PALM BEACH, Fla. — More than a year before lenders, law firms and document companies began owning up to widespread paperwork problems with their foreclosure filings, Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman already knew that something was wrong — very wrong.
Redman, a former online automobile consultant, got his first taste of the problem in early 2008, when he tried to help a relative who was facing foreclosure.
As he tried to determine which of three or four supposed lenders held the note, Redman, 35, realized that not only did he not know the answer, neither did any of the companies that were asking for payment.
Epstein, a nurse who cares for cancer patients, also is going through foreclosure. She got her baptism in the world of shoddy foreclosure paperwork in the summer of 2009, however, when she tried to help a brain tumor patient keep her home.
Epstein helped draft a letter challenging the foreclosure because, as in Redman's case, it was unclear from court papers who owned the home's mortgage.
After arriving at the summary judgment hearing in her nurse's uniform, an emotional Epstein, 45, watched as the ill woman read their letter aloud in court. When the opposing attorneys never showed, the judge refused to finalize the foreclosure. The woman remains in her home as the legal wrangling continues.
For Epstein, who often helped her patients navigate disputes with their health insurance companies, the role of advocate wasn't new — but the thrill of a courtroom victory was.
"It was like something struck inside me, like this is what I'm compelled to do.
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