JPMorgan Chase sues Ben-Ezra & Katz for return of foreclosure files
JPMorgan Chase Bank (JPM) filed suit against foreclosure law firm Ben-Ezra & Katz this week to compel the return of thousands of foreclosure documents. The documents outlined in the bank's case represent approximately $400 million in financial transactions, JPMorgan Chase alleged. Ben-Ezra says the firm has been responding to the plaintiff's request in good faith. "We are working to resolve the issues raised in the suit," the firm said Tuesday. "We do not believe at this point that the differences are insurmountable, and we are seeking to reach a satisfactory conclusion." JPMorgan Chase said in court records the bank terminated a foreclosure servicing agreement with Ben-Ezra on March 8, prompting JPMorgan to demand the return of all foreclosure filings and records tied to JPMorgan's cases. The bank claims Ben-Ezra has yet to return a large quantity of the documents, even after Chase "has made repeated demands to Ben-Ezra" to return the Chase files. In February, Ben-Ezra laid off 236 staff members after one of its major clients Fannie Mae announced it would pull its default servicing business from the Fort Lauderdale-based firm. The government-sponsored enterprise sent a notice to mortgage servicers earlier in the year, advising them to move all Fannie Mae matters to other firms. ??Four days later, Ben-Ezra & Katz announced a 41% staff reduction, cutting its employee base from 586 to 350 employees, according to Ray Casas, a spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale-based law firm. Write to Kerri Panchuk.