Mass Joinder Marketing Mess Manages to Manufacture More Misery

How’s that for a title that uses M’s.

But seriously, the mass joinder marketing mess in California turns another page. Following the Attorney General and California Bar raids last month that seized the records of some law firms and accounts, one of the attorneys in that sweep, Mitchell Stein, is fighting back.

According to Courthouse News Service, Stein has filed a new suit in Los Angeles that makes the following statements, allegations, or assertions.

Named as defendants are Brookstone Law, its owner Vito Torchia Jr., his associate Damian Kutzner, California law firm SML, SML partners Kenin Spivak, Theodore Maloney and Edwin Lasman, and Apex Legal Group and its employees Christopher Tomaszewski and Bridget Jones.

“Unknown to attorney Stein or any of the plaintiffs in the Ronald case – most of whom are plaintiffs here – Spivak had ulterior motives for wanting to be part of the Ronald case,” the complaint states. “His motives were one of fraud, deceit and profit, which he failed to disclose to anybody upon his association into the case by Mr. Stein in March 2010. Within three months of being associated into the case, defendant Spivak began asking anybody he could find – including Stein and at least half of the plaintiffs herein – for money or agreements to pay money.”

“Based upon the conspiracy, the Maloney Group – lacking any standing under law given that they were not ‘real parties in interest’ to any case against any bank in the United States – made a motion in the Ronald case to ‘remove Mr. Stein as lead counsel’ in such case,” the complaint states. “Notwithstanding that the motion was unsuccessful, the Maloney Group sent out hundreds of mailers that made representations to the opposite: that the motion was successful and that clients should choose them as their lawyers.”

“To top it off, as the defendants were completing the first phase of their fraud and deceit on unsuspecting American homeowners, they produced infomercials … to follow up on the marketing blitz to profit off of the illegal mailer. … During this time, bank servicers increased foreclosure efforts based upon the unique California non-judicial foreclosure laws and plaintiffs were harmed extensively by foreclosures, invasions of their privacy, and other actions taken by bank servicers during the deceptions practiced by the defendants and at a time when defendants were their lawyers. In truth and in fact, the defendants (with the exception of defendant Lasman) had never obtained a restraining order, an injunction or a stipulation against a bank, or even brought an application for one, over the course of their entire careers before meeting Mr. Stein. Nonetheless, they have produced and distributed infomercials coupled with illegal mailers that induced home owners across the United States to believe that the banks in the United States have agreed to pay up to $75,000 to them by banks who have ‘settled’ matters labeled as ‘class settlements.'”

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“If not for Mr. Torchia’s misrepresentations – done at the behest of the Maloney Group and with the assistance, aid and comfort of Kutzner, all for pecuniary gain – the plaintiffs herein would not have paid the defendants any money and would have sought other counsel who (a) were actually experienced in the kind of banking business at issue in foreclosure litigation and (b) would have otherwise legitimately protected their legal rights.”

Stein wants the defendants enjoined from using his name and identity and more than $100 million in damages for appropriation of name and likeness.

The kicker for me is that Stein was Torchia’s attorney at one point and representing him as a client. My how the times have changed.

Rather than spend hours wedding through the complaint, I’m just going to wait for the next volley, because I’m sure there is going to be one and this is not the last we’ve heard on this.

My bet is this will take years to wind it’s way through the courts.


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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.
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