Trials & Litigation
Law Firm Accused of UPL, After Admittedly Filing Foreclosures Without Attorney Review
Posted Dec 3, 2010 7:00 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A Pennsylvania law firm has joined Florida colleagues on the hot seat over questioned practices in high-volume mortgage foreclosure cases.
Goldbeck McCafferty & McKeever has been accused of unauthorized practice of law because—as two of its name partners admitted in deposition—nonlawyers, at least in the past, routinely prepared and filed suit without attorney oversight, signing the purported filing attorney's name themselves, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
A copy of a federal-court motion to compel discovery, in which the deposition testimony in an individual's Western District of Pennsylvania case is quoted, is provided by Scribd.
Meanwhile, notes the Tribune-Review, an Allegheny County Common Pleas Court case apparently filed by the same plaintiff's attorney, Patrick J. Loughren, seeks to block all foreclosure suits filed by nonattorneys at the Philadelphia-based firm from proceeding.
In an apparently separate matter, another Goldbeck McCafferty lawyer and the law firm were were recently rebuked by the Western District's chief bankruptcy judge and ordered to self-report to attorney disciplinary authorities for allegedly creating after-the-fact correspondence filed in a foreclosure case that was never provided to the debtor or her attorney, the Tribune-Review article also says.
U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Agresti contended as well that attorney Leslie Puida and other firm lawyers lied to the court about the validity of these documents, too, the newspaper says.
Puida and the law firm did not respond to the Tribune-Review's requests for comment, but a partner told the judge that it has instituted new procedures in foreclosure cases to prevent such problems from occurring.
Updated on Dec. 6 to link to subsequent Associated Press article.