Comments: 250 • Responses: 58 • Date: 2012-09-11 18:33:21 UTCsource
AttyToddAllen56 karma2012-09-11 18:48:14 UTC
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IChangeTenses46 karma2012-09-11 18:45:24 UTC
Has Bank of America made any attempts at "retaliation?"
AttyToddAllen72 karma2012-09-11 18:50:33 UTC
Yeah, they have. All have failed.
WingedDefeat22 karma2012-09-11 19:00:42 UTC
Could you elaborate on this?
AttyToddAllen57 karma2012-09-11 19:03:19 UTC
I can't really because the cases are still in active litigation.
daderpster45 karma2012-09-11 19:10:20 UTC
How accurate was the Daily Show's representation of your case? They made it seem like an open and shut no-brainer, but that you would be likely over your head tackling a company that large as a newbie.
How true was this and what were some challenges or obstacles that you had to overcome facing a foe so large with likely near infinite legal resources?
AttyToddAllen87 karma2012-09-11 19:21:18 UTC
It was 100% accurate. If the attorney for Bank of America has spent five minutes reviewing title they would have seen the mistake. The problem was that we couldn't get anyone at the bank to listen. Everyone refused to look at the documents.
The challenge was getting someone to listen. That's the problem with foreclosure cases across the country. It's a numbers game for the banks. They push them through as fast as possible and deal with the "mistakes" as they arise. The only thing I could do to get their attention is what ended up happening.
ken2723831 karma2012-09-11 18:47:10 UTC
We all should have a Reddit meetup and foreclose on a Bank of America.
AttyToddAllen35 karma2012-09-11 18:50:45 UTC
Sign me up
nxqv29 karma2012-09-11 18:41:07 UTC
Is there anything the average homeowner can do to prevent accidental foreclosures like this one?
AttyToddAllen47 karma2012-09-11 18:44:10 UTC
Watch the official records of your county like a hawk. Banks have to file a lis pendens before they file a foreclosure. That will give you a heads up that something is happening.
TheCenterOfEnnui5 karma2012-09-12 18:27:10 UTC
That's a little much, no? The average homeowner can't be expected to watch county records like a hawk.
The real answer is, there is nothing you can realistically do to prevent this. If a mistake happens, lawyer up.
AttyToddAllen12 karma2012-09-13 01:45:23 UTC
Why? Most records are online. You should be watching the records.
TheCenterOfEnnui8 karma2012-09-13 04:36:14 UTC
I get what you're saying, but think of it like this...
the chances of your house being accidentally foreclosed on are probably akin to the odds of a sinkhole hitting your house. In fact, the sinkhole is probably greater in Florida.
If I were to ask a geologist how I could prevent this, the answer I'd get would be something like "check the water table for your area freqently. The water tables are online."
Seriously...would anyone do this? No one is going to check the online records you describe frequently. It's just not realistic.
AttyToddAllen8 karma2012-09-13 13:56:21 UTC
I understand that people wouldn't do it. But you can see what happens when you don't inspect the records. It's like owning a piece of land and never going out to look for trespassers. After a while (whatever the statute of limitations is for trespassing is), the trespasser can make an adverse possession claim on your property. You may end up losing whatever the trespasser has occupied to the trespasser.
Courts look at it as if you are "sitting" on your rights as a landowner.
AttyToddAllen26 karma2012-09-11 18:48:51 UTC
You can go to my firm website.
Olliff24 karma2012-09-11 18:41:40 UTC
How has this case helped your career professionally? Taking on case that no experienced attorney wanted, especially against a generally loathed entity like a bank has to be a boon for your reputation.
The spot on the Daily Show made the case seem overly straightforward and easy. Was the case really this simple or was there a lot of laborious behind the scenes lawyer stuff that made it more difficult and tedious?
AttyToddAllen57 karma2012-09-11 18:47:09 UTC
It was great learning experience. It taught me to think outside of the box on every case and to never settle for the "standard" answer. It's been great for my career. I get calls on a weekly basis from people across the country asking for help.
Opponents treat me a little differently which is nice. One attorney told me not to sue his client because he had crappy office furniture. Pretty funny.
[deleted]24 karma2012-09-11 19:15:26 UTC
AttyToddAllen29 karma2012-09-11 19:22:47 UTC
That's a good question. We held them accountable, but everyone else isn't so lucky. I don't want to say that it's the government's responsibility, but someone needs to stop the banks.
mlw72z23 karma2012-09-11 19:58:34 UTC
Was the original mistake made by someone that that specific BoA branch office?
