David Schwarz Honored by Public Counsel
On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, David Schwarz was honored by Public Counsel's Consumer Law Project as "Advocates of the Year" at the Ninth Annual Public Counsel Volunteer Appreciation Celebration. Hernán Vera, directing attorney for the Public Counsel's Consumer Law Project, and Rolando Nichols, Univision News anchor, presented the award.
David received the award for his representation of Eloise McNerney, an 83-year old mother of five children and four foster children, who was the victim of financial elder abuse by her grandson. Ms. McNerney was coerced into taking out home equity loans on her sole residence of over 45 years, and the money was spent by her grandson and others. The grandson was arrested in Arizona and extradited to Los Angeles, where he pled guilty to two counts of felony financial elder abuse. In the meantime, the bank started foreclosure proceedings. David, along with a team of attorneys and support staff from Irell & Manella, reached a standstill agreement with the bank; worked closely with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office to obtain Court-ordered monetary restitution; filed civil actions in California and Arizona against individuals involved in, or who were beneficiaries of, the fraud; pursued recoveries of monies in Hawaii, Santa Clara County, and Maricopa County and Greenlee County, Arizona; obtained injunctions and other orders restraining the transfer of properties that may be used to satisfy any judgments; negotiated transfer of deeds of trust; negotiated one settlement with one of the civil defendants; and put together a forensic accounting presentation, for the District Attorney's Office, to be used in conjunction with the restitution hearings.
Throughout this period, Irell and Manella also represented Ms. McNerney in connection with pending or threatened foreclosure proceedings brought by the lender. This aspect of the engagement has been especially challenging, as the nature and the extent of the fraud, as well as the factual complexity of the matter, has required significant resources, and substantial creative lawyering. David's efforts are in keeping with Irell & Manella's tradition of commitment to pro bono services, and Irell's support for the tremendous work of Public Counsel.