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Foreclosure-Gate: Silencing Foreclosure Abuse Critics By Suing Them

I suppose the latest efforts taken by the members of the foreclosure industry to silence and neuter critics represent a perverse form of progress. If you go by the Ghandi timeline, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win,” opponents of bad foreclosure practices seem to have done enough damage as to now be worth fighting. But what is telling are the desperate-looking but nevertheless potentially effective measures being deployed to hamstring the opposition. The vanguard of this effort are foreclosure defense attorneys, many of whom are solo or small firm operators, with not hugely lucrative practices or doing pro bono work (you don’t make a lot of money defending people who have no money). Suing someone like that, even with a suit that seems spurious, throws a wrench in their operation. It takes time to deal with litigation, and often money, plus the stress is also a considerable distraction. And of course, the hope is no doubt that this sort of risk will also deter other lawyers and critics. The first example is a lawsuit filed by National Title against Matthew Weidner, a Florida attorney who blogs about foreclosure fraud. The suit charges him with slander and libel. As most readers no doubt know, in the US, slander and libel are false and malicious statements that damage the reputation of the subject. Thus the most effective defense in a slander or libel case is to establish that the remarks made were accurate (note that remarks that are narrowly accurate but misleading can be deemed to be slanderous). The cause celebre is that Weidner included a four-part YouTube video of a deposition of Crystal Moore, a robo signer at National Title, and also provided some commentary about the video in his post.

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