In 2010, financial institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to be hit with a large number of lawsuits. At least 114 lawsuits were filed against them in January in Bay Area courts alone. (Federal courts for Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco, and state courts for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco and Sonoma Counties.) This is well in line with 119 filings in the same locations in December, 2009.

Of the 114 January lawsuits, the majority (49) accused financial institutions of wrongful foreclosure. The next most common type of filing (25) was for violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) or other forms of predatory lending. Financial institutions also saw an increase in employment claims (7), including claims for age, race, sex and disability discrimination, and violation of overtime, meal and rest break statutes. One lawsuit accused a bank of creating and managing sham tax shelters, while other lawsuits alleged claims for breach of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), eminent domain and fraud. January also saw a particular increase in the number of lawsuits accusing financial institutions of improperly refusing to grant loan modifications.

Claimants seem now to be developing even more aggressive kinds of theories, including one lawsuit accusing a bank of nuisance. The plaintiffs in that case alleged that their own home decreased in value due to the deteriorating condition of their neighbor’s home, and they sued the neighbor’s bank for allegedly failing to enforce mortgage requirements that the neighbor make necessary repairs.

Cooper’s Financial Crisis Group offers expertise in handling the issues being raised in the nation’s current housing, finance, banking, and real estate industry turmoil. Staffed by attorneys who are fully experienced in transactional and regulatory counseling, jury trials and complex litigation, bankruptcy, banking, and publicly traded securities, the Group stands ready to assist a wide variety of clients during these difficult times. Immediately responsive and pursuing aggressive action plans, we have consistently produced highly successful results. For further information, please contact Jill Rowe. (415) 433-1900.