinders, clandestine relationships and agreements, as well as the purported involvement of Philip Kramer. Instead, Stein’s main concern appears to be that of semantics, and fails to disclose to the public that the co-counsel has effectively removed Stein from their cases via separation.

      I don’t know the law, and do not pretend to be an expert, but I am of the moral opinion that it is appropriate for officers of the court to uphold the highest ethical standards, and it does not seem unreasonable to question the provenance of clients amidst the flagrant mass litigation marketing.

      To avoid confusion, I recommend correcting the article to state that co-counsel motioned to remove Stein as co-lead counsel, and not entirely from the case given that Stein does have his own clients.

    • Robert Hudson97

      In your opinion ,Do you think this case has any chance? There complaint is very strong with support. Do you think I should cough up 5000 grand to join?

    • Robert Hudson97

      if you want the best you pay for it….like stein, is the best attorney for the case.

    • doingmyhomework

      what a mess! I am so glad I didnt join.

      All along ive been reading that there shouldnt be such a huge retainer for these cases. Sounds like the group working with Stein, didnt charge plantiffs, but Stein went off on his own and was charging people?

      I first was going to go through Brookstone, then was going to straight to MJS, now it sounds like Stein is the one going off the deep end and back stabbing Brookstone. I sure hope Steins greed didnt mess up the future of this case. :(

    • doingmyhomework

      what a mess! I am so glad I didnt join.

      All along ive been reading that there shouldnt be such a huge retainer for these cases. Sounds like the group working with Stein, didnt charge plantiffs, but Stein went off on his own and was charging people?

      I first was going to go through Brookstone, then was going to straight to MJS, now it sounds like Stein is the one going off the deep end and back stabbing Brookstone. I sure hope Steins greed didnt mess up the future of this case. :(

      • Robert Hudson97

        if you want the best you pay for it….like stein, is the best attorney for the case.

    • Steve Rhode

      They divided up the case and they each got their own clients I hear.

    • Robert Hudson97

      Steve, Did you find out the status of Mr. Stein and Mr. Spivak motion to have stein removed?

    • Steve Rhode

      Thanks.

    • Piggybankblog

      Hi Steve-
      .

      Very good article! I infact I put in my daily blog today : http://www.piggybankblog.com/2
      .
      Nice work!
      .
      Respectfully,
      John Wright
      piggybankblog.com

    • Piggybankblog

      Hi Steve-
      .

      Very good article! I infact I put in my daily blog today : http://www.piggybankblog.com/2010/01/05/johns-daily-blo/
      .
      Nice work!
      .
      Respectfully,
      John Wright
      piggybankblog.com

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Thanks.

        • Robert Hudson97

          Steve, Did you find out the status of Mr. Stein and Mr. Spivak motion to have stein removed?

        • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

          They divided up the case and they each got their own clients I hear.

        • Robert Hudson97

          In your opinion ,Do you think this case has any chance? There complaint is very strong with support. Do you think I should cough up 5000 grand to join?

    • Rob

      wow

    • Rob

      wow

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