Lawyer, others promise home loan modifications. Fraud. $96K. Orange County.

Summary

A lawyer, now disbarred, and his associates offer home loan modification services, but don't perform after taking plaintiffs' money.

The Case

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $96,056
  • Net Verdict or Award: $96,056
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 hours.
  • Jury Polls: Unanimous.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Total judgment amount including attorney's fees, interest and costs: $204,101.50

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Irvine Law Group LLP by Rod Bidgoli, Irvine.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Thaler Law by Jesse J. Thaler, Santa Ana.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    None.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    None.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    None.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    None.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiffs brought a lawsuit against defendants alleging that defendants illegally conspired to defraud plaintiffs by promising them mortgage modification services, but did not provide any services of value, and never intended to do so between the years of 2008 and 2011.

    Plaintiffs alleged that they each paid thousands of dollars to defendants for said home loan modification services. Plaintiffs filed suit for various causes of action including but not limited to: Fraud, Racketeering, Elder Abuse, Professional Negligence, Violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Charging Advance Fees for Mortgage Loan Modification, Violations of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiffs each paid thousands of dollars to defendants for home loan modification services, but received no services of any value. Plaintiffs claimed that the "Non-Profit" entities and law offices set up by the defendants were sham entities set up for the sole purpose of defrauding the public. Plaintiffs claimed approximately $30,000 in collective losses.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant Abad Vega denied all allegations as to 6/7 plaintiffs. Defendant Abad Vega admitted liability as to one plaintiff, but disputed the amount she demanded.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Plaintiffs lost the monies paid to defendants, and sustained emotional injuries as a result.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: "Out of pocket losses," no specific amount.
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $7500

Additional Notes

Defendants were part of at least 3 different companies which were originally named in this action, but then dismissed because they were defunct and plaintiffs were trying to get a default judgment.  Then the default judgment against one of the individuals, Jose Abad Vega, was set aside and plaintiffs went to trial only against that individual.  But since the other defendants already had default judgments against them, and there were joint and several liability allegations, the judge included the other defendants.

Defendant Gary Lee Lane was disbarred as a result of his involvement in this scam.

Per defense counsel:

In my opinion, settlement negotiations never got anywhere. Plaintiffs demanded "out of pocket losses" which was never concrete until jury award. I believe the offer cited as to Defendants was confidential and made in mediation. I do not think this section is appropriate.
 
Plaintiffs contended they were entitled to over $500,000, including punitive damages, RICO treble damages, etc.
 
Plaintiffs' requests for punitive damages and RICO treble damages were denied. The matter may be subject to appellate review.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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