In CitiMortgage Inc. v. Platinum Home Mortgage Corp., 15-CV01242 (E.D. Missouri. filed Aug. 13, 2015), CitiMortgage, Inc. sued Platinum Home Mortgage Corp., JENKINS KAYAYAN LLP’s client, in federal court in Missouri. CitiMortgage sought millions in damages, alleging that Platinum had failed to repurchase numerous defective mortgage loans. Previously, CitiMortgage had won over thirty similar repurchase cases in Missouri state and federal courts on summary judgment. CitiMortgage’s attorneys refused any reasonable settlement, bragging that they were “undefeated.” Lara and Jonathan spent two years battling an army of attorneys from Bryan Cave and developed a novel theory: CitiMortgage had itself violated the “correct or cure” notice provision contained in the correspondent lender agreement between CitiMortgage and each of its correspondent lenders across the country. In July 2017, U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton agreed with JENKINS KAYAYAN LLP and issued a 32-page order granting summary judgment to Platinum and dismissing CitiMortgage’s complaint in its entirety: a historic first. The victory has effectively put all of CitiMortgage’s mortgage repurchase litigation “on ice.” The matter is pending on appeal in the Eighth Circuit.
This is not the first time Lara or Jonathan secures unprecedented results for their clients. In 2012, Lara singlehandedly settled a $50 million lawsuit filed against Home Savings of America. The case involved a three year old who was and expected to be in a coma for the rest of his life – after almost drowning in a pool at the residence owned by the bank. Lara settled the case for a few million dollars (the insurance limit).
In 2013, in Residential Funding Company, LLC v. Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc., 13-CV03511 (D. Minn., filed Dec. 14, 2013), JENKINS KAYAYAN LLP represented Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. (“Sierra”), the largest mortgage generating company in California. Residential Funding Company, LLC (“RFC”), formerly one of the nation’s largest secondary market mortgage loan investors went bankrupt in 2012. In late 2013, RFC emerged from bankruptcy proceeding as the ResCap Liquidating Trust and sued more than 80 of its former correspondent lenders in federal court in Minnesota, including JENKINS KAYAYAN LLP’s client, Sierra. ResCap, represented by Quinn Emanuel, sought more than $9 billion in combined damages for allegedly defective mortgage loans sold to RFC, including hundreds of millions of dollars from Sierra. The cases were subsequently consolidated and Lara and Jonathan not only spear-headed Sierra’s defense, but were appointed to the Joint Defense Steering Committee (along with prominent firms such as Wachtel, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz, Williams & Connolly; Munger, Tolles & Olson; and BuckleySandler), which formulated and coordinated strategies implemented by all defendants. Lara and Jonathan pursued unique and aggressive strategies on Sierra’s behalf, such as filing a daring counterclaim against RFC and ResCap, which ultimately knocked out approximately 80% of the “at issue” Sierra loans and resulted in a published opinion (now on appeal) from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. (In re Residential Capital, LLC, 541 B.R. 202 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2015)). Lara’s and Jonathan’s “creative aggression” was instrumental to securing a confidential settlement with ResCap, resulting in Sierra’s dismissal in early 2017.
Lara is the Managing Partner of JENKINS KAYAYAN LLP, which she founded with her husband, Jonathan Jenkins in 2012. Lara graduated from U.C.L.A with a B.A. in English Literature, summa cum laude, and with College Honors and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2005.
Lara launched her career at the international powerhouse law firm, Latham & Watkins LLP, where she worked on multi-billion-dollar complex tort actions, mergers & acquisitions, private equity fund formation transactions, and Intellectual Property (IP) transfer and license transactions for Fortune 500 clients.
Lara went on to become the youngest General Counsel and Executive Vice-President in the history of Home Savings of America (HSOA), a federal savings and loan association that originated billions of dollars in mortgages annually. Lara managed HSOA’s entire legal department, supervising dozens of outside law firms in a variety of litigation matters nationwide, including employment and TILA class actions, catastrophic personal injury cases, insurance coverage disputes, and IP matters. Lara then served as the interim General Counsel for DTZ, a UGL Company, where she helmed the worldwide legal department of a multi-billion dollar publicly traded commercial real estate services firm.
In 2012, the Armenian Bar Association designated Lara as one of the “Top 20 U.S. Attorneys Under the Age of 40.” Lara currently serves on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Appointments Committee. The Judicial Appointments Committee evaluates individuals who seek to be appointed as judges and makes recommendations to the Governor of California based on their evaluations of the candidates. Lara also serves on the Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association. The Executive Committee provides advisory support to the law school and Dean Heather K. Gerken.
Jonathan is a graduate of Yale College where he received a B.S. degree in Chemistry, summa cum laude and was class marshal. He graduated Harvard Law School in 1997, cum laude. Jonathan began his career at Latham and Watkins as well. He is active with the Yale Club of Los Angeles and served for many years on the Board of Directors, including a two-year term as President.
Lara and Jonathan met at a Yale Alumni event and married within months. They currently reside in La Canãda Flintridge with their two sons, Michael and Daniel.