After a bitter eight-year dispute with Bank of America’s mortgage unit, a California couple lost their home in what they argued was an illegal foreclosure. They cited harassment by Bank of America and “related officials” as well.
In 2014, the couple filed a suit against Bank of America Mortgage to end a “legal nightmare” that affected their family’s lives. According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento CA, the precise figure that Bank of America Mortgage will pay to the family is confidential. An earlier order required BofA to pay damages of $6.1 million.
The settlement is a fraction of the originally ordered $46 million fine a judge ordered in March 2017. In the judge’s ruling at that time, he said that Bank of America Mortgage’s mistaken foreclosure and loan modification process left the family “battle-fatigued” and demoralized.
The homeowners stopped making regular mortgage payments in 2009 after Bank of America Mortgage said it wouldn’t entertain loan modifications for their customers who were current on loan payments. Thereafter, the couple made approximately 20 requests for loan modification to the bank but the bank either lost the requests, declared the requests were “stale” or “incomplete” (requiring resubmission) or denied the requests without “comprehensible explanation.”
The homeowners filed for bankruptcy in California in 2010. Filing a bankruptcy typically halts home foreclosure in California but, in this case, Bank of America Mortgage gave the owners a three-day eviction notice. The wife suffered severe stress symptoms after a heart attack and was hospitalized a few weeks after the couple vacated the property.
When Bank of America Mortgage reversed the home sale, the family moved back to learn the homeowner association had fined them $20,000 for “dead landscaping.”
In documents filed with the court, the homeowners document harassing personal visits from the bank or bank-related officials. The husband attempted suicide as a result of the continued stress.
The couple suffered severe stress and their physical and emotional health declined. According to their lawyer, the family worried each day about how to repair their lives.
The judge, in this case, wanted to stop bad behavior from the corporate giant without “over-compensating” the plaintiffs. Bank of America’s request to settle the lawsuit still requires final approval from the judge. He agreed to discuss the matter on September 12, 2017. The settlement avoids Bank of America’s required donations of $40 million to five law schools (associated with the University of California system) plus two consumer advocate nonprofit organizations (National Consumer Bankruptcy Rights Center and National Consumer Law Center).
Unfortunately, this kind of real estate legal nightmare happens all too often. Don’t take on a big bank alone. If you’re battle-fatigued or demoralized because you can’t communicate with a corporate banking giant, or if you’re facing foreclosure now, contact the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack to discuss your case at 856-488-1200.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.