The ""Mortgage Litigation Index"":http://www.mortgagedaily.com/MortgageLitigationReport.asp for the final quarter of last year jumped to a record high according to recently released statistics. Findings from the index revealed that a rise in legal activity for the areas of criminal, servicing, and mortgage fraud served as the catalyst behind swelling litigation numbers.[IMAGE]
The total number of mortgage litigation cases during the fourth-quarter of 2011 increased to 244, representing just over a 10[COLUMN_BREAK]
percent uptick quarter-to-quarter. On a year-over-year basis, the case load rose dramatically from 151 during the fourth-quarter of 2010.
Other significant data from the index showed that criminal cases increased from 34 for the third-quarter of 2011 to reach 57 for the year's final quarter. Litigation related to mortgage servicing were headed upwards as well, jumping from 51 to 70 quarter-to-quarter.
Mortgage fraud proceedings, which the index defines as those including insider activity at mortgage firms or foreclosure-rescue scams, grew from five cases in the third-quarter of 2011 to 23 to end 2011. Fee-related litigation also saw a remarkable increase, rising to 17 from just two cases on record during the third-quarter of 2011.
Commenting on the numbers, Christopher Willis, partner for ""Ballard Spahr LLP"":www.ballardspahr.com/, said in his white paper evaluating the index, ""Unfortunately, the phenomena that led to the surge in litigation in the fourth quarter of 2011 have only intensified in 2012, suggesting that we are unlikely to see a significant decline in litigation in the near term.""