Foreclosures

I again want to sincerely apologize for the inappropriate costumes worn by some of our employees at our Halloween Party in 2010. It was in extremely poor taste and I take full responsibility. I know people were extremely offended and people have every right to be upset with me and my firm.

Steven J. Baum, principal of Buffalo’s premier “foreclosure mill,” issuing an apology via email for his firm’s distasteful 2010 Halloween party.

Allegedly offensive Halloween costume

I thought the rule for Halloween costumes was “don’t dress like Hitler.” But apparently you are also supposed to wear costumes that are nice and compassionate — or else you might be smacked around in the New York Times.

(We won’t smack you around. Please send in Halloween pics, and you might win a t-shirt.)

Over the weekend, you might have seen the Times story on the Stephen J. Baum law firm. As the largest so-called “foreclosure mill” in New York state, representing banks that kick people out of their homes, it’s not the kind of place that receives hugs and kisses from the community. Which is fine; lawyers there are paid for their work.

Every year the Baum firm hosts a huge Halloween party. Last year, employees reportedly dressed up like the some of the people who lose their homes during the course of Baum’s foreclosure business.

Some people are outraged that foreclosure lawyers don’t have “compassion” for their adversaries….

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Burt Reynolds

* I know we’re a little tight for money, but we should find some money in the budget to make sure faded American stars are bailed out of the housing crisis, just like the banks were. [Monsters & Critics]

* Illinois’s redrawn legislative districts draw legal fire. I have an idea: let’s use Illinois as a laboratory for direct sponsorship of Congressional seats. I recognize the distinguished gentleman from Pizza Hut. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If anybody at Citi would like to sue for stress due to the fire drill there today, there are a bunch of out-of-work lawyers who would love to help you. [Dealbreaker]

* Prosecuting your own stalker: it’s a good story. This being the most I’ve read in a Marie Claire, however, I need to go hunt something and eat its liver to rebalance my hormones. [Marie Claire]

Stephen Mark McDaniel

* Here’s a chatwrap with Amy Leigh Womack and Joe Kovac, two reporters who have been covering the Stephen McDaniel / Lauren Giddings case down in Macon. The last time I remember Macon being this relevant to my day-to-day life, John Rocker was involved. [Macon Telegraph]

* Having to purchase legal services from a Wal-Mart that looks like a Neiman Marcus is probably something that happens in Hell. But it can’t be much worse that having to buy your clothes in a place where you buy your food. [An Associate's Mind]

* Lady lawyers: looking for a way to spend that spring bonus or partnership draw? Here are ten handbags that cost five figures. [Fashionista]

* Sorry Wisconsin, but Judge Sumi’s going on vacation, so you can take your bargaining rights and stick ‘em where the sun don’t shine. Man, I hope she’s going to a place where the sun does shine. [Wisconsin State Journal]

* An NBA referee is suing a sportswriter over a tweet made during a Timberwolves/Rockets game. Seriously? You can’t call a foul just because someone hurt your feelings. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

* Quinnipiac Law: where being convicted of fraud is a pre-req for employment as the registrar. I guess they must have a work from home option, since Mary Ellen Durso is under house arrest. [Hartford Courant]

* Should all buildings that were damaged in the September 11th attacks be declared landmarks? Probably not — after all, Century 21 was damaged, and that’s just a landmark for crappy couture. [Reuters]

Capturing Somali pirates.

* Arr, me matey. Five Somali pirates were forced to walk the plank. Okay, not really, but it was the first time in 190 years that a U.S. jury convicted a defendant of the peg-legged kind of piracy. [CNN Justice]

* Because common sense is hard for some lawyers, you probably shouldn’t advise your clients to break into their foreclosed homes. You probably shouldn’t break in on their behalf, either. [ABA Journal]

* William J. Stuntz, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, R.I.P. [Harvard Law School]

* Criminals and foreclosure victims subject to criminal mortgage rates now have something in common in New York: guaranteed legal representation. [New York Times]

* Not getting your fill of Broadway injuries from Spider-Man? Then Billy Elliot’s got a deal for you — tickets now come with a complimentary face smash worth $4M. [New York Post]

* Dumb kids are going to continue to eat Play-Doh, no matter how it’s spelled. And trust me, “play dough,” edible or not, doesn’t taste good. [Boston Globe]

