Protest over home foreclosures crowded the streets of downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of people who've lost their homes to foreclosure crowded the streets of downtown Fresno Tuesday afternoon.

They're fighting the banks who took their homes, claiming it wasn't always on the up and up. The huge crowd started to disappear as the rain started, but not before they were told their lawsuit took a big step forward. But the judge actually dismissed the case, at least for now.

The volume is high now, as hundreds of former homeowners stand together to fight the banks that foreclosed on their homes. They came together with some nudging from a group called Life Savers. Their attorney said their voice is unmistakable now and a judge is hearing them. "The courts get very thoughtful, shall we say, when they see so many people," said plaintiff's attorney George Wash.

Before Life Savers, these people tell Action News they were voiceless and powerless to save their homes.

Their lawsuit accuses Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, and other banks of breaking the rules as they passed mortgage loans around. In neighborhoods, they say the results were surprised homeowners becoming homeless in a hurry. "Nobody told me nothing except you gotta go out," said Elias Villatoro of San Bernardino. "In 20 days you gotta go out."

"They squish us like a worm," said a San Jose resident who would only give his first name, Abelino. "Right like that so it's not fair."

Despite the pep talk they got, a judge actually dismissed the case, with a chance to file a different version. Attorneys for the banks say the lawsuit is full of holes.
But the crowd didn't seem to know about any court setback and their attorney characterized it as a win. "It doesn't just end in one day, but it's a major step forward and it's going to make a big difference in the case," Wash said.

The plaintiffs have 10 days to file a new version of their lawsuit. They tell Action News they have 7000 documents ready to go for a new filing next Wednesday.
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