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Trials & Litigation

Hired to Help Worker Seek Commissions, Tiny Law Firm Winds Up in Monster Case Seeking $2.5B

Posted Nov 4, 2011 7:21 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Retained to represent a former employee of a mortgage brokerage after he unsuccessfully sued over allegedly unpaid commissions, a tiny Milwaukee, Wis., law firm wound up with a monster case.

Researching Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. for Peter Belli's appeal, the Mahany & Ertl firm discovered Allied had the highest mortgage default rate in the nation, topping 50 percent, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on its Proof & Hearsay case.

A qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act resulted, which was recently taken over by the Department of Justice. Filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, it alleges some $834 million in damages, and seeks civil penalties and treble damages that could bring the total to $2.5 billion, as a Pro Publica article details.

The law firm could get as much as 25 percent of any government recovery.

"Our timing was just right," attorney Brian Mahany tells the newspaper..

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