Wells Fargo `Robo-Signer' Draws Dismissal Motion in Maryland

A Maryland homeowner asked a court to dismiss any Wells Fargo & Co. foreclosure actions in the state that involve affidavits given by a bank employee who said she signed documents without completely checking their accuracy.

Susan Saidman asked a Montgomery County court to recognize as a class all defendants in Maryland cases with foreclosure papers signed by Xee Moua for Wells Fargo. In a March deposition in a Florida case, Moua said she didn’t verify all the information in filings she signed, sometimes processing as many as 500 in two hours.

To permit “foreclosure actions to proceed based upon these false and fraudulent papers would be to accept dishonest and bogus behavior in Maryland courts,” Saidman said in a motion filed Oct. 29. “Such a result would be an assault on the rule of law.”

Saidman raised the defense against members of Shapiro & Burson LLP, a law firm that she said brings foreclosure actions on behalf of Wells Fargo and other secured lenders. The law firm couldn’t be reached by telephone yesterday after regular business hours.

Wells Fargo, the biggest U.S. home lender, said last week that it will file supplemental foreclosure affidavits to courts in about 55,000 proceedings after finding some statements “did not strictly adhere to the required procedures.” The San Francisco-based bank has said it chose to resubmit the documents out of “an abundance of caution” and that none of “these instances led to foreclosures which should not have otherwise occurred.”

Ohio Attorney General

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray last week asked judges in his state for copies of foreclosure affidavits filed in their courts and signed by Moua. He sent a separate letter to Wells Fargo asking the bank to vacate any foreclosure judgment in Ohio involving incorrect affidavits.

Marysville, Ohio, homeowner Ann Piwinksi brought a suit yesterday accusing Wells Fargo of violating the state’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, according to court filings. Hers is the first civil case in the state against Wells Fargo involving the use of so-called robo-signers, according to her lawyer, John Sherrod of Dublin, Ohio.

Piwinski said documents in her foreclosure case were signed by China Brown, Moua’s supervisor. She’s seeking civil penalties and punitive damages.

“Without seeing the specific information, it would not be appropriate to provide a response on pending litigation,” Vickee Adams, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said yesterday.

“We believe we have designed an appropriate process intended to insure the quality of customer and loan data in foreclosure proceedings,” she said.

The Maryland case is Burson v. Saidman, 323096V, Circuit Court, Montgomery County (Rockville); the Ohio case is Piwinski v. Wells Fargo Bank, 2010-CV-1373, Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas (Lancaster).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Riley in Washington at michaelriley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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