* You’d think that the government could do better than just saying “this stuff happens” when it comes to rape and gangbangs in the military. [MSNBC]

* Facebook: connecting you with the people around you. It’s just too bad that they sometimes bleed to death in the process. [Chicago Tribune]

* If libeling the police was a crime in the United States, a lot of more rappers would probably be in jail — or out of business. [CNN]

* Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Costner are fighting about water clean-up technology for oil spills. Um, hello, dude was in Waterworld, I think he knows his sh*t about water. [The Hill]

* I’m just a girl, but don’t speak, I know just what you’re saying. There is no doubt that this video game lawsuit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. [Company Town / Los Angeles Times]

David J. Stern

* A Florida lawyer says he’s a psychic who can commune with the dead. Maybe he’ll be having a chat with his legal career soon. [WFTV Orlando]

* How can crazy cabbies avoid lawsuits from crazier passengers in New York? “Cabs shouldn’t pick up women.” Duh. [New York Daily News]

* Obamacare might be dead to Virginia and Wisconsin, but it’s still alive and kicking in their state budgets. [Bloomberg]

* Lawyers say that the drug Requip turned a man with Parkinson’s into a gay sex addict. [Healthland / Time]

* What do you get when you bet on the foreclosure boom caused by your own company’s alleged fraud? Fifty-cent stock shares. Have fun with that, David J. Stern. [New York Times]

* Scheiße! A German porn company was forced to drop a lawsuit against creepers who downloaded “The Good Uncle.” Ugh, I don’t even want to know what kind of porn that is. [Digital Media Wire]

* A personal injury firm is trying to stop people from slipping and falling. They may want to reevaluate their marketing campaign. [Proof and Hearsay / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

The record in such cases, although voluminous, often fails to precisely reflect the relationships between the parties and to include the documents (particularly with respect to who owns the loan) that are necessary to evaluate the claims. Such failures are a disservice to both the parties and the court, and, in other circumstances, may undermine a party’s claim or defense. Were I forced to delve fully into the merits of this case, I am not certain that it would be possible to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

— Chief Judge Joseph Goodwin (S.D.W.Va.), writing about recent cases involving the home loan industry, in Delebreau v. Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC.

* In the new economy, new strategies are necessary in hiring law firms. A new paradigm is upon us and we must think outside the box. Synergy, people. Consultants are here to help. [New York Times]

* David J. Stern, Florida’s Foreclosure King, is the gift that keeps on giving. Like syphilis. [Palm Beach Post]

* On Tuesday, Paul Allen revised his patent suit against… well, pretty much the internets. Gotta pay the troll toll. [Reuters]

* U.S. prosecutors arrested a California woman yesterday on insider trading charges. Immediately after the charges were filed, Michael Douglas’s ex-wife sued the woman for royalties. [CNET]

* A Los Angeles law firm, Glancy Binkow & Goldberg, is being sued for maintaining a hostile work environment and being generally pervy. The article raises several important questions. None more important than this: What the hell is a bikini bar? [Los Angeles Times]

* A primer on Bill Richardson’s possible pardon of Billy the Kid. Emilio Estevez hasn’t been this stoked since the Men at Work premiere party. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Vernon, a small town in California, has hired Latham & Watkins in an effort to save its status as a city. Pretty fascinating read. [Los Angeles Times]

* A former Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, was convicted of rape. [Bloomberg]

* And finally, what about Brett Farv…ra? Out $50,000. And he may face future litigation over those harmless Croc shots. [New York Daily News]

Until recently, foreclosure defense would have been considered the lowest of the low — below the divorce guys, below ambulance chasers.

Roy Oppenheim, a veteran foreclosure defense lawyer in Florida.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Randy Quaid, notable character actor of questionable talent, is on the run. The star is apparently seeking asylum in Canada. He and his wife Evi skipped out on a California court date for allegedly squatting in their former house.

Apparently the Quaids are afraid that more than a court date is waiting for them in the U.S. According to published reports, Randy and Evi believe they are on the “hit list” of a group of “Hollywood star whackers” who are also responsible for the deaths of Heath Ledger and David Carradine.

I don’t know — the Joker, Kill Bill, and Russell Casse? Who doesn’t belong on that list?

In event, you have to check out the handwritten note the Quaids’ lawyer showed in court…

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