For those unfamiliar with the mass joinder, tort litigation racket marketers have been engaged in, here are the basics. Some law firms have filed suit against lenders for the mortgage mess. And that’s fine. But marketers have been paid to sell consumers into these cases and those marketers have made all sorts of objectionable claims to consumers.
I’ve published a number of the deceptive mailers that consumers have received, marketing compensation documents, and even secret shopper calls. Just follow the link to mass joinder and you will see a plethora of article on the subject.
A couple weeks ago the State of California took action against a couple of the earlier firms that were involved in the promotion of the mass joinder selling. The office of two law firms were raided and the records were seized. Phillip Kramer, Esq. and Mitchell Stein, Esq. and their respective individual firms were taken over by the State of California.
Yesterday Stein fought back by filing a suit against the State of California, in California and Florida.
The nearly identical suits allege that the action by the State of California to protect its citizens was a violation of the civil rights of the plaintiffs of the consumers involved in Steins litigation.
Let’s see if I can summarize the suit for you with quotes from the actual complaint:
- “On August 17, 2011 California Attorney General Kamala Harris grossly violated plaintiffs’ civil rights by seizing their legal files and denying them the right to the legal counsel of their choice.”
- “She did so based on an inadequate investigation and cited demonstrably false accusations against attorney Mitchell J. Stein. And she did so at the behest of Bank of America, whose attorneys are deeply alarmed by the substantive progress Mr. Stein has achieved in the plaintiffs’ mass joinder cases against the bank, to the point that these attorneys have – in the utmost example of governmental corruption — funneled money to the Defendants in order to persuade Harris to make this unprecedented move.”
- “Defendants instructed their agents to seize all of the LLP and plaintiffs’ property although no Court ever sanctioned or allowed them to do so directly, indirectly or otherwise.” (See court temporary restraining order here.)
- “Based upon Mr. Stein’s work and cooperation with and advisement to federal authorities, Harris’ and Bank of America’s attempt to silence their most feared enemy – Mr. Stein — backfired on Friday when the United States of America sued Bank of America again, alleging the same wrongdoings Mr. Stein alleged back in 2009. Harris’ was so bent on protecting Bank of America that she “didn’t appear” for a scheduled meeting with the Department of Homeland Security just three weeks ago to discuss whether California was complying with DHS, FDIC and Comptroller of the Currency directives against the nation’s banks during this national banking crisis.
- Also to the benefit of Bank of America, Harris has chosen to support less able competitors to pursue the mass joinder claims. In fact, the primary evidence cited by Harris against Mr. Stein was provided by affidavits from attorneys at a competitor, Brookstone Law Group. Harris gave credibility to Vito Torchia Jr. of Brookstone Law, whose previous employer, United Law Group, was shut down by the state of Georgia last year and disciplined by California authorities as part of a nationwide investigation into mortgage fraud.” (Interesting statement since Stein was working with Torchia and was his attorney at one point. Talk about throwing your client under the bus! Click here.)
- Stein alleges that California Attorney General Harris “Harris and Defendants approved this mailer in July 2011″ that is used by Brookstone Law.
- “On August 17, 2011, law enforcement agents under orders from Harris entered the Agoura Hills offices of the LLP without any court order or other subpoena providing them with such rights, and armed with guns and tasers. They ordered staff of the LLP to hand over all of their equipment, including personal computers, hard drives, flash drives and their wallets containing money and personal effects. They confiscated dozens of boxes of documents, including the personal files of the Plaintiffs in this case although such Plaintiffs are litigating against bank misconduct in other States like Florida, New York and/or Arizona. Harris also improperly seized files of the Department of Homeland Security and its representatives, to which Harris and Bank of America knew Mr. Stein has been an advisor on the issue of bank fraud for more than eighteen (18) months.”
- “Plaintiffs were neither induced nor deceived in any fashion before asking Mr. Stein to represent them. To the contrary, had Harris taken the time to contact Mr. Stein’s clients, she might have learned that many of Mr. Stein’s clients were referred not by advertising but by the offices of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein or the Department of Homeland Security who were already through being “double-talked” and “lied to” by Bank of America and needed a competent lawyer to refer to in order to help Senator Feinstein’s constituents. As he is prone to do, Mr. Stein helped these home owners for free and these home owners are now quite confused to say the least about the workings of their government.”
