Gallagher & Associates Team

Gallagher & Associates Team

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gallagher & Associates Law Firm - Blogged

Friday, June 3, 2011

Top 10 Tips to Mortgage Modification Success -

Top 10 Tips to Mortgage Modification Success -

Can I legally make my mortgage company stop sending "inspectors" out every month? -

Can I legally make my mortgage company stop sending "inspectors" out every month? -

G&A Team Profile

Allison Wallrapp has recenly joined G&A as a law clerk. Allison is a current student at Stetson University College of Law. She was previously employed with a large statewide foreclosure law firm in Tampa.

Ms. Wallrapp graduated summa cum laude from Rollins College where she was President of the student body. Ms. Wallrapp is a member of St. Petersburg Bar Association and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Allison focuses on foreclosure litigation, consumer law, real estate & insurance law and business litigation.

G&A News & Notes

*Charles Gallagher was featured on Fox 13 to discuss the pending mortgage fraud settlement among all attorneys general. Fox 13

*Gallagher & Associatioes was proud to sponsor the Suncoast PBA's football game at Al Lang Stadium. The game was a benefit and fund raiser for the fallen St. Petersburg Police officers.

*Charles Gallagher authored, "Fla. Stat. 57.105 Attorneys Fees, To the Victor go the Spolis...Or do they?" in the May 2011 Paraclete.

*Ashley Elmore Drew served as the Chair for the St. Petersburg Bar's "Meet the Judges Lunch" held at the Pinellas County Courthouse.

*Gallagher & Associates was proud to sponsor the St. Petersburg Bar's Meet the Judges Lunch.

Florida Insurance Law Legislative Update

Despite public opposition, Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 408, which drastically changes property insurance for all citizens. Sen. Mike Fasano and other consumer advocates fought against the legislation as too insurer friendly. The bill includes the following changes:

·Expanding exclusions from losses covered by the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to include losses caused by perils other than a covered event, such as fire, theft, flood or rising water, as well as amounts paid for waivers of deductibles and bad faith awards.

·Limiting public adjuster compensation for reopened or supplemental claims to 20 percent of the claim payment and requiring additional disclosures.

·Requires that all sinkhole be filed within two years of the date of loss.

·Requiring insurers to provide two replacement cost coverage options for payment of personal property insurance claims.

·Requiring a policyholder to file windstorm and hurricane claims within three years

Parts of the bill that failed included provisions that would permit carriers to raise rates without state oversight and approval.

New York Attorney General Investigation

New York's Attorney General has requested information and documents from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses. The requests were directed to Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Several civil suits have been filed by federal and state regulators since the financial crisis erupted in 2008, some of which have generated settlements and fines, most prominently a $550 million deal between Goldman Sachs and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But even more questions have been raised in private lawsuits filed against the banks by investors and others who say they were victimized by questionable securitization practices. Some litigants have contended, for example, that the banks dumped loans they knew to be troubled into securities and then misled investors about the quality of those underlying mortgages when selling the investments.

The possibility has also been raised that the banks did not disclose to mortgage insurers the risks in the instruments they were agreeing to insure against default. Another potential area of inquiry - the billions of dollars in credit extended by Wall Street to aggressive mortgage lenders that allowed them to continue making questionable loans far longer than they otherwise could have done.

Officials at Bank of America and Goldman Sachs declined to comment about the investigation; Morgan Stanley did not respond to a request for comment.

During the mortgage boom, Wall Street firms bundled hundreds of billions of dollars in home loans into securities that they sold profitably to investors. After the real estate bubble burst, the perception took hold that the securitization process as performed by the major investment banks contributed to the losses generated in the crisis.

Critics contend that Wall Street's securitization machine masked the existence of risky home loans and encouraged reckless lending because pooling the loans and selling them off allowed many participants to avoid responsibility for the losses that followed.

AT&T Sued for Ipad/Iphone Billing

AT&T is being sued for systematically overcharging its iPhone and iPad customers for data transactions, primarily small charges which amount to millions of dollars in revenue for the wireless carrier.

"AT&T's billing system for iPhone and iPad data transactions is like a rigged gas pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car's tank," the suit alleged. "AT&T's bills systematically overstate the amount of data used on each data transaction involving an iPhone or iPad account.

According to the federal class-action suit, an independent consulting firm hired by plaintiff conducted a two-month study of AT&T's data usage billing practices, and discovered the carrier systematically overstated web server traffic by 7% to 14% -- and in some cases by more than 300%

As a result, an iPhone user who downloads a 50 KB website will typically be billed for 53.5 KB (a 7% price hike) to as much as 150 KB (a 300% overcharge). The suit also accuses AT&T of billing customers for non-use. "It gets worse," the suit charges. "Not only does AT&T systematically overbill for every data transaction, it also bills for phantom data traffic when there is no actual data usage initiated by the customer."

This claim was based on findings from the consulting firm, which purchased an iPhone from an AT&T store, closed all applications, disabled all notifications and services, deactivated the email and left it alone for 10 days.

"During this 10-day period, AT&T billed the test account for 35 data transactions totaling 2,292 KB of usage," the suit claims. "This is like the rigged gas pump charging you when you never even pulled your car into the station." Other tests by the consulting firm also purportedly showed that AT&T's billing system fails to accurately record the time and date of data usage, making it difficult for customers to track their usage and take advantage of their full allotment.

Although AT&T's alleged overcharges per customer are "modest," the suit says, the effect on AT&T's bottom line is "huge." AT&T has 92.8 million customers, and for the fourth quarter of 2010, reported a wireless data revenue increase of $1.1 billion, or 27.4%, from a year earlier. A "significant portion" of those revenues, the suit says, resulted from AT&T's "rigged billing system" for iPhone and iPad data usage.