Florida Foreclosure Mill Attorneys Facing Criminal Charges For Not Turning Over Ditech Training Manual
The attorneys for Ditech Financial failed to comply with a Miami-Dade judge’s order to produce training manuals discussed by Ditech representative Christopher Ogden in a deposition. Tromberg Law Group attorneys Yacenda Hudson and Amina McNeil along with Ogden were ordered to show why they shouldn’t be held in indirect criminal contempt of court.
This case is part of broader issues facing homeowners in foreclosure. Are loan servicers misleading courts about the process they follow? Loan servicers testify their records are accurate.
Miami attorney Bruce Jacobs of Jacobs Keeley told Law.com:
I have been arguing for quite some time that there is a problem with what these banks’ witnesses are putting forward about the way that they get the prior servicers’ records into evidence.
Ogden testified that Ditech uses “red-flag” software to catch any problems with previous servicers’ records.
The witness said he saw training manuals that included a flowchart outlining the verification process. Jacobs persuaded Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Pedro Echarte to order Ditech to produce the training manuals.
Ditech Financial Starts Playing Games
Echarte instructed the parties to arrange a new deposition to go over the training manuals. The judge said he would set the deposition for a Saturday evening at midnight if the parties couldn’t agree on a time. It’s a tactic he uses to motivate litigants.
So Echarte was miffed to find the parties didn’t agree on a time. The judge dragged a court reporter to a deposition in the middle of the weekend.
Judge Pedro Echarte told the litigants:
I want you guys to know that I’ve been doing that for 20 years and you two are the first that couldn’t agree on a normal, reasonable date and time for a deposition. Shame on both of you. … Why did all of you idiots go to a deposition at midnight on Sunday?
Then the parties told Judge Echarte that Ditech Financial did not bring the training manuals to the deposition.
Ditech Financial’s legal department decided not to turn them over. Ditech lawyers argued the manuals are protected by work-product privilege. Echarte said that argument had not come up in any court filings. Judge Echarte said Ditech was disobeying his order to turn over the records.
Ditech Financial Pisses Off The Judge
As a result, a livid Judge Echarte told Ditech Financial lawyers:
Who decided? Give me the name of a person because I want to know who goes to jail, along with the lawyer.
Judge Echarte also announced he would issue a show-cause order:
If you’re found in contempt of court … you may be facing jail and you may be facing other sanctions. If I find any lawyer to be in contempt of court, the matter is going to be referred to the Florida Bar.
Consequently, Ditech Financial to moved for Echarte’s disqualification and Echarte recused himself. Circuit Court Judge Beatrice Butcko was the lucky one to receive the case. Butchko surprised the Ditech lawyers. She told the parties she would sign an order keeping the arraignment on the calendar for December 14th.
In the midst of all this, Ditech produced a training manual. The manual is a 16-page document. It also did not include a flow chart mentioning a “red-flag” system.
Loan servicers fly their representatives around the country testifying they know their records are accurate because they been through a “vigorous” loan boarding process. These witnesses say they are familiar with the process. However, they often cannot explain glaring errors in the records or why documents are missing.