Gerald (Jerry) Solomon
Clients are people with problems, not cases with a case number. Therefore:
- You want a dialogue with your attorney.
- You want comfortable communications with your attorney so that the attorney gets to know you, your case and all of the circumstances surrounding your case.
- You want a dialog with your attorney so that you can follow your case, know strategies, and what to expect.
- You want honesty from your attorney. If I do not know an answer to your question, I will say so, and then look it up.
My primary motivation in going to law school came from my attorney who represented me in a child custody case. He gave me no guidance, did not develop a rapport with me, barely knew my case, and had a good relationship with nobody. He won cases with a set formula regardless of the facts in the case. I started law school with the goal of doing everything that he lacked.
Howard University School of Law, located in Washington, D.C., was known for its constitutional law program. Howard was the center of legal battles in the civil rights movement. I was interested in the legal disparity between men and women in a divorce.
I worked harder at Howard than anywhere in my life and graduated magna cum laude, first my class. The honor was mine, but the credit goes to a loving family.Working Your Way Through the System
In addition to developing a rapport with your client, practicing law forces your lawyer to communicate with:
- Opposing counsel and the people in opposing counsel’s office
- Potential friendly and hostile witnesses
- Experts that may be called as witnesses, and
- The court, including law clerks, secretaries, and judges.
There are two types of issues that arise in litigation: the ultimate issue – the reason you are in court; and issues that arise during the course of litigation. The course of litigation issues can be resolved or narrowed by cooperative counsel.The Cases That I Handle Foreclosure Defense
In 2009 America was in the mist of the Great Recession. One in forty-five homes were in foreclosure nationwide. The top four foreclosure states were California, Nevada, Florida, and Maryland. However, a significant part of the mid-west had a low foreclosure rate, while the certain counties in Florida had foreclosure of one out of every five homes.
In early 2009, President Obama initiated the Making Homes Affordable program (“MHA”) Under MHA, lenders were to reduce your monthly PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) to 31% of the homeowners’ gross monthly program. MHA achieved this goal by lowering interest to as low as 2%, extending the loan, putting part of the loan due at the back end, and forgiveness of part of the arrearage.
To complicate matters, many judges were hostile toward the homeowner. One judge typically said, “I pay my mortgage, he can too.” Banks were submitting mortgage notes that were not endorsed, and therefore the bank could not foreclose. Judges ignored these defects and kicked the families out of their home. Banks submitted forged documents as well as creating documents that they lost. Banks claimed that homeowners never submitted certain documents. Of course, judges believed the banks.
Today we are dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are sailing on unchartered waters. Many bank and servicer employees were working from home. Communications were difficult and mistakes were made. You will see a vast number of foreclosure cases filed in the near future.Consumer Protection
All of the consumer protection laws were enacted to protect the consumer. These laws resulted from prior bad banking practices. Have you ever heard of a banking protection act? I only know of one.
Many consumer protection cases come without significant damages. If your servicer did not respond to a Qualified Written Request within the time period, what are the damages? What will it cost you to proceed in dollars and cents as well as the emotional cost? Who is the judge? You will not know until filed, but the judge is a major factor in determining the outcome.
Are you an attractive plaintiff? If you haven’t paid your mortgage in five years, then the answer is probably no. Any jury will most probably consist of jurors who have paid their mortgage. The judges most probably paid their mortgage. Why should they give you a break if all you want is a free ride?
Contrast this with the couple who tried their hardest, depleted their savings, asked for modifications, and were turned town after the bank said that the homeowners failed to provide when you have evidence that the bank was not telling the truth.Wrongful Eviction
In general, a party claiming the right to possession of residential property must have a writ of possession issued by a court and executed by a sheriff. The bolded, italicized, and highlighted words have legal meaning. For now, the general rule is that the evicting party must first obtain a writ of possession (order of a court). After obtaining that writ of possession, only the sheriff can evict. So, if five men show up in a pickup truck titled “Two Mules and a Mug,” call the police.
There is an exception to the Two Mules and a Mug rule. If a party claims the right to possession of residential property makes a reasonable inquiry and as a result thereof, reasonably believes that the property is not occupied, provides notice that they are going to evict and receives no response to the notice, that party can use self-help.
To recap, evictions must be done through a court order (writ of possession), and only by a sheriff. However, if the property is abandoned, the evicting party makes reasonable inquiry and reasonably believes that the property is abandoned, may use self-help to evict but only if the evicting party gives notice and the party in possession does not respond to the notice.
Maryland law protects the tenant not only from wrongful evictions, but threats of eviction, including locking you out, cutting off vital services such as electric, gas, or simply posting or winning an auction at a foreclosure sale and immediately demands that you vacate, you would be covered under the law and be able to sue for damages.Civil Litigation
Civil litigation is like a jigsaw puzzle. It could contain five pieces, or twenty-thousand pieces. The five-piece puzzle could be constructed by a four-year old at the kitchen table. A five-thousand-piece puzzle could be constructed on a card table. The twenty-thousand-piece puzzle could only be constructed on a felt surface.
You could start by separating all of the corner pieces and find all of the straight edge pieces so that you could make a frame and fill in from there. But what happens if the twenty-thousand-piece puzzle is not square, but oblong? To further complicate matters, you have three helpers and must be done within a specific period.
This is civil litigation. You look at the box cover to determine where you want to be. Likewise, in civil litigation you should determine your goals, your objectives. Do you want your helpers doing the same tasks, or would it be more efficient to have one start gathering the pieces into groups, such as the frame, blue for the sky, blue for the water, multi colors for the reef?
Foreclosure defense, consumer protection, and wrongful eviction are all components of civil litigation.
J.D., Howard University, 1982
Magna Cum Laude
B.A., Penn State University, 1969
Business Administration - accounting
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2003
United States Court of Appeals, 2005
US District Court for the District of Maryland, 1983
Palm Beach Bar Association
Member Since: 2009
Prince George’s County Bar Association
Member Since: 1982
- American Jurisprudence Award 1980 Business Organizations
- American Jurisprudence Award 1981 Corporations
- American Jurisprudence Award 1981 Federal Jurisdiction
- American Jurisprudence Award 1982 Conflict of Laws
- American Jurisprudence Award Family Law Year 1982