- “In her zeal to protect Bank of America, Kamala Harris simply threw Mr. Stein in with more than a dozen lawyers, law firms and loan modification businesses and then tarnished him with the blanket accusation of fraud and conspiracy. This is how Bank of America wanted it. With a little lying and cheating, the bank took a shot at “removing from the playing surface” the super-star who had been beating it to a pulp for two and a half years.”
- “This show of authority and warrantless aggression by Defendants in general and by Defendant State of California [“State”] and Defendant Kamala D. Harris in particular was a blatant grab for power and glory – without the attention to detail required in a civilized society — that was unjustified and without factual basis.”
- “Yet Brookstone Law and its sleazy lawyer Kenin Spivak were never invaded and Brookstone never had its files or property seized.” (Read Spivak statement on legal actions here.)
The complaint by Stein against the government comes off, in my opinion, as a rant and missive against government without really addressing many of the issues surrounding Stein’s alleged involvement with Kramer and marketers that created this mass joinder deceptive marketing mess and illegal fee splitting.
Stein may proclaim to be totally removed from the actions of Kramer, but the statements of his former client, Brookstone Law and Vito Torchia, say otherwise.
On November 23, 2010, during a phone conversation with Brookstone, Stein stated that he was done working exclusively with Kramer, but that he would continue on a non-exclusive basis. Stein told Brookstone that he wanted to position Brookstone to be the leader and authority on the banking/mortgage/foreclosure crisis. Stein told us that he wanted to work with Brookstone to file mass joinders in various states.He explained that he “understood” what Brookstone could do and wanted to “expand into two platforms.” He promised that he would bring in substantial money by the end of 2011. Stein said that he had “a field of vision” and that it was time to hire additional lawyers for me to manage. He also said that Stein and Brookstone would jointly file a class action Stein was in the middle of drafting.
Both Kramer and Stein said that I did not understand the law. Kramer said that Kramer only pays “marketing fees.” Stein said that there will never be a problem. Stein asserted that attorney-client privilege would prevent discovery of any problems and that I should just get on board and “everything will be fine.”
On or around January 12, 2011, I forwarded a copy of a FORM 1012-R to Stein, as Brookstone’s counsel and partner in mass joinders to obtain Stein approval of the mailer for use by Brookstone. [This mailer makes the same statements that Stein says the state approved. It appears he allegedly approved them as well.] I specifically asked that he respond if any changes were needed before Brookstone could use the mailer. I asked Stein to reply back to me as soon as possible. Stein never responded, leading me to believe he had no objections. – Source
While Stein skewers Brookstone Law in his lawsuit, you can see emails filed by Brookstone as part of Torchia’s previous filing against Stein. Click here. Clearly they worked together and cooperated closely and so the misdirection about Brookstone makes no logical sense.
What a mess.
Stein Recom / Signalife / Heart Tronics
As an aside, Stein himself does not come without baggage. As you can see in this June, 2011 lawsuit against Mitchell J. Stein, it is alleged he was integral in operating a stock manipulation scheme which defrauded investors in Recom / Signalife / Heart Tronics.
From that suit:
The July 2008 investigation revealed that Recom / Signalife has a corporate history populated by individuals tied to numerous fraudulent activities. Previously Stein controlled a limited liability company that was the largest shareholder of eMedsoft, Inc., a publicly traded company that later changed its name to Med Diversified, Inc. (“eMedsoft/Med Diversified”) and also served as a director of eMedsoft/Med Diversified. eMedsoft/Med Diversified declared bankruptcy when its largest lender, National Century Financial Industries, Inc. was revealed to be a fraud. As part of the fiasco, the CEO of eMedsoft/Med Diversified pleaded guilty to criminal activities. According to Sparks, Stein sold millions of shared of eMedsoft/Med Diversified stock based on non-public information while actively recruiting new investors in the Company. Sparks also related his experience with Stein with regard to a technology called “Pixbox” that was substantially similar to the truth about Recom/Signalife – Stein touted a revolutionary new technology to Sparks and asked Sparks to recruit investors, but the product never actually existed and was unsalable. – Source
Stein filed a rival rights case against the unknown Postal Inspector and unknown FBI Agent, along with Charles Cain, Rachel Nonaka, Adam Eisner, Lee Ehrlichman, and John Woodbury.
In that case he mentions Recom but fails to mention his association with that company in his filing as the attorney representing some nonprofit groups. You can see the complaint filed on August 15, 2011, here.Mass Joinder Stein Fights Back and Sues California in Florida by Steve Rhode