TRENTON, N.J. — The filed-rate doctrine precludes homeowners’ claims against a reinsurance broker, an insurer and a mortgage company over alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act based on a lender-placed insurance (LPI) scheme involving kickbacks, including reinsurance premiums, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Aug. 15 (Edward Leo v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC of Delaware, et al., No. 17-05839, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137824).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed the allowance of expert testimony in a mortgage fraud case that resulted in a nearly $300 million judgment against a businessman and his companies after finding that the trial judge properly vetted the experts’ opinions and sufficiently explained his rationale for doing so (United States v. Jim C. Hodge, et al., No. 17-20720, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23715).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 9 affirmed a federal judge in Illinois’ ruling finding an attorney liable for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme, holding that the Illinois LLC Act did not shield him from liability because he was aware that the loan applications he was handling contained misrepresentations and that they were submitted on behalf of straw buyers (Fifth Third Mortgage Co. v. Ira Kaufman, No. 18-3295, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23807).
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia on Aug. 9 dismissed a woman’s lawsuit accusing her loan servicer and loan trustee of breaching the terms of a deed of trust by foreclosing on her home before she was given a loan modification, finding that the mortgage regulations the defendants are accused of violating were not in place when the woman obtained her loan in 2006 (Tonja Dupree v. Fay Servicing LLC, et al., No. 19cv51, E.D. Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134807).
LAREDO, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 12 awarded summary judgment to U.S. Bank N.A., after finding that its foreclosure action against a couple was timely because it was filed within three years of notifying the couple that it intended to accelerate on the loan (U.S. Bank N.A. v. Oscar N. Lightner, No. 17-cv-103, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135632).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Aug. 5 affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a homeowner’s negligence, intentional inflection of emotional distress and unfair competition law claims against his lender, finding that the lender did not owe the borrower a duty in tort during his mortgage modification negotiations (Kwang K. Sheen v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. B289003, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 714).
ATLANTA — A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 vacated a federal judge in Florida’s ruling that the city of Miami Gardens failed to show that Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in discriminatory lending practices in Latino and African-American neighborhoods and held that the city lacked standing to bring its suit because it did not have standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (City of Miami Gardens v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 18-13152, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22570).
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado’s ruling awarding summary judgment to Bank of America N.A. (BANA) in a foreclosure action was affirmed July 31 by a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel that overruled a man’s argument that the lender’s 2017 attempt to foreclose on his property was untimely because the date of acceleration of the loan triggers the statute of limitations (Troy D. Paggen v. Bank of America N.A., et al., No. 18-1390, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22699).
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 denied as moot JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.’s petition for a rehearing of ruling that its default and acceleration notice to a couple regarding the foreclosure on their home was inaccurate after the federal appeals court vacated its February decision and certified to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts a question on whether an inaccurate or deceptive notice voids the subsequent foreclosure sale (Mark R. Thompson, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 18-1559, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22507).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 6 affirmed the dismissal of an estate’s lawsuit that sought to obtain insurance proceeds for flood damages to a home from the mortgage lenders on the property, holding that the security instrument on the mortgage note states that the proceeds would be released only once the necessary repairs are made (Estate of Bonell Rashti v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 18-20539, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 5 denied a borrower’s petition for rehearing as to whether it should review a federal judge’s ruling allowing a lender to foreclose on a property during bankruptcy proceedings (Mark Anthony Fornesa, et al. v. Fifth Third Mortgage Co., No. 18-1339, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice announced July 30 that it had reached a settlement with three California loan modification companies, their principals and a law firm for allegedly convincing 400 Hispanic homeowners to pay $5,000 for unnecessary loan audits they were told were needed to obtain home loan modifications.
RICHMOND, Va. — The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) on Aug. 2 filed an amicus curiae brief in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of a borrower who claims that a federal judge in Virginia erred in dismissing his class action suit accusing his loan servicer of violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) when failing to pay his property taxes, explaining that a loan servicer’s obligations to pay a borrower’s property taxes do not depend on when the borrower paid the funds into an escrow account (Rodney W. Harrell v. Freedom Mortgage Corp., No. 19-1379, 4th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 22 reversed and remanded part of a federal judge in New York’s ruling dismissing a man’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) lawsuit against a law firm, finding that the plaintiff could have sufficiently stated a claim that the firm used a deceptive representation and/or an unconscionable means to collect payment on his mortgage (Gregory Hayles v. Aspen Properties Group LLC, et al., No. 18-2683, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21647).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on July 26 dismissed without prejudice a man’s class action accusing Santander Bank N.A. of violating the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), finding that the plaintiff failed to show that his claim was subject to equitable tolling because he does not allege that the lender actively misled him about the accrual of interest to his loan (Paul Aversano, et al. v. Santander Bank N.A., No. 17-12694, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125025).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 23 upheld a federal judge in Alabama’s ruling that Wells Fargo Bank N.A. properly notified a couple of foreclosure proceedings because the address they provided to the loan servicer was the same as the one listed on the mortgage and promissory note (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, et al. v. Norman D. Anchrum Jr., et al., No. 18-10786, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21878).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on July 19 denied a motion to dismiss three plaintiffs’ claims accusing a foreclosed property management company of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA), ruling that the plaintiffs sufficiently stated claims under the statutes (Laura Griffin, et al. v. Safeguard Properties Management LLC, et al., No. 18 C 5755, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121066).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on July 22 granted in part a loan servicer’s motion for summary judgment, finding that while a woman could not establish that the defendant violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) when offering her a loan modification, she could pursue a claim under Illinois’ Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA) (Rosalynn Walker v. Seterus Inc., No. 17 C 7194, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121068).
BOSTON — A putative class action suit against Select Portfolio Servicing Inc. (SPS) over phone calls it made to borrowers who were behind on their mortgage payments should stay in federal court, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled July 19, finding that the damages sought by the class exceed $5 million and that jurisdiction is proper under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Allen Alper, et al. v. Select Portfolio Servicing Inc., No. 19-cv-10436-DJC, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120411).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 18 affirmed a federal judge in Tennessee’s ruling dismissing a woman’s cause of action accusing her loan servicer of violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), finding that because she is not a borrower, she cannot bring a claim under the statute (Tara L. Keen v. Robert C. Helson, et al., No. 18-6035, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21262).