A New Jersey foreclosure firm, which appears to be closing, has been accused of refusing to pay advertising fees for foreclosure notices since January, racking up debts in the six figures.
Mansfield Advertising is suing the Udren Law Offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, for more than $139,000 in unpaid legal advertising fees. Udren Law represents lenders and mortgage servicers on real estate matters in Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to its website.
In its complaint, Mansfield claimed that Udren Law has said it is in the process of winding down, “and thus cannot provide guidance as to when, or if, it will pay the invoices.”
Mark Udren did not respond to requests for comment about the complaint and his firm’s closure. An employee reached at Udren Law’s main number confirmed that the firm is in the process of winding down, but gave no additional details.
Mansfield, which is based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, attached the 86 unpaid invoices, all dated between Jan. 26 and Aug. 20 of this year, to its complaint. The plaintiff lists fees for ads in a number of publications around Pennsylvania, including several in The Legal Intelligencer.
Mansfield is bringing breach of contract and unjust enrichment charges in its complaint, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Udren Law found itself at the center of an appellate issue years ago that did not end in its favor. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that law firms can be found liable to a borrower for excessive attorney fees charged in violation of the Pennsylvania Loan Interest and Protection Law.
Plaintiff Mary Glover had alleged that Udren Law charged unearned and excessive fees in connection with her mortgage foreclosure proceedings in Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs EdElla and Eric Johnson had filed similar claims against Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg, and both cases were heard together before Pennsylvania’s highest court.
The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and Pennsylvania Superior Court had decided in the law firms’ favor. But amici curiae in the case, chiming in on Glover’s and the Johnsons’ behalf, had argued that under that interpretation, residential mortgage lenders would too easily be able to evade debt collection and foreclosure regulations by hiring attorneys.
Foreclosure firms throughout the country have found themselves in a challenging climate in recent years, as regulations on mortgage foreclosures and debt collection stiffened. That has resulted in a wave of foreclosure firm closures, including New Jersey’s Zucker, Goldberg & Ackerman, whose bankruptcy plan was approved late last year.