The Pendergrass rule is dead. Parol evidence, even that at odds with the written terms of a contract, may be used to support claims of promissory fraud. However, where consumers have not read their contracts before signing them, they will have to present facts that tend to prove their failure to read the contracts was not negligent. Continue reading
The successful prosecution of a lawsuit, where only money is involved, is frequently less than one-half the battle. The successful plaintiff may also have to defend an appeal. If plaintiff prevails on appeal, plaintiff still must still collect. If the defendant is insolvent, collection may be impossible.
If the defendant is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate, there is hope for at least partial recovery on the judgment from the Consumer Recovery Account. If the judgment contains specific findings and is the result of intentional fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, or conversion of trust funds in a transaction requiring a real estate license – plaintiff may be able to look to the recovery fund for satisfaction up to $50,000 per transaction. Continue reading
My interest was perked by this article in the WSJ today: “Consumer Protection Agency’s First Lawsuit Targets Law Firm”. It warms my heart when scam artists, particularly those who happen to trade on their law license, get their due. One of the principals involved in the alleged scam is California attorney Chance Gordon who operated a loan modification mill under several DBAs. State Bar proceedings, and hopefully criminal charges, will follow. A receiver has been appointed. If you have been a victim, contact the State Bar and Kent Kawakami, local counsel for the Consumer Protection Bureau, whose contact information is listed on the face page of the complaint.
UPDATE: On February 22, 2016 the State Bar Court recommended disbarment of Chance Gordon. The decision is here.