Increasing foreclosure-related legal cases helped drive the Mortgage Litigation Index to a record high in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to online news site

Litigation is expected to increase in the coming months as federal and state regulators begin to examine companies, notaries, and practices that were not bound by the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement.

“The phenomenon that led to the surge in litigation in the fourth quarter of 2011 has intensified in 2012,” said Ballard Spahr partner Christopher J. Willis, adding that he expects to see more criminal indictments stemming from the “robo-signing” crisis.