AttyToddAllen46 karma2012-09-11 20:21:14 UTC
It wasn't a mistake at that office. That branch was the closest Bank of America asset that I could seize. Ironically, that branch was robbed six months later.
Rommel7921 karma2012-09-11 18:41:31 UTC
How awesome did it feel actually shutting down the branch? An how long did you have them shut down?
AttyToddAllen39 karma2012-09-11 18:44:53 UTC
It felt pretty good. Although we didn't shut them down. The bank was still open but no one would go in because they thought a robbery had just taken place.
Rommel790 karma2012-09-11 18:46:59 UTC
I have BOA and actually like them, but I love seeing people get justice. I'm kind of like Batman in that way.
AttyToddAllen69 karma2012-09-11 19:05:18 UTC
You are messed up.
mlarrivee20 karma2012-09-12 01:09:21 UTC
What was the sheriff's reaction when he found out what he'd be doing that day? Did he even take it serious at first?
AttyToddAllen20 karma2012-09-12 21:49:17 UTC
Yeah, they took it pretty serious. They were mad that I called the media so they tried to go into the bank without me. When I found out they were in there I went and barged into the branch managers office.
toSTONEiGO19 karma2012-09-11 18:34:56 UTC
AttyToddAllen25 karma2012-09-11 18:43:13 UTC
I didn't expect it to take long. I sat in front of the camera for hours.
Bret1616 karma2012-09-11 18:47:53 UTC
What's the best advice you've received about anything that you would pass down?
AttyToddAllen24 karma2012-09-11 18:54:06 UTC
For those in foreclosure - keep pushing. You will get the bank to modify your mortgage. Hold them accountable for their reckless lending.
killrickykill7 karma2012-09-11 19:36:38 UTC
So the people who aren't paying their loans terms that they agreed upon, as witnessed by a notary which is required on loan documents, why shouldn't they be held accountable for their reckless borrowing? Not trying to be argumentative, I'm not wealthy by any means, but if the people who borrowed the money in good faith didn't pay it back and aren't held accountable for that and are instead bailed out, how does that help in the big picture? If people learned to live within their means and not borrow more than they can pay back this would never happen, it seems silly to lay the blame completely on the bank, when the borrower knows full well the terms of a loan they are agreeing to and they default on the payments....cars get repossessed every day should I be blaming the finance company cause they didn't foresee that I wouldn't pay my note?
Banks are in the business of money, it's their entire business, it makes no sense for a bank financially to maliciously offer a loan that they have reason to believe wont be paid back, they're not in the business of actively trying to lose money, but when a person makes claims of income higher than they have or have a probability to make when they file that no document loan on "stated income", they are gambling that the house they are buying that they can't afford will increase in value and be easy money for them to make. I know it's not a popular view, especially on reddit, but the irresponsibility I think lies upon the people gambling on loans they knew they couldn't afford unless the asset increased in value, and most didn't, that's kind of how a gamble works. And now the people gambled and lost want the "house" to suffer the consequences. The banks should never have offered negative interest or no document loans, but, the people who bought these loan products knowing they couldn't afford the balloon payment or interest hike are just as irresponsible if not more so. Everyone wants to make banks out to be evil, but even if they are, they're a necessary evil, irresponsible people are not.
People should have to be just as accountable for their crappy decisions and gambling losses as the banks are, but as long as people believe the banks are the "bad guy" and the poor innocent people are just victims, that will never happen.
Olliff24 karma2012-09-11 19:44:32 UTC
The case in question happened against a couple who had no loan with Bank of America. Kind of hard to default on something that doesn't exist.
killrickykill3 karma2012-09-11 19:59:14 UTC
And that makes sense, but the case in question is not the norm when talking foreclosures today, as well as, the case in question has nothing to do with reckless lending practices since no "lending" took place, so it's hard for me to hear the OP attack lending responsibility since it has nothing to do with case in question, and much less to do with the overall picture of current and recent foreclosures than people seem to think it does.
AttyToddAllen53 karma2012-09-11 20:29:24 UTC
I don't disagree with your position. I've rejected clients for this very reason. However, I have zero sympathy for a bank who loans $400k to a waitress making $35k a year. That's reckless lending.
I also have problems with a bank who lends that kind of money to a waitress and then seeks to destroy her life in order to get paid back. They took the risk right along with her. So instead of kicking people out of their house, they need to be more willing to modify loans or to assist in short sales.
DistrictFive16 karma2012-09-11 18:56:08 UTC
Have you seen cases similiar to the one featured on the Daily Show since? Are accidental foreclosures a common problem? I appreciate you sticking it to the man.
