Steady Stream of Lawyers Pour Out of Woodwork to Offer Help in Challenge of Colorado Foreclosure Law

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More than a dozen lawyers have surfaced with offers to help an Aurora woman in her constitutional challenge of Colorado’s foreclosure laws, a case she has battled on her own for about two years.

After a federal judge’s temporary injunction Monday that looks to take on whether homeowners facing foreclosure are treated unfairly, Lisa Kay Brumfiel said her solo plight is finding new followers.

“There’s just been a steady stream of them,” the 43-year-old part-time saleswoman said of the attorneys offering to take on her case for free.

She says she’s not bitter that they weren’t there to help her before — “Everyone wanted to be paid, but you’re facing foreclosure because you can’t even meet your house payments,” she said — and hopes she can have a team of them take on Colorado’s foreclosure process.

U.S. District Judge William Martinez issued an interim preliminary injunction stopping the foreclosure auction of Brumfiel’s four-bedroom house, saying she had prevailed enough to challenge the constitutionality of state law.

That law allows a lender to foreclose with only the signature of its lawyer saying it has the right to do so. That happens with only a photocopy of the mortgage — which in Colorado is called a note — not the original or even a certified copy, and the lender doesn’t have to prove it owns the note.

Brumfiel said that lawyer’s signature, called a statement of qualified holder, violates her constitutional rights to due process under the 14th Amendment. The bank should be required to provide proof that it owns the note and the right to foreclose, she said, not just possess a copy.

“This theory of ‘show me the note’ has been tried in many courts without success, but Colorado law is unique in that a lawyer’s signature is simply good enough,” said Keith Gantenbein, an attorney who has offered to help Brumfiel. “This is an extremely important chance to change a very bad law.”

Martinez set a hearing for May 15 to take on the issue.

Said Brumfiel: “I find it mildly amusing (the lawyers) show up now, but I’m grateful the table is turning and they’re interested.”

 

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