A tipster (send in your tips here) sent in a recent cover letter from Quantum Law Firm that included the Mass Litigation Alliance engagement pack.
The cover letter states all the consumer needs to do is have a representative come out to pick up the completed package.
I frequently hear from people they are sold participation in these mass joinder suits in order to prevent their home from being foreclosed on. Even the introduction to the enrollment package makes it sound as if it will prevent foreclosures.
This is not a foreclosure defense service; your complaint places the validity of the promissory note into question within a proper legal forum. Therefore the banks should not foreclose upon your home, and have in the past, voluntarily offered relief from foreclosure to named plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
But other lawyers involved in mass joinder actions against mortgage lenders say that participation in mass joinder suits will not automatically prevent a foreclosure.
So the Quantum Law Firm reviewed the consumer’s material and decided they have a case. The Mass Litigation Alliance (MLA) material, that was then forwarded, says the process now has to be repeated.
You will sign a retainer with a lead litigation partner, who will represent you. This attorney will accept your retainer and funds, and will be your attorney of record. Mass Litigation Alliance is paid by your litigation attorney to review your file and facilitate a phone consultation explaining the process of mass joinder litigation. [But didn’t Quantum Law Firm already do that?] Mass Litigation Alliance does not represent clients in litigation. Karger & Associates is a national client intake and boarding law firm for mass joinder litigation clients on behalf of our lead litigation partners. Our lead litigation partners are filing multiple mass joinder cases across the country. Mass Litigation Alliance will consult with clients, upon request of the lead litigation partners, or the request of Karger & Associates, to help ensure that clients understand what mass joinder litigation is, and what it is not.
Upon submission, your client intake specialist will review your case within 48 hours to confirm that your case does in fact meet the basic required criteria for the mass joinder lawsuit. [Again, Quantum Law Firm already represented they did that.] Once the intake team has reviewed your information, your file will then be forwarded to an attorney from Mass Litigation Alliance who will contact you to confirm your desire to join the pending mass joinder litigation. If the attorney does not believe you to be a proper fit for the lawsuit, they will let you know at that time and a refund will be issued. – Source
So how does this work? Quantum Law Firm meets with the consumer and reviews the case and determines the case is “strong and eligible to participate in the mass joinder litigation lawsuit” with Quantum Law Firm and Kramer & Kaslow. The consumer then gets a agreement to sign from MLA that says a retainer will be signed with the lead litigation partner who will represent you. MLA is then paid by the “lead” attorney to review the file the Quantum Law Firm already reviewed and approved?
MLA says they don’t represent clients but they instead “consult with clients, upon request of the lead litigation partners.” And then all of a sudden in comes a new name, Karger & Associates. I have no clue who they are and how they go injected in the process.
So MLA says they don’t represent clients but then they say the client information will be reviewed by an attorney from MLA to make sure the consumer is a “proper fit” for the mass litigation suit. That sure makes it sound as if there is an attorney-client relationship between MLA and the consumer.
The first page ends with the sentence, “Thank you for allowing The Law Offices of Kramer & Kaslow and Mass Litigation Alliance, APLC to serve you through this process.” But who is APLC? Another insert.
As we move on in this document we learn Kramer & Kaslow is asking the consumer to complete a retainer agreement. This is despite of the fact the law firm the consumer originally worked with was the Quantum Law Firm. The cover letter says Quantum Law Firm is being retained in conjunction with Kramer & Kaslow but the retainer agreement the consumer is asked to sign is only for Kramer & Kaslow.
I love this section:
To a great degree, our relationship with you as your attorney is governed by both this Agreement and the California Rules of Professional Conduct, excerpts of which are attached hereto as Exhibit “A” and can be found in their entirety at www.calbar.org.
You acknowledge that you are experienced and sophisticated, and are familiar with the Rules. – Source
Seriously? The average consumer is going to be experienced and sophisticated in their familiarity with the California Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers?
The bill for services under this agreement appears to be open-ended. The consumer may believe the money they may have paid upfront, $4,500 in this agreement, will be the entire bill but the agreement does say:
Furthermore, you understand and acknowledge that you are responsible to pay all fees and costs set forth below in connection with this Representation and the failure to pay costs represents a reason for withdrawal as counsel under the California Rules of Professional Conduct.
Naturally, you must approve all costs before they are paid – but as an experienced person you understand that certain costs are mandatory. – Source
Experienced in what? Joining mass joinder lawsuits?
And that money that was paid upfront, well that’s the last time you’ll probably ever see that. The agreement says, “You agree and acknowledge that the fee you pay to our Firm at the inception of this Representation is a non-refundable, non-creditable retainer. Our fees are deemed fully earned upon our receipt.” – Source. Did you get that, no refunds. And if you fail to pay future demands for costs the firm can kick you out and you get no money back. At least that’s what the client retainer appears to say.
And those future costs can be even more substantial than the client may have thought.
You are obligated to reimburse the Firm for costs in this representation, including time spent by other lawyers approved by you, travel expenses, facsimile charges, filing fees, service or investigative fees, experts, record securement, deposition fees, trial costs, parking, postage, photocopying expenses (at 25 cents per page), phone charges and other standard costs, all of which costs shall be reimbursable by you within thirty days of our incurring them. – Source
Those costs can be enormously expensive. It’s almost a blank check.
The Firm shall neither provide you with bills for our services, nor shall we maintain time sheets or other time records relating to our Representation, unless such pertain to matters that may be reimbursable in any civil action you may bring or be forced to defend, including the foregoing described actions. In that case, you authorize the Firm to track its time and to apply to the Court for payment of our legal fees and we shall keep all monies paid therefrom. Our fees range from $110.00 per hour all the way up to $850.00 per hour for Attorney Philip A. Kramer. – Source
If you later decide you want out of this agreement you may have to pay even more.
You are not bound to keep the Firm as your counsel by this Agreement and you are free to terminate this Agreement at any time. Should you elect to terminate this Agreement, however, you may be liable to the firm under applicable law for legal fees owed to us. – Source
Before you sign an agreement like this you might want to get a second opinion for a real estate attorney who is licensed in your state and not trying to sell you a service. You should fully understand your risks and responsibilities before entering a legal agreement.