SARASOTA – Self-help author Liz Coursen was not looking to set a precedent when she decided to go after the big Wall Street investment bank that foreclosed on her Sarasota home. She just wanted her house back.
But JPMorgan Chase and Washington Mutual have tried to quash her federal racketeering lawsuit twice, so far without success, putting the Sarasota resident in the unlikely position of potential giant killer. If the suit proceeds and Coursen prevails, her case might serve as a legal roadmap for other borrowers.
Wall Street firms — targeted in reams of litigation after they handed out billions of dollars during the real estate boom only to grab assets back during the recession — have blocked most individual plaintiffs.
But not the 53-year-old author.
At least part of that is because of Coursen herself, who spent five lonely years acting as her own counsel in court. Her case, which alleges conspiracy and corporate deceit, gained more traction in recent months, thanks to Sarasota attorney Jacqulyn Mack, who specializes in consumer law and took the case last November.