On March 17, 2020, Los Angeles Partners Frances O’Meara and Michael Hirota obtained a full dismissal of all charges for their client, Yelena Gurevich, before the California State Bar Hearing Department.
The California State Bar brought charges against Ms. Gurevich, a civil attorney, in connection with her representation of a homeowner against his lender. Ms. Gurevich filed a civil complaint against the lender alleging violations of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, and litigated the case for nearly two years before reaching a settlement. Despite this, Ms. Gurevich was charged with negotiating, arranging, or offering to perform loan modification services within the purview of California Civil Code section 2944.6 and 2944.7 – provisions enacted to protect homeowners from loan modification “mills” that preyed on distressed homeowners by charging high up-front fees to negotiate loan modifications.
The Hearing Department decision exonerated Ms. Gurevich of all charges. Drawing a distinction between Ms. Gurevich’s actions and the types of activity that sections 2944.6 and 2944.7 were aimed to restrict, the Hearing Department reasoned that the goal of Ms. Gurevich’s representation was to file litigation to prevent the imminent foreclosure of her client’s home and to protect his homeowner rights through classic litigation under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.