Important: Please read the Frequently Asked Questions on the right side bar. The FAQs address most common questions raised by Brookstone/Advantis clients.
Update August 11, 2017
Status of the FTC Case
Over the last several months, the FTC’s case has been narrowed down to claims against Jeremy Foti and Charles Marshall. Final Judgments have now been entered as to Defendants Jonathan Tarkowski (January 9, 2017), Vito Torchia (February 15, 2017), and Geoffrey Broderick (April 14, 2017). Those judgments include permanent bans on these defendants being engaged in the advertising, marketing, or selling of any debt relief product or service and permanently enjoins them from making any misrepresentations regarding financial and other products and services. The Judgments also included monetary awards, but these awards, for the most part, are suspended because they were uncollectible. The exception was Geoffrey Broderick, who is now subject to a Judgment for $1.9 million.
Defendant Damian Kutzner was dismissed from the case by the FTC in February, 2017 because the claims against him were resolved through a contempt proceeding in a related FTC case against him (FTC v. GM Funders, Inc.).
In June, the Court held Charles Marshall in contempt for failing to turn over $24,500 in a frozen account to the Receiver. Marshall has appealed that ruling.
The FTC has filed several motions which may resolve the remainder of the case, if they are granted:
Motion for Summary Judgment as to Jeremy Foti and Charles Marshall;
Motion for the court to enter the default of the four corporate Defendants: Brookstone Law PC, California and Nevada, both dba Brookstone Law Group; Advantis Law P.C.; and Advantis Law Group P.C.
These motions are now set for hearing before Judge O’Connell on August 28, 2017.
The Receiver Does Not Represent Brookstone Clients
The Receiver’s office continues to receive calls from Brookstone clients who are plaintiffs in the Wright case (and other cases against banks), seeking information about the cases. We must repeat that the Receiver does not represent any plaintiffs in the Wright case, nor any other case. You must secure new counsel or represent yourself. For further details, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions at the right sidebar.
September 12, 2016 – Update Regarding Requests to the Receiver’s Office for Continuances
The Receiver’s office has recently been contacted by Brookstone clients who are plaintiffs in the Wright v. Bank of America case, requesting that the Receiver’s office “grant” them continuances in the Wright case.
As we have noted previously (1) the Receiver does not represent any plaintiffs in the Wright case (or any other case) – you must secure new counsel or represent yourself, and (2) only the court can grant continuances upon the request of counsel or parties representing themselves.
The Receiver’s powers are limited. As ordered by the court, the Receiver was directed and authorized only to give notice to the parties and the courts that: (1) Brookstone/Advantis has been placed in receivership; (2) Brookstone/Advantis will be withdrawing from the cases; and (3) requesting that the courts stay the cases for at least 90 days to permit clients to protect their rights by obtaining replacement counsel or taking steps to represent themselves.
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the right sidebar of this website – it contains answers to the following questions (and more):
- What actions has the Receiver taken?
- Is Brookstone/Advantis still in business?
- Is Brookstone/Advantis still my lawyer?
- Will the Receiver now be my lawyer?
- What is the status of the case in which I am a plaintiff?
- How do I get a new lawyer?
- If I find a new lawyer, what are the procedures to tell the court I have a new lawyer?
- What if I want to represent myself?
- Can I contact the Court for information?
August 12, 2016
Notice to Clients of Brookstone Law/Advantis Law – You Must Secure New Counsel or Make Arrangements to Represent Yourself
As directed by the receivership Court, Brookstone and Advantis, through the Receiver, have given the courts in the mass joinder actions notice of their withdrawal as counsel. As also directed by the receivership Court, the Receiver will not litigate or hire attorneys to litigate on your behalf. If you wish to pursue your lawsuit, you must secure new attorneys or appear and represent yourself. We urge you to take immediate action to investigate your rights and determine how you want to proceed. If you do not obtain a new attorney or appear on your own behalf, the court will likely dismiss your lawsuit.
