Elizabeth Howard
Elizabeth Howard

Working pro bono, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP notched a victory recently when Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Peter H. Kirwan entered a default judgment for just under $1 million against four participants in an alleged loan modification fraud scheme. The judge also allowed the case to proceed as a class action.

“We are delighted with the prospect that we may soon be able to bring some relief to our clients,” said Orrick partner Elizabeth Howard in a statement. “We are looking forward to our day in court to prove our case of fraud against the rest of the defendants.”

According to the firm, the complaint in the case alleges that the class of approximately 250 California homeowners had entered into contracts for loan modification services with the defendants, paid upfront fees of between approximately $3,000 and $5,000 per property for these services and then were not provided with the promised loan modification services. The complaint alleges that the defendants promised refunds to anyone who didn’t get a loan modification, but then refused to give those refunds to homeowners whose loan modifications didn’t come through. The complaint alleges that many class members negotiated primarily with the defendants in Spanish but did not receive a translation of the written agreements as required by California law. As a result of this alleged loan modification fraud, the victims lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law are also working with Orrick to represent the plaintiffs.

Howard, who has a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley, co-chairs Orrick’s life sciences practice. She focuses on patent infringement litigation, with an emphasis on the life sciences. Her practice also includes trade secrets disputes and handling anti-counterfeiting matters in the pharmaceutical industry.