The New York Times (DealBook article by Peter Lattman, 11/21/2011), and The Buffalo News (article 11/21/2011 by Jonathan Epstein) , are reporting that the troubled foreclosure law firm Steven J. Baum PC is shutting down. The firm filed notices with the government of intention to dismiss a mass number of employees. The firm has at least 90 employees.
Being picketed by 'Occupy Buffalo' is bad enough. But things just got a whole lot more challenging for the Amherst-based foreclosure law firm of Steven J. Baum PC: Fannie Mae joins Freddie Mac in banning the firm from foreclosure work on their mortgages, effective new business after November 15, 2011 (see Buffalo News article November 16, 2011, by Jonathan Epstein.) The ban extends to bankruptcy wok as well, according to the New York Law Journal.Fannie Mae issued a list of hundreds of law firms around the country that their mortgage servicers may use for foreclosure work. Eight New York firms are listed, but the Baum office is described as "not eligible for new referrals." No other firm on the 31 page list is described as not eligible for new referrals.
The Hon. John C. Ninfo II will retire as bankruptcy judge in Rochester in forty five days, but there is still no news about any replacement. Several knowledgeable sources have reported to me that they have heard nothing. Judge Michael Kaplan of Buffalo is scheduled to preside in Rochester once or twice a week at motions, Chapter 13 plan confirmation hearings, and pre-trial calendars. One source has tild me that Judge Kaplan does not anticipate conducting trials in Rochester; if the vacancy remains open for an extended period of time that assumption may have to be altered. Or maybe trials would be conducted in Buffalo - that would motivate settlements!