Our firm and Dagney Johnson-Walker, a Birmingham lawyer, have filed suit on behalf of the City of Birmingham against various sub-prime lenders including Wells Fargo and Countrywide. The companies violated the Fair Housing Act by participating in illegal predatory lending practices in the City of Birmingham. The lenders also violated state laws and have profited greatly by their wrongdoing.
The Birmingham City Council unanimously passed a resolution earlier this year authorizing the suit to be filed against the sub-prime mortgage lenders. The complaint filed alleges that as a result of the predatory practices of these lenders against many Birmingham residents, the City of Birmingham has lost tax revenue due to the high rate of foreclosures in the City. The excessive foreclosures have also caused the City to spend additional taxpayer funds maintaining abandoned properties, demolishing abandoned buildings, on increased abatement costs and on increased police and fire protection expenses due to increased crime rates in areas hardest hit by sub-prime foreclosures.
The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama and seeks compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief against the lenders to stop their predatory lending practices. The City of Birmingham and its citizens have been hurt because of the wrongful conduct of these predatory lenders. The goal of this lawsuit is to make the Defendants pay for their wrongdoing. Their conduct is not only unlawful, it’s immoral. The case was removed to federal court by the Defendants, but it was promptly remanded to state court where it is now pending. I, along with Jay Aughtman from our firm and Ms. Johnson-Walker, will try the case for the City.
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