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Friday, March 1, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

The Worst Law Office in the World?

CHICAGO (CN) - A "foreclosure defense" office charged a client $41,000 for "filing fees" and charged her for filing her own legal work, telling her filing pro se would "give her an advantage" on appeal, the woman claims in court.

Lori Lappas sued Illinois Foreclosure Defense LLC and Innocent Obi, in Cook County Court. The brief, 4-page complaint contains a welter of alarming allegations.

Illinois Foreclosure Defense is "owned by two attorneys who provide legal services for clients," the complaint states, and Obi is and was their employee.

The complaint does not state that Obi is an attorney, but Lappas says he was her "only contact" with the office.

She says she hired the defendants in January 2012 to represent her in two foreclosure cases.

"Lori Lappas paid Illinois Foreclosure defense in excess of $20,000 over the last 10 months," the complaint states.

It adds: "That in addition to the defense of the two foreclosure lawsuits, Innocent Obi and Illinois Foreclosure Defense agreed to represent Lori Lappas in three additional lawsuits and represent her with yet a fourth matter with regard to issues with the Internal Revenue Service.

"That for each of the cases and the issue with the IRS, Ms. Lappas paid retainer fees to the Illinois Foreclosure Defense.

"That for each of these three additional lawsuits and with the representation Innocent Obi and Illinois Foreclosure Defense did no work and refuses to refund any of the retainers paid [by] Ms. Lappas."

"That with respect to the original foreclosure cases Innocent Obi had, despite being paid as attorneys for Ms. Lappas, had Ms. Lappas file appeals as pro se defendant with Illinois Foreclosure Defense and Innocent Obi not only did the actual filing of the pro se filings but further cut and pasted Ms. Lappas's signature without her authority.

"That with the pro se appeals, such appeals were prepared by Obi Innocent on behalf of Illinois Foreclosure Defense yet had Ms. Lappas file pro se and also had her pay retainer fees for those appeals.

"That Ms. Lappas was told that filing pro se would give her an advantage in the appellate court.

"That these appeals have not halted any prosecution of the foreclosure cases nor had any advantage to Ms. Lappas."

To cap it off, Lappas says: "That before Ms. Lappas left town on October 23, 2012, Ms. Lappas left a blank signed check with Innocent Obi and Illinois Foreclosure Defense in order to pay any needed filing fees or her monthly $400 fee if she could not be reached.

"That upon her return Ms. Lappas found that Innocent Obi had written out the check for $41,000 to Illinois Foreclosure Defense; further noting that the check was written the same day Ms. Lappas left town on October 23, 2012."

Lappas says she has repeatedly asked for "copies of all work completed by Illinois Foreclosure Defense," but "was never given any copies."

She seeks damages for fraud and breach of contract, and says her damages "include but are not limited to the loss of her homes."

She is represented by Jeffrey Deer with Deer, Stone & Maya.

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