AttyToddAllen29 karma2012-09-11 18:59:43 UTC
They are common. A couple just had their house bulldozed because of an incorrect foreclosure. I've got one case against Wells Fargo that's similar.
supercore2310 karma2012-09-11 19:49:25 UTC
Where was this at? Do you have any more info?
AttyToddAllen15 karma2012-09-11 20:33:10 UTC
ichuckle13 karma2012-09-11 18:34:14 UTC
jayisrad18 karma2012-09-11 19:28:00 UTC
Hey! I'm the guy who contacted Todd via email and asked him to do an AMA. Not that this is necessarily proof, but I can definitely vouch for him. I can post email screen caps if necessary.
AttyToddAllen15 karma2012-09-11 20:33:51 UTC
Thanks Jay. I appreciate the invitation
AttyToddAllen10 karma2012-09-11 18:42:43 UTC
New to this. How do I upload proof?
nxqv5 karma2012-09-11 18:45:24 UTC
There's a link on the sidebar which says "message the moderators;" they can help you out. Alternatively, you can take a photo of yourself holding a piece of paper or sign saying something along the lines of "Hi Reddit! (date, time.)"
AttyToddAllen7 karma2012-09-11 18:51:09 UTC
done, where do I upload it?
scoobertz12 karma2012-09-11 19:49:16 UTC
What are your thoughts on the Federal Reserve?
AttyToddAllen23 karma2012-09-11 20:19:40 UTC
It has it's place. I don't believe that place should be bailing banks out of bad investments.
chinaclipper12 karma2012-09-11 19:58:21 UTC
After pulling that on BoA, have banks refused to do business with you?
AttyToddAllen16 karma2012-09-11 20:20:04 UTC
Me? No. My clients still bank there.
xynie9 karma2012-09-12 07:56:08 UTC
I'm at the end of a long journey, but have a question that maybe can help others in the future. Here is the story:
I have been lawyered up the whole time, they did all communication with the banks and between the parties. I never felt neglected by my lawyers, I had to update documents constantly, but it just felt like the banks stalled like they never wanted to get it done. At the end of the day, they are taking an offer 100K less then what this would have been two years ago.
My question, is there anything that could have been done legally to push the banks along to get this done in a timely manner? Is there any recourse? I read about legislation that was supposed to mandate short sale processes taking set periods of time.... what happened to those? At one point my first lawyer wanted to take the banks to court to try and force lien release. Think that may have been worth it?(This was in NJ, by the way, I chose not to go that route)
As someone that can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopes daily that it arrives soon, I don't envy what you do.
Thanks for your thoughts! Hopefully any insight you give can help those in similar short sale situations, either as buyer or seller.
AttyToddAllen7 karma2012-09-12 21:42:57 UTC
Unfortunately your situation is not uncommon. There have been a number of pieces of legislation designed to speed the process up. Unfortunately, not everyone can qualify for those programs. The best thing to do in this situation is just be persistent. Never let the bank go more than a day without a follow up.
smokeinhiseyes6 karma2012-09-11 19:31:07 UTC
Is there something that stands out in particular to you about BOA versus the other banks out there? Are they excessively inattentive, corrupt, or simply focused on profit above and beyond what's reasonable? What are your thoughts having gone through the legal proceedings with them?
AttyToddAllen14 karma2012-09-11 20:17:36 UTC
No, nothing specific to BOA. Everyone was tied up in these mortgage backed securities. That's the root of the problem. All banks are inherently inattentive. Most times you are just a number to them.
justpwndu1126 karma2012-09-12 16:43:27 UTC
YOU FORCLOSED A BANK! AMERICAN HERO RIGHT HERE!
AttyToddAllen3 karma2012-09-12 21:36:03 UTC
geecue5 karma2012-09-12 15:28:29 UTC
Mirror for Canadian, British, Australian, everyone else.
Man, I hope someday we don't have to resort to this finding-mirrors-because-your-IP-address-isn't-located-in-the US nonsense.
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:40:25 UTC
Looked on youtube and couldn't find it. Sorry.
captianbob5 karma2012-09-12 03:04:20 UTC
You're a bad ass
AttyToddAllen6 karma2012-09-12 21:47:54 UTC
LaLaLaICantHearYou5 karma2012-09-11 22:36:37 UTC
My wife bought a condo before we were married. She got a loan from Countrywide which is now part of BofA. Several years later, we met with a mortgage broker to inquire about the possibility of refinancing.
