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Florida Bar files complaint against David J. Stern over MERS case

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The Florida Bar filed a complaint against foreclosure attorney David J. Stern Friday afternoon for allegedly violating the bar's rules by failing to produce documents as ordered by the court in February. One of the stated rules Stern allegedly broke: "A lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists," the filing states. The complaint is asking for an investigation to find out why Stern did not file the documents, and is asking for disciplinary action. The document does not suggest what that action should be if Stern is found culpable. At the beginning of the year, the Law Offices of David J. Stern represented SunTrust Bank in a lawsuit against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, according to the complaint. The Florida district court issued Stern's firm an "order to show cause" on Feb. 16, which asked him to prove why sanctions should not be entered against him after he neglected to file certain documents "in a timely manner." Stern allegedly ignored this order, the complaint said. "Respondent failed to produce the documents and has otherwise failed to respond," the complaint said. On March 14, the issue was referred to the Florida Bar to figure out why Stern did not abide by the order. Stern attained a mountain of litigation against him and his firm during that period, as investigations into the robo-signing scandal were well underway. Stern lost Freddie Mac's business in November 2010 over foreclosure documentation issues, and lost Fannie Mae's shortly thereafter. On February 25, the Florida Attorney General launched an investigation into several real estate law firms across the state, including Stern's. In March, the Plantation, Fla.-based company ceased foreclosure work and stopped trading on the Nasdaq. Stern's attorney Jeff Tew told The Palm Beach Post his client was fired from SunTrust in mid-December 2010, before the Feb. 16 order was issued. Tew also said it was possible Stern missed the notice among 10,000 pieces of incoming mail everyday. Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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