NYSE:UDR – UDR, INC. GETS IN BED WITH PARSA LAW GROUP AT THE WRONG TIME – Parsa Caught in Attorney Misconduct, Fraud & Lies Against the Court - Was Judge Franz Miller Sleeping?

On September 2, 2009, NYSE:UDR – UDR, Inc. joined forces in court with four loan modification law firms, Parsa Law Group, Law Offices of Jeffrey Cancilla, Law Offices of ***** Laverty, and Traut Law Group to silence consumer advocate, Erin Baldwin, writer of the Bad Biz Finder blog.

One law firm represents all of the above businesses: Burkhalter, Kessler, Goodman & George, LLP, in Irvine, California. In February 2009, Attorney Eric J. Goodman began a campaign to attract law firms that were the subject of Baldwin’s blog to join forces against Baldwin.

But what does a $500 million publicly traded Colorado-based Landlord/REIT have to do with Orange County loan modification law firms that have come under fire for operating outside the law?

Orange County Superior Court Judge Franz Miller decided they were all related to each other because they were all suing consumer rights activist, Erin Baldwin, for defamation.

Baldwin launched the Bad Biz Finder blog on January 13, 2009 and by the time it was shut down by WordPress, CEO, Toni Schneider, in June, it had attracted 185,000 consumer viewers desperate for a source of information that was 100% absent a profit motive. Bad Biz Finder did not accept donations, gifts, payments, advertising or any other *******. It maintained complete objectivity and published reports anonymously so as to keep the attention on the consumers, not on the author.

The blog exposed the truth about two crimes against consumers:

1. UDR’s illegal California contracts, followed by the formation of a class-action lawsuit on behalf of California UDR tenants.

2. The formation of loan modification “law firms” that capitalized on the exemption granted to attorneys under California Civil Code section 2945. It stated that foreclosure consultants could not take advanced fees, but attorneys could. However, these “law firms” had no attorneys. They were set up using an attorney’s license, the work was being conducted by inexperienced “foreclosure consultants,” and run by ex-subprime mortgage hacks.

Whenever criminal cash flow is interrupted, there is a price to pay. Erin Baldwin spoke the truth to help consumers and UDR tenants. Now she has a bench warrant out for her arrest with a $5,000 bail signed by Judge Franz Miller on September 2, 2009 because she failed to attend an Order to Show Cause for Contempt.

But how can that be?

1. Baldwin was never recognized as a Defendant in any of these actions. On July 14, 2009, Judge Miller stated in his tentative ruling, “it is not clear that Erin Baldwin has the authority to speak on behalf of Bad Biz Finder.” Although she had attempted to appear telephonically prior to this hearing, she was rejected as a representative of the case

2. However, On June 2, 2009, Judge Franz Miller signed a Judgment naming Baldwin as a Defendant, along with Bad Biz Finder, an unknown business entity. He stated in his Order that Baldwin was responsible for paying $605,000 to Parsa Law Group for damages arising from her defamatory actions.

So herein, lies the big mystery. If Judge Franz Miller believes Baldwin has no authority to speak on behalf of the case, how can she be responsible for paying a six-figure judgment?

Here is a chronology of events for your entertainment:

1. May 18, 2009: Judge Franz Miller, in his tentative ruling, stated that Parsa’s claims against Baldwin contained prior restraint issues and that these issues should be considered. This means that free speech cannot be restrained, however, if can be questioned in a court of law once it is published. Baldwin pled prior restraint issues throughout the case and they were ignored.

2. On May 18, Judge Franz Miller denied Parsa’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order against Baldwin, as they failed to state a cause of action for defamation. Truth is an absolute defense against defamation and Parsa could not point to even one statement that was untrue.

3. On May 19, Baldwin informed the Court that she was indigent and therefore “judgment proof” by way of an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs. The application was rejected because a business cannot apply for a fee waiver and Baldwin was not considered a Defendant in the action.

4. On May 19, the rejected application was sent to Stacie Turner, Judge Miller’s Clerk requesting that she send it to Baldwin. However, Turner intentionally held on to it until May 29, the date originally set for a default hearing against Bad Biz Finder and Baldwin.

5. On May 27, the Court received Baldwin’s Motion for an Order Setting Aside Default, so it would be heard in conjunction with the default hearing scheduled for May 29. However, Turner kept the Motion together with the rejected fee waive application and it was not presented to the Court.

6. On May 29, Baldwin spoke with Turner to learn the outcome of the default hearing. She was informed that the hearing had been continued to June 2, 2009, however Parsa never noticed Baldwin of this fact. Later, Baldwin found out that the hearing had been continued because the Court had rejected Parsa’s Request for Entry of Default package on May 28, 2009 due to numerous errors. The May 29 hearing date is not on the docket and it states that the hearing was continued from June 1 to June 2.

7. On May 29, Baldwin inquired about the status of her Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs and it was explained to her that Bad Biz Finder was the primary Defendant and Baldwin had not been added as a Defendant. However, Bad Biz Finder had never been served with a Summons and Complaint.

8. On June 2, fifteen days after Judge Miller denied Parsa’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and TRO, he granted a Permanent Injunction and signed a Judgment that stated, in part:

“IT IS SO ORDERED that Parsa have and recover Judgment from Defendants Bad Biz Finder, an unknown entity, and Erin K. Baldwin, an individual and doing business as Bad Biz Finder, jointly and severally: (1) In the principal sum of $604,515.66 plus interest thereon at the rate of ten (10%) percent per annum from June 2, 2009; and (2) Costs pursuant to CCP section 1033.5 in the amount of $976.76.”

9. On June 2, 2009, the hearing set for 11:30 a.m. never happened because there was a power outage at the Court that suspended all regular activity until 2:30 p.m. However, Parsa claims Judge Miller carried on with the hearing, ruled and signed the Judgment.

10. On June 2, Stacie Turner mailed to Baldwin the rejected fee application and her original Motion for Order Setting Aside Default received on May 27. She included a handwritten note (date stamped June 2, 2009) that said: “Obtain legal counsel to properly file your motion, or a paralegal to assist.” Turner’s unique penmanship on the handwritten note matched the unique penmanship on the Judgment allegedly signed by Judge Miller.

11. Parsa lost no time sending out menacing letters to all sources that posted information about Parsa Law Group and attached the Court Order allegedly signed by Judge Miller on June 2. The Bad Biz Finder blog was shut down (with 185,000 hits accumulated in just 6 months) even though it contained reports completely unrelated to Parsa Law Group.

12. Baldwin rescheduled her Motion for July 14, 2009. Parsa opposed and Baldwin replied to the opposition. On July 14, Judge Miller stated in his tentative ruling, he was “unclear if Baldwin has any authority to appear for Bad Biz.” How could he be unclear when just six weeks prior he had ordered Baldwin to pay Parsa $600.000?

13. The Motion was denied and Parsa promptly filed a Motion of Contempt. Since Judge Miller wasn’t recognizing Baldwin as being affiliated with this action, Baldwin didn’t show up to the hearing. The Court wouldn’t even allow her to appear telephonically. But that didn’t stop Judge Miller from issuing a bench warrant for her arrest with a $5,000 bail.

There is so much wrong with this case, we don’t even know where to begin. Baldwin is filing an appeal for violation of her due process and freedom of speech without prior restraint constitutional rights, judicial and attorney misconduct, malicious prosecution, ordering a judgment-proof indigent in pro per litigant to pay $600,000, and fraud.

Weigh in – what do you think?