The mortgage broker we talked to at that time, investigated the original countrywide loan and he was surprised that they had put her into that particular loan, because he said the particular mortgage she used to buy the condo was intended for sub-prime borrowers with bad credit and she should have been able to get a much better interest rate. My wife had excellent credit and a very high paying job (and still does.) when she bought the condo and should have qualified for a much better loan with a better interest rate than the one that they sold her.
After doing a little bit of googling, I read that countrywide used to encourage mortgage brokers to sell these crappy sub-prime loans to people even when they qualified for a better loan, by offering a higher commission to the brokers for the crappy loans. In California where this happened, Mortgage brokers have a fiduciary duty to their clients.
Do you think it would be worth it to pursue a case against BofA over this? All we would really want is for them to refinance into a type of loan for people with good credit instead of this P.O.S. sub-prime type of loan. We are not able to refinance normally because my wife is underwater on the property.
AttyToddAllen5 karma2012-09-12 21:53:35 UTC
I would absolutely pursue it.
fishchunks4 karma2012-09-12 03:22:03 UTC
Since I'm from the UK I can't watch that video, I assume, going on some vague memories that you're the guy who, when BoA messed up somehow, went to their nearest branch (I think w/ the police or maybe they were called later) and demanded the assets and they ended up writing you a cheque?
If this is correct, you're epic! :)
Also, would you be able to post a link to one for outside of the United States please? :) (YouTube or something similar)
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:47:32 UTC
That's me. Tried to find a link but I couldn't find anything. Sorry.
raziphel3 karma2012-09-11 23:00:27 UTC
Any plans to write a "How to hold your bank accountable" instruction guide for homeowners and attorneys in the future?
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:52:27 UTC
No. It's a good idea though.
robak693 karma2012-09-12 03:28:52 UTC
uhh what's the name of the case. i want to read the opinion. or at least the legal theory. how does owing 3k=shutting a branch down?
edit: the piece didn't make that clear
PinkyThePig3 karma2012-09-12 03:55:09 UTC
They were foreclosing on BofA. Since BofA refused to pay the 3k they owed he was legally allowed to sell off the banks assets to recoup that money.
crackanape1 karma2012-09-12 13:19:45 UTC
I think it's a shame that he didn't go ahead and sell off the bank branch.
AttyToddAllen3 karma2012-09-12 21:47:04 UTC
I wanted to do that but the law restricts what you can seize.
nsgiad3 karma2012-09-11 21:38:53 UTC
I wish I had an awesome question to ask to drum up some business in there, alas I got nothing. I just want to say thanks for sticking up for the little guys and letting BoA have it!
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:54:30 UTC
PraetorianFury3 karma2012-09-11 22:25:37 UTC
You're my hero. That is all.
AttyToddAllen3 karma2012-09-12 21:54:17 UTC
Ibeadoctor3 karma2012-09-11 22:42:32 UTC
What does Jon Stewart smell like...? I could not be more serious.
[deleted]1 karma2012-09-12 04:39:27 UTC
AttyToddAllen3 karma2012-09-12 21:52:51 UTC
I actually didn't meet him. John Oliver flew to naples to do the shoot.
splein232 karma2012-09-12 04:13:22 UTC
I just want to say this very well might be the greatest story I've ever heard in my life. Thank you for making my week.
AttyToddAllen3 karma2012-09-12 21:46:00 UTC
ExpatEsquire2 karma2012-09-11 23:51:58 UTC
Todd, what is your opinion on transfers of mortgages to REMIC trusts after the closing date of the trust? NH judges have balked at holding the banks accountable
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:52:13 UTC
It's a bad idea. Lenders need to stay close to their borrowers.
jayisrad2 karma2012-09-11 21:25:31 UTC
Thanks again for doing the AMA. Now onto a few questions:
Did you get to meet Jon Stewart?
Do you have any interesting anecdotes from your experience with the Daily Show?
Do you think the repeal Glass-Steagall is responsible for our crisis, or lack of due diligence?
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:55:49 UTC
Not really. John Oliver is pretty damn funny.
Glass-Steagall played a part, but I think due dilligence is the critical element.
pierogariffic2 karma2012-09-11 22:26:20 UTC
You, sir, are an awesome and majestic human being. Major props/karma/etc. for helping that couple when no one else would!
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:54:06 UTC
ccrepitation2 karma2012-09-12 00:09:28 UTC
i think it would have been better if you really did go in there and take all their chairs, desks, phones etc. sometimes its not about the money, it's about the message. at the end of the day, it was nothing for them to cut a check for however much. think about the hassle and loss of business they would have had weeks trying to get that branch back to operation. that to me would have been sweeter.
but at least the couple got their money back.
