Mark Stopa was my attorney – What do I Do?
I am getting a lot of calls from people like you – they are facing foreclosure or a sale date and literally had 0 contact with their attorney. They are just learning of the “Stopa Bankruptcy” or are getting official notices from the Bankruptcy Court. They weren’t told of the status of their cases. They weren’t told what they were facing. Some of them had a settlement entered into without them truly signing off on it. I’ve decided to give his (former?) clients a resource as to whats going on.
Stay in My Home, PA – what is it?
Stay in my Home, PA is a law firm founded out of the ashes of Stopa Law Firm. There was an attorney by the name of Mark Stopa – a stellar trial attorney – that was focused on litigating foreclosure cases. he helped (and potentially did not help) thousands of clients through this process. Plainly put he was a force. I will admit, I looked up to his courtroom skills. I’ll be honest, I considered Mark a mentor, someone I looked up to for his tenacity in the court room in my early years. In the foreclosure world, defense attorneys often forget that they are charged with zealously representing their clients. Despite external pressures from opposing counsels (and the decreasing amount of defenses found in this practice), he always (appeared to me) to have his clients voices heard.
The problem was, he didn’t have the best client contact methods in place (a frequent complaint) and may have manipulated some situations in his favor (remember, dear reader, innocent until proven guilty). In the end, he allegedly settled cases without clients consent. Failed to appear at hearings and trials without receiving the proper cancellations, etc. Because of these allegations, and others, Mark Stopa was suspended from the practice of law, on an emergency basis in July of 2018. He was given 30 days to “wind down” his practice. During this time, Mark Stopa partnered with Richard Mockler – an individual who tried to right the ship. What we know now is that this attempt was done in vain, the ship was too far of course to be corrected. It’s like, as Mr. Mockler put it, the titanic. The iceberg was simply too close.
Stay in My Home, PA/Stopa Bankruptcy
The firm eventually collapsed. Perhaps aided by a raid by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). In its own words, the FDLE raid was the tipping point. The firm noted that many key members of staff left, as well as some attorneys. Inevitably, this lead to a bankruptcy filing (for Stay in My Home/Stopa Law Firm), which is currently pending before Judge Colton in the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The bankruptcy trustee (i.e., the creditors) requested an automatic stay (read as injunction – something to stop future action) which was granted (heres the order). Effectively, most cases that had hired Mr. Stopa are stopped (except for current sales scheduled between October 11 – November 6) and at least one judge is requesting hearings to determine representation.
This Stay in My Home/Stopa Law bankruptcy has many repercussions; however, the most frequent questions I am seeing tend to fall into two camps:
What does this mean for me – New Clients
First, you’re probably getting a lot of mail because of the Stopa bankruptcy or the stay in my home bankruptcy. Those are advertisements. Generally, they are a form letter. It’s important to seek a case review from attorney’s that can move quickly and understand what is happening. Ideally, in this writers opinion, you will find a firm that does two things – litigates cases and offers loss mitigation. Most do not. The firm sees dollar signs in one (litigation) and does not have the technical proficiencies (or attention to detail) required to have any meaningful chance of turning a loan modification application into an affirmative cause of action aimed at achieving your goals (or, in some instances making a bank do something they literally guaranteed they would not do).
If you want an attorney like that – i’m available. I have made a reputation and being one of the last real foreclosure litgators left. But I don’t take every case, especially given the status of Mr. Stopa’s leftover case load. Whether its me or someone else, talk to an attorney as soon as possible. As a general rule (for those that are wondering) for every 1 Stopa case I take, I probably turn away 4.
What does this mean for me – Existing Clients
Again, you’re probably getting a lot of mail because of the stopa bankruptcy or the stay in my home bankruptcy. Those are advertisements. Generally, they are a form letter. It’s important to seek a case review from attorney’s that can move quickly and understand what is happening. Here’s the difference between you and a new client – your case is probably a few years older. You have a very different set of circumstances. Mr. Stopa was a very polarizing figure in the court room – I’ve seen him scold judges. This can hurt your case, there may be some sentiment of that following your case. A lot of judges are trying to clear the backlog of these cases (he apparently had over 3,000) as efficiently as possible. Older cases may very well get set for trial. Because of a bankruptcy stay, you have time (but not much). Act quickly
What does this mean for me – Foreclosure Sale scheduled.
Sadly, you may not have the benefit of the foreclosure stay. What this means is that you have to get creative with how you are going to deal with the bank. If you haven’t retained counsel, you probably want to think about it. A good thing here is that there are countless bank attorneys that are trying to help. If a sale is pending, or if you simply want to reach out to someone, I can say with certainty, most attorneys representing banks are wanting to bridge the gap. You are, after all, their client’s customers. Despite your situation, they’ll try to help if they can.
If you need any help here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can do this three ways: (1) call 813.502.6768, (2) e-mail me, or (3) set up a time online. If we can help, we’ll certainly try. This may mean referring you to competent counsel (such as a bankruptcy), but if we know of the right resource for you – we’ll try to point you too it.