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Improper Notarizations, Foreclosure Misconduct Drive Lawsuits Against Mortgage Industry To Record Levels

The number of lawsuits filed against mortgage lenders, servicers and other companies in the industry hit a record high in the third quarter of 2011, according to the most recent release of the Mortgage Litigation Index. Litigation over improper notarizations and other misconduct related to the foreclosure crisis is the number one contributor to the surge in court cases, according to the report.

The Index, which is produced by and Washington, D.C.-based law firm Patton Boggs LLP, counted 218 lawsuits in the third quarter, a 15 percent increase from the second quarter and a 44 percent jump over the same period last year.

Ninety cases stemmed from foreclosure-related claims. That represents a 34 percent spike from the previous quarter and more than a fourfold increase from the previous year.

The “robo-signing” crisis has exposed a range of improper practices that stemmed in part from a lack of education and understanding about the role and responsibilities of Notaries in the workplace — on both the part of Notaries and theiremployers.

In recent months, several states have passed legislation geared toward holding companies, managers and Notary employees more accountable for their individual actions.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

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