The Receiver has today filed Receiver’s Status Report re: Notice to Clients of Brookstone/Advantis and Status of Business Records Retention. That report summarizes the status of the receivership and the steps taken by the Receiver to give notice to clients and to maintain the business records of Receivership Entities. You may access this report from the sidebar at the right.
For further details, you may also consult the FAQs document at the right sidebar.
July 5, 2016
Plaintiffs Seeking to Connect with Other Plaintiffs
While the Receiver cannot provide advice or recommendations, some Brookstone/Advantis plaintiffs have informed our office that they are coordinating efforts to join with other plaintiffs in an attempt to locate replacement counsel.
If you would like more information, you may email or call them.
Janet Wilson, a plaintiff in the Wright v. Bank of America, N.A. case, may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 562-472-6199.
Diana Gray (previously known as Diana Bogdan), a plaintiff in the Randall v. Citigroup, Inc. case, may be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 323-412-8233.
Morgan Lawley, lead plaintiff in the Lawley v. Bank of America, N.A. case, may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Brookstone clients have established a Facebook page to share thoughts and offer support.
The Receiver Has Posted Copies of the Operative Complaints in the 8 Active Mass Joinder Cases
In order to assist clients in seeking new representation, the Receiver has posted at the right sidebar copies of the operative complaints in the 8 active mass joinder cases in which attorneys at Brookstone/Advantis were counsel. The Receiver cannot and is not giving any legal advice as to what clients should do about these cases. These Complaints are posted simply to assist clients in gathering information.
Aslami v. National Default Servicing Corp. – Aslami Complaint
Curtis v. MTC Financial – Curtis Complaint
Lawley v. Bank of America – Lawley Complaint
Lee v. JP Morgan Chase Bank – Lee Notice of Removal
Randall v. Citigroup, Inc. – Randall Complaint
Salgado v. Western Progressive LLC – Salgado Complaint
Wasinack v. Quality Loan Service Corp. – Wasinack 1st Amended Complaint
Wright v. Bank of America – Wright 5th Amended Complaint
The FTC Has Filed a First Amended Complaint
On July 5, 2016, the FTC filed a First Amended Complaint in this case which adds Jeremy Foti as a named Defendant. Along with Defendant Damian Kutzner, Mr. Foti is a non-lawyer principal of Brookstone/Advantis. The addition of Foti as a Defendant is the only change from the initial Complaint filed May 31, 2016. You may access this First Amended Complaint at the sidebar to the right.
Hearing on Preliminary Injunction
Preliminary Injunctions have been entered as to all Defendants. The Court vacated the July 1, 2016 hearing which had been set on the issue of whether to issue a Preliminary Injunction. The hearing was not necessary because the Court had previously granted Preliminary Injunctions as to Brookstone Law and Geoffrey Broderick and the other Defendants stipulated to Preliminary Injunctions. In all, the Court entered three separate Preliminary Injunctions which can be accessed from the links on the right sidebar.
Now that Preliminary Injunctions have been entered, the Receiver will begin the process of vacating the offices at 6 Hutton Centre Drive, Santa Ana and will return the premises to the landlord.
July 1, 2016 – Consumer Questions – The Receiver Has Posted FAQs Section
We have received numerous email inquiries from clients of Brookstone/Advantis. We appreciate that the situation is confusing and stressful to clients. In an effort to address these questions in one place, we have prepared a Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) Section which is posted on the right sidebar of this website. We will continue to updates these FAQs as further questions come in to us.
June 30, 2016 Notice to Brookstone Law and Advantis Law Clients
The following email was sent to all Brookstone Law clients today who are involved in one of the pending mass joinder lawsuits against their lenders.
You Need to Secure New Attorneys or Take Other Steps to Protect Your Rights
In a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has placed the law firms of Advantis Law and Brookstone Law under the control of a receiver. Selected pleadings and orders are available through the document links on the right sidebar of this website.
