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.

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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.”
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  • “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

    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

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