Print

Can you imagine going to court to sue… yourself?

Such a silly idea wouldn’t cross the mind of any even mildly intelligent person. How about a corporation? Would it ever sue itself? Unlikely, you say? After all, with all the collective intelligence of their highly educated management, such a costly and pointless move could never happen.

Never? Well, probably… unless you’re the well-known bank Wells Fargo.

In a mortgage foreclosure case in Hillsborough County, Florida, Wells Fargo filed a civil complaint against itself. How could this happen? Actually, it’s quite simple and doesn’t lack some twisted legal logic. Wells Fargo happens to hold the first and second mortgage on a condominium, whose owner went belly up. So, according to Wells Fargo’s spokesman Kevin Waetke: “The primary reason is to clear title and ownership interest in a property to prepare it for sale,” because “due to state foreclosure laws, lenders are obligated to name and notify subordinate lien holders.”

So far, so good.

Funnily though, Wells Fargo wasn’t able to notice that it was itself the secondary lien holder. So, instead of resolving the issue of this second mortgage internally, WF hired the law firm Florida Default Law Group., P.L., of Tampa, to file the lawsuit against itself. Yes, really: the court documents read “Wells Fargo Bank NA” as the plaintiff vs. “Wells Fargo Bank NA” as the defendant.

And, as a defendant, it was only “logical” of Wells Fargo to hire another Tampa law firm (Kass, Shuler, Solomon, Spector, Foyle & Singer P.A.) to defend itself against… itself!

Here, this Kafkaesque situation could have come to an end, with both law firms realizing that they were fighting for the same client. But no: the second law firm filed the following answer to their client’s complaint: “Defendant admits that it is the owner and holder of a mortgage encumbering the subject real property. All other allegations of the complaint are denied.” So, effectively, Wells Fargo is now fighting against itself in court.

I’m wondering who’ll win this case!