Through the Receiver, Brookstone and Advantis will be withdrawing as counsel in all cases and the Receiver will not litigate or hire attorneys to litigate on your behalf. If you wish to pursue your lawsuit, you must secure new attorneys or appear and represent yourself. We urge you to take immediate action to investigate your rights and determine how you want to proceed. If you do not obtain a new attorney or appear on your own behalf, the court will likely dismiss your lawsuit.
The Receiver has given notice of the receivership to the courts in the pending mass joinder cases. In that notice, we asked the courts to stay all proceedings for at least ninety (90) days to permit clients to obtain a replacement lawyer or to appear on their own behalf.
For further inquiries, you may email email@example.com.
June 17, 2016 Notice to Brookstone Law and Advantis Law Clients
Pursuant to the terms of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), the Temporary Receiver has today given notice of the receivership to the courts in which Brookstone/Advantis (the Receivership Entities) mass joinder cases are pending. As provided in the TRO, the Receiver has informed the
“court[s] and the parties, that the Receivership Entities have been placed in a receivership, that the Receivership Entities are withdrawing from the case, and further seek leave of [the]court[s] for a stay of all proceedings for at least ninety (90) days to permit any client of the Receivership Entities to obtain replacement counsel”
As set forth in the TRO, the Temporary Receiver will not litigate or hire attorneys to litigate on your behalf. We urge you to seek new counsel or take steps to protect your rights in the lawsuit.
Pursuant to the TRO, we will take reasonable steps to contact current clients to inform them of the receivership, advise those clients that the Temporary Receiver will not be providing any attorney services and that the clients may seek replacement counsel. We expect the notices to clients will be sent out in the next week.
Update – Receiver files Preliminary Report; Preliminary Injunction Hearing continued to July 1, 2016
On June 13, 2016, the Receiver filed a Preliminary Report as directed by the terms of the Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”). That Report can be accessed from the right sidebar of this website.
The hearing on whether the Court should enter a Preliminary Injunction was held at 8:00 a.m. on June 15, 2015 before Judge O’Connell in federal court in Los Angeles. The Court issued a Preliminary Injunction against Brookstone Law P.C. (California) and Brookstone Law P.C. (Nevada) (both doing business as Brookstone Law Group) and R. Geoffrey Broderick, who were not represented or present at the hearing. The Court continued the hearing on whether to issue a Preliminary Injunction as to the remaining Defendants until 8:30 a.m. on July 1 and extended the terms of the TRO as to these Defendants by stipulation of the parties until that hearing.
The Court also set a hearing date for July 27 on whether the court should issue an Order to Show Cause as to whether Defendant Damian Kutzner should be held in contempt for his actions, after he had notice of the TRO and the Assert Freeze, of instructing his IT personnel to shut off the server housing the Brookstone/Advantis database of clients.
Operations shall remain suspended until the Preliminary Injunction hearing on July 1, 2016. In the meantime, the Receiver will provide notice to the courts in pending mass joinder cases in which Brookstone/Advantis are counsel for Plaintiffs – that notice will advise the courts that Brookstone/Advantis has been placed in receivership and request the mass joinder cases be stayed for a period of at least 90 days to allow Brookstone/Advantis clients to retain substitute counsel.
June 1, 2016
In a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has placed Advantis Law and Brookstone Law under the control of a receiver. The Receiver was appointed in the case Federal Trade Commission v. Kutzner, et al., U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.) Case No. SACV16-00999-BRO (AFMx). The FTC’s Complaint and the Temporary Restraining Order appointing the Receiver can be accessed from the right sidebar of this website.
Also named in the Complaint are certain principals and attorneys of Brookstone/Advantis, including Damian Kutzner, who has been the subject of one prior FTC Order, as well as an enforcement action by the United States Attorney’s Office. In this case, the FTC alleges that Defendants’ solicitation of consumers to join so-called “mass joinder” cases against their mortgage lenders included deceptive sales practices and the taking of illegal advance fees.
The Receiver has suspended the business and has commenced a review of operations. The Court has set June 15, 2016 as the date for the hearing on whether to issue a Preliminary Injunction and make the Receiver’s appointment permanent. The Receiver will post an update after that hearing.