AttyToddAllen4 karma2012-09-12 21:51:40 UTC
It was my intention to get everthing. I had a goal to walk out with the manager's chair. In fact I had committed myself to buying the chair at the auction. Unfortunately, the sheriffs department didn't want to do that.
sheller962 karma2012-09-12 00:12:35 UTC
Why did so many lawyers refuse to take the case before the victims went to you? You said the case was as straightforward as it was portrayed by the Daily Show, so it seems like it would have been easy money for any lawyer.
AttyToddAllen6 karma2012-09-12 21:50:29 UTC
That was the problem. The lawyers saw it as a paperwork error that could be fixed with a couple of calls. The payoff they saw wasn't as big as it eventually was.
calomel2 karma2012-09-12 01:39:20 UTC
Great story! So, what did you actually end up repossessing from the bank?
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:48:21 UTC
Nothing. They ended up cutting us a check.
azzaleo2 karma2012-09-12 03:17:15 UTC
I have never more wanted to put on my best suit and then give someone a high 5. Keep being awesome!
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:47:47 UTC
THECapedCaper2 karma2012-09-12 03:45:24 UTC
How has business been for you since your appearance?
AttyToddAllen5 karma2012-09-12 21:46:26 UTC
It's been great. Love helping people.
RealFluffy2 karma2012-09-12 04:07:12 UTC
Do you have any relation to George Allen, the Virginia senatorial candidate? The Wikipedia article on him says he has 2 brothers; 1 is Bruce Allen and the other is unlisted.
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:46:09 UTC
bob-leblaw2 karma2012-09-12 01:06:31 UTC
Do you have any political aspirations?
AttyToddAllen4 karma2012-09-12 21:49:34 UTC
Yes. Not sure how soon though.
DarkCoyote2 karma2012-09-12 05:59:34 UTC
My dreams were lifted and immediately dashed when I realized you said Todd Allen, not Tim Allen....
AttyToddAllen4 karma2012-09-12 21:43:38 UTC
Sorry. It would have been funnier with Tim Allen.
alofferman1 karma2012-09-14 10:47:52 UTC
Have you tried to foreclose on other banks? If so which has been the worst/meanest/nastiest to you?
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-20 14:47:51 UTC
I've come close a couple of times. So far BOA has been the only one.
Cosmicgensis1 karma2012-09-12 16:20:16 UTC
Ive been screwed over by BoA several times, i'll never do business with them again. They deserved every bit of this. From a million pissed off ex-BoA customers. . .. . . . .Thank you.
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:36:22 UTC
Trust me. It was my pleasure.
strangled_chicken1 karma2012-09-12 17:09:44 UTC
Here in California, "foreclosure" refers to a lender resorting to its security when a borrower is in default, either judicially or nonjudicially, and not the enforcement of a regular money judgment. If I were to obtain a similar result as you--namely, having the Sheriff seize personal property under a writ, sell the property, and provide me with the proceeds to apply to the money judgment--this would not be "foreclosure." Would it be safe to assume that Florida law is similar? If so, why do you allow people to continue misrepresenting the scenario as your clients "foreclosing" on Bank of America?
AttyToddAllen2 karma2012-09-12 21:33:53 UTC
You are correct. People just interpreted the seizure of the assets as a forclosure.
tow661 karma2012-09-12 05:54:59 UTC
AttyToddAllen5 karma2012-09-12 21:44:30 UTC
It was David J. Stern's office. He already had a number of bar complaints against him and his firm eventually collapsed. Didn't think it made sense to beat that dead horse.
T0kenitup1 karma2012-09-12 05:56:47 UTC
Today we salute you. A real America hero.
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:43:49 UTC
[deleted]1 karma2012-09-12 04:26:47 UTC
Did yo actually take furnishings or did the manager come to some settlement?
AttyToddAllen3 karma2012-09-12 21:45:50 UTC
The sheriff gave the bank manager the opportunity to cut us a check. I wanted to seize the furniture though. That's why I showed up with a truck.
CatrickStrayze1 karma2012-09-12 17:14:25 UTC
You are an American hero. Keep doing what you do!
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:33:13 UTC
MattJFarrell1 karma2012-09-12 15:41:02 UTC
Is "Can I get a high five?" an appropriate question? I showed that clip to so many people. One of the best Daily Show segments of all time.
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:37:25 UTC
Yes you can in Naples. Next beer is on me.
SmuzzlesDaFuq1 karma2012-09-12 07:38:50 UTC
AttyToddAllen1 karma2012-09-12 21:43:12 UTC
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