Ben-Ezra secures favorable ruling in JPMorgan Chase court fight
JPMorgan Chase Bank (JPM) failed in its attempt to get a temporary restraining order or an injunction against Ben-Ezra & Katz foreclosure law firm this week. This is the second time in two weeks that Ben-Ezra — which was terminated from its role in handling JPMorgan Chase foreclosure cases — has pushed back against the mortgage servicer on post-termination issues and managed to secure a favorable decision. A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase could not be immediately reached for comment. In the latest motion filed by JPMorgan Chase, the lender accused Ben-Ezra & Katz of unilaterally withdrawing foreclosure cases from courts and canceling motion hearings before substitute counsel could be deployed by the bank after it terminated Ben-Ezra & Katz's contract. According to the suit the, "plaintiffs (JPMorgan) alleged the defendant’s actions are a breach of the parties’ agreement that will cause plaintiffs irreparable harm, in that defendant is supposed to provide transition services under the agreement." JPMorgan Chase also alleged in the complaint that "the agreement states that during the transition period (which the parties are now in, more than 30 days having passed since the termination notice), defendant (Ben-Ezra) will perform such other services as mutually agreed to by the parties as are necessary to enable plaintiffs to obtain from another [attorney] . . . services to substitute or replace." Ben-Ezra, on the other hand, alleged the bank failed to provide instructions on how to transition the cases to the bank's new attorneys and cited a Florida Bar rule that reads "a lawyer shall withdraw from representation of a client if the lawyer is discharged." The firm alleged it handled the process in good faith and should not be required to handle cases as a terminated party after the 30-day grace period. The court held that JPMorgan Chase did not meet its burden to "show that irreparable harm will occur if the requested injunction is not entered." In addition, the ruling says "the Anti-Injunction Act precludes the relief sought by plaintiffs, as such an injunction would hamstring a state court that wished to move forward on any of the thousands of pending foreclosure actions." Instead, the United States District Court of Southern Florida said it would craft a resolution to help both parties move forward. Write to Kerri Panchuk.