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Kowalski101202

Kowalski101202

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Published by: DinSFLA on Dec 03, 2010
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12/04/2010

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LAWOFFICESOFJAMES
A.
KOWALSKI,
JR.,
PL
MI
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Written
Testimony
of
JamesA.Kowalski,
Jr.,
Esquire
Law
Offices
of
JamesA.Kowalski,
Jr.,
PL
Jacksonville,
FL
BeforetheCommitteeOnTheJudiciaryUnitedStatesHouse
of
Representatives"ForeclosedJustice:CausesandEffects
of
theForeclosureCrisis"December
2,2010
10:00a.m.
12627
SAN
JOSE
BOULEVARD,SUITE
203,
JACKSONVILLE,
FL
32223
i
11.
904.268.1146
I\\\
904.268.1342
I',
\"
\
KOWALSKl.LAW@MAC.COM
www.StopForeclosureFraud.com
 
WitnessBackgroundStatementJamesA.Kowalski,Jr.
isanAV-ratedciviltrialattorneybased
in
Jacksonville,Florida,specializing
in
consumerprotectionlitigation,includingwrongfulforeclosureandconsumerfraud,complexpersonalinjury,wrongfuldeath,andpremisesliabilitylitigation.Mr.KowalskiislicensedtopracticelawinFloridaandCaliforniaandfocuses
on
litigation
in
thenortheastFloridaarea.Hehaslivedandworked
in
theJacksonvilleareasincemovingtoFloridafromNorthernCaliforniain1989,aftergraduatingfromtheUniversity
of
California,Berkeley,andtheUniversity
of
SanFranciscoSchool
of
Law.Mr.KowalskiservedasanAssistantStateAttorneyfrom1989-1996,actingasDivisionChief(CountyCourt;PublicCorruptionUnit)andSeniorTrialAttorney
in
theSpecialAssault/SexCrimesandROC(RepeatOffenderCourt)Divisions;hewasalsoamember
of
theon-callhomicideteam.AfterleavingtheStateAttorney'sOffice
in
1996,Mr.Kowalskihasspecializedinlitigationandhandledmattersinvolvingconsumerprotection,includingwrongfulforeclosureandconsumerfraud,complexpersonalinjury,wrongfuldeath,andpremisesliabilitylitigation.Heopenedhisownpracticeinlate2006.Mr.Kowalskihastaughtandwritteninthearea
of
crimevictimization,includingtheuse
of
victimimpacttestimonyindeathpenaltycases,andinthearea
of
consumerfraud,includingpresentations
on
mortgageforeclosurelitigation.Heisamember
of
theBarinFloridaandCalifornia,amember
ofNACA
(theNationalAssociation
of
ConsumerAdvocates)andtheFloridaJusticeAssociation.Mr.Kowalskiisacurrentmember
of
theChildProtectionTeam(CPT)AdvisoryCouncil,hasservedontheboard
of
CompassionateFamilies,Inc.,aJacksonvillenon-profitdedicatedtoassistingthefamilies
of
homicidevictims,andisthepastvice-chair
ofthe
Mayor's
Victim'sAssistanceAdvisoryCouncil(VAAC).Heisarecipient
of
theJacksonvilleLegalAidProBonoawardfor2006and2008,the
St.
JohnsCountyLegalAidProBonoawardfor2009,andtheFloridaBarPresident'sProBonoServiceAwardin2009,forservicerendered
in
theFourthJudicialCircuit.Mr.KowalskihasnotreceivedanyFederalgrantsnorhashereceivedanycompensationinconnectionwithhistestimony.
www.StopForeclosureFraud.com
 
Testimony
Thankyoufortheopportunitytopresenttestimonyonthecausesandeffects
of
theforeclosurecrisis.AsanattorneyhandlingconsumerlitigationcasesinFlorida,Ihavehadafront-rowseatformuch
of
thepastdecade,asFloridahasbeenparticularlyaffectedbytheoveralleconomiccrisis,withspecificharmcomingtothestate'scitizensintheform
of
overwhelminglyhighmortgageforeclosurerates.TheseremarksaredrawninpartfromtestimonyIprovidedinJuly2009totheFloridaSupremeCourtTaskForceonResidentialMortgageForeclosureCases,andfrompriorseminarsIhavetaughtinthisfield.Mytestimonyhasnotchangedbecausetheactions
of
themortgageservicingindustryhavenotchanged-foryears.Themanufacture
of
documentsincourt,theuse
of
robo-signers,thecompletelack
of
properdocumentationrequiredbythePoolingandServicingAgreements,theDCCandNewYorktrustlaw-all
of
thishasbeenstandardindustrypractice
for
most
of
the
past
decade.
First,letmemakeclearthatIamnotheretodemonizetheservicingindustryandtheirmilllawfirms.Idonotseethesecuritizedtrustsandtheirmilllawfirmsasdemons-Iseethem
as
anentirelynewlegalvehicleforseparatinghomeownersfromtheirhomes,withlittleornoresemblancetothenormalattorney-clientrelationshipwearefamiliarwith,andlittleornosystemizedreview
of
individualcases.Thesearenotourgrandfather'sbanks,andthelegalproductthathasbeenintroducedintoourstatecourtsystemsarenotlikeanythingwehaveseenbefore.Thesystemthathasbeeninplaceforyears,withthemillfirmsbeingmerelyanextension
of
contractorstotheservicingindustryforsecuritizedloans,representsafacialviolation
of
many
of
theethicalruleswhichgovernattorneys,includingRule4-2.1,RulesRegulatingtheFloridaBar,whichrequiresanattorneytoexercise"independentprofessionaljudgment."Pleadingsareroutinelydraftedbytheclient(theservicer,nottheplaintiff)withnolittleornomeaningfulreviewbytheattorney.Theseactionsareforced,inpart,bythetimingpressuresimposedbytheservicingindustry.
In
2004,FidelityNationalInformationServices,aJacksonville-basedcompanywhichprovidesmuch
of
thesoftwareinterfacetechnologyusedbymillfirmsandservicers,implementedan"AttorneyPerformanceReport"(APR).TheAPRisdesignedtorewardhigh-scoringattorneys,whoarerankedonthebasis
of
anumber
of
timingfactors.Thefasterthecaseisshovedthroughtheforeclosureprocess,thehigherthescore.Firmsarethencolorcodedas"greenlight","yellowlight"and"redlight,"withtheslower"redlight"firmsreceivinglessandlessbusiness.Thefocusonspeedispart
of
thebusinessmodelfortheservicers.Asthose
of
uswhohavelitigatedthesecasesforyearsnow,andasall
of
us
now
knowasaresult
of
therobo-signingscandals,most
ofthe
servicersuse"SigningOfficers"-rows
of
individualswhositbeforereams
of
documentspreparedbyothers,withnotevenamodestwinkatthebusinessrecordsexceptiontothehearsayrule,andwhosignthedocumentsonlyto
I
www.StopForeclosureFraud.com

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